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Stadium Gunja (Luka Šokčević Šaljapin)






In 2014 major floods hit eastern Croatia causing, among casu­al­ties, cata­stro­phic damage to infra­struc­ture, inclu­ding foot­ball one. Croa­tian Foot­ball Fede­ra­tion toge­ther with FIFA and UEFA gathered funds for recon­s­truc­tion of five foot­ball fields toge­ther with a new stadium which, today, repres­ents a crown of the entire recon­s­truc­tion.

Parti­cular atten­tion in this valuable project was devoted to the cons­truc­tion of the new Stadium Gunja as the center of gathe­ring and inter­ac­tion of the local commu­nity and the deve­lo­p­ment of new gene­ra­tions of athletes.


The Stadium Gunja is small by its size, but its cons­truc­tion is of great importance for the local commu­nity. It has gene­rated a compre­hen­sive design approach that thoroughly explored contex­tua­lism, revie­wing the typo­logy of small foot­ball stadiums, inte­gra­ting modern archi­tec­ture and design into a rural land­scape, making this faci­lity larger than its physical size.

The most promi­nent element of stadium’s visual iden­tity stands out in its main facade. It is made out of bricks and gives a monu­mental value given that the bricks origi­nate from the ruined houses destroyed by floods. By selec­ting between 12,000 preserved pieces, the best preserved were used through special re-built tech­no­logy.

Rural ambience

The visual iden­tity of Stadium Gunja arises from meeting the basic needs for performing sports func­tion. The mate­rials used are chosen in the spirit of this rudi­men­tary func­tion­a­lity which is why natural concrete prevails in both inte­rior and exte­rior.

The buil­ding fits in perfectly with the rural land­scape typical of Slavo­nija and Gunja village. It is the concept of the buil­ding that is charac­te­rized by fitting the buil­ding into the context of gree­nery and rural ambi­ence.

Visual value

GEplus Archi­tects have reco­gnized that Stadium Gunja could be more than a classic reno­va­tion of a sports infra­struc­ture in a small rural setting. From the begin­ning the buil­ding was considered as an important gathe­ring place for the local commu­nity, but also as an inte­res­ting story that could be embedded in the buil­ding as a memory. The initiator of the archi­tec­tural concept is the very cause of cons­truc­tion – a cata­stro­phic flood that destroyed the old stadium and which was mate­ria­lized through the usage of bricks from the demo­lished houses on the facades of the buil­ding. But there are other facts that have influenced the deve­lo­p­ment of the archi­tec­tural idea: this is the first stadium infra­struc­ture realized by Croa­tian Foot­ball Fede­ra­tion.

Also, the budget allowed only the most basic func­tions of the buil­ding to be met, leaving minimal space for visual appearance of the buil­ding. This required great archi­tec­tural crea­ti­vity and engi­nee­ring flexi­bi­lity in order to, besides func­tional features, give the buil­ding also a visual value. The finan­cial cons­traints have deprived the buil­ding of nume­rous tech­no­lo­gical elements, which are one of the charac­te­ristic of contem­po­rary objects and focus was brought on the archi­tec­ture and added value that it can bring to the local commu­nity.

Rural context

The struc­ture of the buil­ding was mostly influenced by the rural context and the loca­tion of the buil­ding situated in a green envi­ron­ment that can almoust be described as a park venue charac­te­rized by alley of high linden planted along the edge of the parcel in parallel with the lines of a foot­ball field crea­ting a natural, green sceno­graphy seen from the stadium.

By desig­ning the stadium to raise out of the field, GEplus Archi­tects created symbiosis of archi­tec­ture and the envi­ron­ment as well as symbolic memory of the event created by embank­ment brakeage.

The element which balances the entire compo­si­tion of the buil­ding is desi­gned in a shape of a concrete canopy in ‘L’ form with some­what of a memo­rial character, which is addi­tio­nally empha­sized by the stadium inscrip­tion.

Spatial functionality

The stadium was built accor­ding to the needs for holding III. Croa­tian Foot­ball League matches. The inte­rior spaces are located one-sided along the L‑shaped corridor starting with the club office. Around the corner there are as follows: the ambu­lance room which has the possi­bi­lity of beco­ming a doping room; two locker rooms for players; locker room for judges and coaches and a tech­nical room. On the oppo­site corridor side, a cabinet system was desi­gned for storing sports equip­ment which uses the empty space beneath the stands. From the hallway there is a direct access to the foot­ball field.

Direct access to the foot­ball field is also possible from the outdoor storage located on the south side and hidden in the earth embank­ment. On the north side, as a part of the main facade, there is a food and beverage store and entrance to the public sani­tary faci­li­ties so they could be visible and acces­sible to the spec­ta­tors, but at the same time hidden by the vertical wall of the L canopy with the stadium name inscrip­tion so they would not disrupt the archi­tec­ture of the nort­hern facade. The loca­tion of the food and beverage store and entrance to the public sani­tary faci­li­ties allows for the parking space of the stadium to be trans­formed into a fair­ground or another ceremony space. Besides the 337 seats, there is a control room on the stands used during the foot­ball matches by the police and other offi­cials.

We did this.

Project data


GEplus arhi­tekti d.o.o.
Banja­včićeva 11
HR — 
10 000 Zagreb


Croa­tian Foot­ball Fede­ra­tion

Project team

Gorana Gilja­nović, Eugen Popović, Lea Kovač

Physical address

Stadion Luka Šokčević Šaljapi
HR — Gunja









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