Renovation of the Main square in Novo mesto

Main Square in Novo mesto, largest medieval square in Slovenia, has until now been divided into various types of traffic lanes. Its refurbishment aimed at creating an optimal area for all citizens. Since its transformation from already decayed zone of the city, the square has become a place for different types of social gatherings and began new life again.

The aim of the project was to evoke the sense of a 'space for all' in the historical, medieval sense, yet adapted to contemporary times. It was thus not only important to change the city’s traffic system but also the elimination of damages as a consequence of this division. Therefore, different heights of square’s surface, which was needed to correctly divide the different types of traffic as well as the consequences of erosion of its relatively steep surface, were reshaped into a unique broad plateau, hence also evoking the forgotten atmosphere of the place, making its existing details visible once again. Recreating a memory, if you will. For this purpose, only existing materials were used and very few new details – serving the new use of space - were added.

The main gesture of our project was to inform different heights of the square’s surface. It demanded a precise study of all the buildings that shape the square and to reshape its relief into a unique surface. As a result of this remodelling, the surrounding houses got their existing thresholds elevated to adequately fit the refurnished square’s surface, which was of great importance for all who use this area.

When reshaping the square, we deliberately only used existing materials. But not only materials; to evoke the hidden yet present atmosphere as much as possible, the general scheme and also the detailed patterns of pavements were preserved or reused.
Due to the different purpose of the square’s main surface, a special pattern of pavement was formed during our competition project. But in the process of construction, an unexpected baroque pavement was discovered. We did not hesitate to alter our original pattern with which the new discovery was considered. As a result, an unexpected element of the past is now present in the narrative of this square.