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Parking Garage TGH-48

Ljubljana, Slovenia
Parking garage tgh-48
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Parking garage tgh-48
Janez Kališnik (monografija Savin Sever arhitekt)

Garage complex in Ljubljana with the official designation TGH-48, also known as Severjeve garaže, was designed by one of the Slovene foremost modernist architects Savin Sever in 1969. Sever, a pupil of Edvard Ravnikar, dedicated much of his career to infrastructural buildings and car-related services. TGH-48 complex is perhaps the most unique of his garage buildings. Standing in a relatively exposed and visible location near the river and the city centre conditioned a specific and innovative rather than generic and already existing solution. Neighbouring two earlier monumental infrastructural edifices, the famous Ljubljanica Sluice Gate built by Jože Plečnik and the vast early 19th century Sugar Factory, the Sever Garage succeeds in adding an ambitious modernist air to an otherwise banal communal programme.

The building is conceived as two complementary and partially overlapping cylinders. The perimeter of the cylinders is designed as a continuous row of garage compartments with industrial glazing providing for light and ventilation. The rhythm of compartments and of structural elements of the envelope is readily visible on the façade – the deep recesses between them and the circular façade create a dynamic play of light and shadows that changes throughout the day. The interior is consists of an internal two-lane road that takes up the central parts of the two cylinders. Winding its way towards the top, the road alternates between one and the other cylinder in the form of figure eight. The result is somewhat contradictory both a useful and monumental building, an economic and at the same time wasteful spatial design that seems to be more obsessed with the idea of rationality than the imminent rational task at hand: the economic distribution of parked cars.

The building was already designated for destruction as well as for heritage protection; neither materialised yet and the two-round envelopes containing small cars, private storage spaces and empty booths, awaits its future in limbo. Perhaps it will be lucky enough to be left in peace until political and economic conditions change again and find a new, as of yet unpredictable use for the two cylinders.