In the spring of 2020, a dormant construction site in Ljubljana became the setting for the production space Krater. Here, mobile workshops enable on-site production methods with local matter, such as plants, earth and fungi. Despite the successful reception of Krater, we cannot overlook the fact that the use of natural construction materials in Slovenia is greatly challenged by costly certification processes*, preventing these resources from being widely applied. As the legislation currently stands, local material landscapes have become forbidden vernaculars.
* In June 2022 new construction law legalised the use of uncertified construction materials in simple, small-scale buildings.
Cover photo: Aljaž Plankl / Krater
Atelier LUMA – Daniel Bell and Marie Vernay
BC Materials – Jasper Van der Linden
Gaja Mežnarić Osole
Altan Jurca Avci
Eva Jera Hanžek
Gaja Pegan Nahtigal
Researching materials at Krater
A short insight into the research stage at Krater, a temporary production site that emerged from an abandoned, crater-like construction site near the city centre of Ljubljana.
The design collective Krater, in dialogue with Atelier LUMA and BC Materials, has researched rammed earth architecture and locally sourced building materials to create a teahouse that is situated on the crater-like construction site in the heart of Ljubljana occupied by Krater.
In response to the ongoing climate crisis and biodiversity loss, Krater’s team members joined forces with cutting edge practitioners from Atelier Luma and BC Materials to pose an important question: How could Krater become a landscape-based forum to discuss the accessibility of sustainable materials in Slovenia?
Materials such as clay, wood or straw bales are either imported from abroad or used in construction illegally. The rich resources of an urban site enabled material experimentation with wild clay, invasive plants and gravel as construction materials for building a site-specific rammed earth pavilion for BIO27. The new space will host a series of public talks with practitioners and decision-makers, who will all be served herbal tea in wild clay vessels sourced from the urban site. Discussing the legal, social and ecological implications of designing with local materials will hopefully support a fresh start in making these forbidden practices part of the vernacular again.
Krater section of
BIO27 Exhibition at MAO
Photo: Klemen Ilovar / MAO
Prototyping: Legal toxicity, prohibited nature
Rammed earth cube: wild clay, gravel. Cob cube: wild clay, sand, Canadian goldenrod. Krater, March 2022 – ongoing
Photo: Lin Gerkman
Building with Rammed Earth International Workshop
With Atelier LUMA and BC Materials, June 2022
Photo: Lin Gerkman, Amadeja Smrekar
Objects – Why can’t we design with mushrooms and wild clay?
Rok Oblak and Primož Turnšek Krater cup: wild clay; Capsule: mycelium; Krater; Pests, instead of local resources, Andrej Koruza; Wild herbs tea: Japanese knotweed rhizomes; Burek platter: Black locust wood; Seating pad: Canadian goldenrod, Japanese knotweed
Photo: Klemen Ilovar / MAO
Pop-Up Shop at Plečnik’s Kiosk and Building with Rammed Earth Children’s Workshop
Photo: Rok Oblak, Lin Gerkman / MAO
Building of the rammed earth tea pavillion
Concept: Gaja Mežnarić Osole, Rok Oblak
Design and pavilion build: Rok Oblak, Andrej Koruza, Altan Jurca Avci, Jasper van der Linden, Daniel Bell, Aline Dalgleish
Texts: Gaja Mežnarić Osole
Project assistants: Gaja Pegan Nahtigal, Sebastjan Kovač
Photo: Amadeja Smrekar
Grains for Brains
Delving into the ‘world of grains’, team Robida.plus based in the remote Alpine village Topolò is drawing on Slovenia’s rich cultural, agricultural and culinary heritage to redesign the Slovenian tradition of buckwheat use.
Communicating Modern Architecture
Garnitura explores new ways to communicate the architectural legacy of the renowned Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik to new audiences by drawing on the architect’s profoundly human vision for the city of Ljubljana.
Water – Designing a Biovernacular
Pjorkkala is addressing the problem of pollution in natural water sources in Slovenia by creating prototypes for local, nature-based solutions.
Regenerative Cultural Production
Futuring utilises the biennial to interrogate its future; to observe, source, and examine the existing sustainable practices in cultural production. The outcome will be an open-source toolkit to enable cultural institutions and designers to reduce their work’s environmental impact.