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project: Ruin Houseyear: 2019, type: refurbishment of a traditional salt pan house program: sitting area area: 20 m2, architecture: Opposite Office team: Benedikt Hartl location: Sečovlje Salina Nature Park, Slovenia



Discover a place just a stone’s throw away from the Portorož promenade, where time has stopped, embraced by the strong salt making tradition, and where the salt makers continue to make the white gold crystals to this day. 50 years ago, salt-making in Sečovlje was abandoned. From more than 100 salt pan houses mostly ruins remained. This image of ruins shows the change of economic and draws a certain beauty of decay. It shows us impermanence and tells a story of a bygone time of economic wealth.

Our design for the salt pan house respects the history and tradition of salt-making and continues to write it. The focus of the design lies in a deep belief that decay has a potential of high aesthetic value. The place is still dominated by salt and has almost a mystical atmosphere.


So the new Salt Pan Ruin respects the heritage without touching it. As intervention we propose a wooden infill wich rebuilds the former shape of a traditional salt pan house. The new building quotes the original form without reproducing it. Instead of a detailed replica, the new building is a contemporary interpretation. In this way the infill creates an architectural dialogue between old and new. Old and new become according to figure-ground organization a new quality of design. Instead of adding a new building it is integrated within the ruin walls like a treasure in a jewelry case. Old and new become one, although not toughing itself.


The wooden infill is build completely with cross-laminated timber panels (CLT). It is a spatial intervention which works as a place of meeting and conversation. A new relation between architecture and body arise. The occupants of this Salt Pan Ruin House can assign a function to the different layers and make them their own. 

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