1st Central-European Architectural Magazine for the Culture of the Environment

Revitalization of the Old Glassworks

Photo: Miran Kambič

New Architecture / Piranesi 48/49

Revitalization of the Old Glassworks


Fragments of history captured in the present

by Tina Gradišer

Ptuj is a city with a two-thousand-year history, but its streets are still inhabited by the spirits of culture, mixing with the gods of trade and crafts.

Photo: Miran Kambič

Ptuj, with its old town centre, offers locals and visitors the potential of many spaces, which are unfortunately often abandoned and degraded, or have an unregulated ownership status, making their revitalization impossible. What all these spaces have in common is that they still have a strong character, which is why their renovation must be approached with particular sensitivity and care. Ptuj is also a city of festivals and culture, and with the successful renovation of public open spaces in recent years it continues to reinterpret its heritage and strengthen the network of its cultural hotspots.

Photo: Miran Kambič

One of the most important cultural focal points is the so-called Old Glassworks, which has acquired an important and diverse social role in the 25 years since it ceased to operate in Ptuj. Some even draw parallels between the Old Glassworks and Ljubljana’s Metelkova. The Old Glassworks was home to a wide variety of cultural institutions, which staged varied theatrical and other performances in the abandoned warehouse and thus served as the centre of Ptuj’s amateur culture. It is the Old Glassworks community that played an important role in Ptuj’s development as a town, filling the complete urban block of the building complex, which was built between the 15th and 17th centuries. Research on the area has revealed an extensive layer of Drava alluvium with Roman finds, as the Drava terrace on which the Old Glassworks is situated was created around 300 AD, when the Roman city of Ptuj was at its most active. After the streets were laid out, with their small squares, the street network of the medieval town was established, composed of medieval houses with courtyards such as the one in the Old Glassworks. The courtyards and streets in this part of the town were mostly paved with stones from the river Drava, characterized by their earthy and reddish colours, which could be said to be the hallmark of the renovated area of the Old Glassworks, and in fact of the town of Ptuj as a whole.

Photo: Miran Kambič

Project Data

Revitalization of the Old Glassworks, Ptuj, Slovenia

Architectural office
Elementarna d.o.o.

Responsible head of project
Matevž Zalar

Project team
Ambrož Bartol, Dominik Košak, Miha Munda, Rok Staudacher, Samo Kralj

Landscape architecture
Kolektiv Tektonika, d.o.o. (ulice in trgi / streets and squares), Darja Matjašec

Mestna občina Ptuj / Urban Municipality of Ptuj

Year of project

Year of construction

Allotment area
1088 m²

Built area
688 m²

Built area in total
ground floor: 694 m², medetaža / mezzanine: 92 m², podstrešje / attic: 301 m²)

Structural engineering
Elea iC, d.o.o., Marko Pavlinjek

Electrical engineering
Biro Lovšin d.o.o., Jakob Lovšin

Mechanical engineering
Bojan Mehle s.p., Bojan Mehle