Trnovo Pier

It was in the early 1930s when the famous Slovene architect Jože Plečnik made his first plans for a new design of the Trnovo pier embankment. A poetic gesture of long, curved stone steps leading towards the river and an avenue of weeping willows with a path behind them was realised in the following years.

The area became very popular among people enjoying the closeness to the river, which can be experienced here unlike anywhere else in the city.

In 2007, it was decided this was the part of the river that was supposed to show the turn of the page in the attitude towards the river and the municipality’s willingness to design a new river promenade through the city of Ljubljana.

The renovation was developed in two directions. Clearing out Plečnik’s beautiful design and upgrading it with new urban furnishing indispensable for the functioning of a contemporary city promenade. Benches, formed as wooden plateaus floating on top of stone cascades, emphasise the relationship with the river and minimise the visual impact on the entity. Additional pavements laid in the green areas follow logical paths through the space, enabling grass growth throughout the year and thus once again leaving the green features untouched. 

Such a respectful attitude resulted in a series of other elements, such as waste bins, invisibly positioned into the slope, lights on the bottom of wooden edges (reminiscent of the river boats) etc. The strength of the weeping willow avenue element as a whole resulted in the decision that these should be replaced along the entire length. 

As the stone used by Plečnik was no longer available, the design team researched the area, finding similar blocks of stone in another – still active – quarry, which were then selectively installed in the cascades.

After the renovation, the old and the new coexist in a way that allows the design principles used to show the obvious difference between the two interventions, while at the same time functioning as an entity. Among the locals, the area became known as the Ljubljana »beach«, attracting large numbers of people.

Municipality of Ljubljana
Project team
Andrej Mercina, Ksenija Intihar
European Prize for Urban Public space 2012 (joint winners)
Jagoda Jejčič
Project name
Trnovo Pier
Ljubljana, Slovenia
Public space