Keywords Change this

Slovenian Modernism, Contemporary Architecture, Reinforced Concrete, Extension, Brutalism, Functionalism

Project timeline

1986 – 1991



Location Change this

4276 Hrušica

Current state

Altered (extensions to the original)

Also known as Change this

Karavanke tunnel

Architect Change this


Damjan Bradač, Maria Leonor Coutinho, Leon Pelc


Article last edited by Kim Benkovic on
October 27th, 2020

Karavanke Tunnel Portal Change this

Hrušica, Slovenia
by Savin Sever Change this

Tunnel Portal, view from A2

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Description Change this

The Karavanke tunnel is a motorway tunnel between Slovenia and Austria. It runs under the mountains of the same name and connects the Slovenian A2 motorway with the Austrian A11. It was built between 1986 and 1991. The architect behind the portal building of the Karavanke tunnel was Savin Sever, who in 1991 received the Plečnik Award for it. Portal building marks the entrance to the mountain and door-portal in the country.

The realisation of the architect’s idea was not for that time and place; The tunnel was originally designed as a two-pipe tunnel, but it was later found that traffic requirements were lower than expected. The decision was made to build one pipe first, leaving the architect with one portal building. The modern times, however, require a second tunnel to be built and designed due to increased traffic. The tunnel is in need of an upgrade from a single bidirectional tube to a twin tunnel highway tube to meet the increased traffic demands and increase the safety of tunnel users. Both pipes are expected to be operational by 2023.

The new design of the portal Karavanke is in hands of architects and designers: Damjan Bradač, Maria Leonor Coutinho, Leon Pelc. Their design is derived from architecture of Savin Sever. With respect and will to a comprehensive treatment of space and to the time continuity of the existing with the interpretation trough the prism of the present time, concept of the design remains the same. His functional and structural approach to architectural problem is probably the most valuable characteristic of Sever’s architecture. New spatial volume follows the existing in the form and dimensions, for filling the original idea of two spatial volumes. The functional baseline will be logically changed. The initial premise “form follows function“ is changed to a new starting point “form follows symbol”.


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