In 2006, in Vitanje (North-Northeast Slovenia), a memorial center, dedicated to Herman Potočnik Noordung, pioneer of spaceflight, was established. The latest plans for Vitanje and Potočnik memorial site also include revitalizing of The Vitanje House of Culture grounds into KSEVT (Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies). Design for it is a joint project of notable Slovenian architect bureaus, uniting their efforts in AZZV (Architectural assiociation for Vitanje) – Bevk Perovič, Dekleva Gregorič, Ofis and Sadar + Vuga architect bureaus have all connected for a public tender and came out with the best solution.
The main demands of the project materialisation were to get a wide scale of ideas, thus making the building, on one hand, interact with the urbanistic structure of the town, and on the other hand, making the project symbolize its cause. The placement of the modern KSEVT architecture in the old town center of Vitanje was the more challening part of the project. According to Srečko Fijavž, keeper of the Noordung memorial room and the director of The Vitanje Commune Administration Board, many cultural heritage regulations had to be considered during the process of planing.
The original KSEVT project terms were influenced by two basic ideas.
Firstly – Herman Potočnik Noordung and his geostationary space station, of which the three segments – rotating habitable wheel, solar power plant and observatory – were all embedded in the structural design.
Secondly – adaptability of the building to both local needs as well as the needs of the future Cultural Center of European Space Technologies. The existing object (The Vitanje House of Culture) will be removed, yet the revitalization will also cover the wider area around the premises.
KSEVT will eventually operate on two levels:
architecture, based on the spatial dynamics;
programme, already organised for the timeline of the following six years.
The first level of the building is dedicated to the town of Vitanje which needs a cultural center on a social, citizen scale.
The second, local, community level, is bound to the events area with a 300 seats auditorium. Around this hall, in an oval shape trajectory, the local library will find its place.
The third level shall host gallery and museum activities on a surface of 800 m2.
The fourth level, the symposium, foundation part of the building, is intended for specialists, doctors of science and arts and researchers visiting Vitanje in search for work and study facilities.
To sum up, the lower two levels deal with topics of local significance and will be under The Vitanje Commune’s management. The upper two levels host topics of planetary, universal nature and will be led by an institute or a foundation, appointed with the help of Slovenian universities, ZRC SAZU (The Scientific Research Center of The Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts) and SZF (The Slovenian Science Foundation).
Main two topics of the programme are the culturalization of space (currently themed by Miha Turšič) and combining science and arts (currently themed by Dragan Živadinov). Speaking of context, recent processes regarding space technologies were mostly directed towards militarization and commercialization of space. Away from these two exploitation schemes, KSEVT will concentrate on the culturalization of space. In a global aspect, it will be a pioneer institution of the kind. Breaking the stereotype image of narrowly specialised scientists, KSEVT will strive to combine both humanistic and all-around naturalist knowledge into an integral entity. Art and science were inseparable for a larger part of history – the present efforts shall be dedicated to once again enable their coexistence.
To enhance the context presentation, permanent exhibitions will take place on the third, gallery and museum level. Each of them will be held for a period of two years. Therefore, for the next six years, three titles are planned: »One hundred monumental influences of Herman Potočnik Noordung«, »Space perception« and »Space and cinematography«.
Temporary exhibitions will occupy alternate available areas of KSEVT on the other three levels. They will introduce the public to many emblematic topics such as the Sputnik, the Galileo space programme, history of space suits, etc.