Globus: From a Supermarket to a Library (Slovenia)
Globus is an imposing building of architectural modernism in Kranj. Its author is the famous Slovenian architect Edvard Ravnikar who decisively marked post-war Slovene architecture. The majority of Ravnikar’s realized plans are in Ljubljana, but in evaluating his work we should not miss his contribution to the formation of the city of Kranj.
Globus, the first supermarket in Kranj, is his last work in the city (1970-1972). With the material with which the author covered the building – korten, rusty iron, it caused many negative reactions among the population in Kranj. It even went so far that the architect had to defend his views before a chorus of investors.
Transformation into a library
The golden years of Globus were from 1976 to 1999. Later on, at the time of opening of new shopping malls, Globus began to decline. At the same time, the Central Library of Kranj has been struggling with space constraints for many years. At the same time, the Central Library of Kranj has been struggling with space constraints. In 2006, the City Council of the Municipality of Kranj made a decision to renovate and relocate all the library departments to Globus. All three departments of the library – Pioneer, General and Study – merged and moved to Globus in June 2011.
With Globus and other buildings the architect Ravnikar initiated the construction of a new modern city center, which should be connected to the old city center.
Due to the construction of Globus, six commercial and residential houses were demolished, such as the printing house Gorenjski tisk, which got new premises, the bus station and others.
What was Globus like?
Globus was the first building with a cornet facade in Slovenia and very modern supermarket at that time. Its floor plan was rationally designed, with a parking house on the roof. Before entering, you could see the exhibited goods in showcases designed in an original way. The space in the department store was designed to be very airy due to the amount of glass used, as the glass walls let in so much daylight that artificial light was just a complement. Despite the glass walls surrounding the extensive retail space on three sides, the customer did not have the uncomfortable feeling of being observed from the outside when choosing goods, as shop windows were specially installed for this purpose. The sales areas were equipped with air conditioning, so that shopping was pleasant even on the hottest and coldest days. Globus was equipped with all modern safety and signaling devices in case of fire or other accident. The house also had a generator that turned on automatically if the power went out.
New method of sale
The self-service approach to the items and the method of sale was definitely a novelty for Kranj and wider area. The buyers chose among the offered goods more or less independently. In this way, the salesman no longer had the classic role of selling, but became more of a consultant. In short time this type of sales has established itself in modern department stores as the best, so it was later introduced in almost all supermarkets in Slovenia and abroad. Nevertheless, the employees on all three floors of the Globe had enough work to do, as they wanted customers to leave solidly and quickly served.
What did Globus offer?
On more than 4,200 square meters of sales area, the buyer at Globus had a wide choice. Three big companies offered all their goods. Among the additional services worth mentioning was also a small sewing room where they could quickly shorten the dress, sew curtains. All for free. Selected and purchased furniture and floor coverings from Globus were delivered to your home 30 km away free of charge. They also mounted it for you for free. For a fee, they offered special gift arrangements, installation of ski equipment, film development and photography. A special service to visitors or customers in Globus, which was extremely welcome at that time, was the possibility to exchange domestic currency for foreign currency. There was a special space for car garages on the fourth floor.
Those of us who visited the Globe as children, along with our parents, remember well the three kiosks located at the back of the building. In one of them we could afford French fries, in the other we waited for a shoemaker to fix our shoes, and in the third they could make us an extra key for the home or car.
The municipality thus bought unfurnished business premises in Globus in the size of 4,673.50 square meters, which means most of the first and second floors and part of the ground floor and basement.
Globus as an object had to be renovated in its entirety and not just the part dedicated to the library. The most difficult part of the renovation was the renovation of the facade, so the contractor, the library management, the municipality of Kranj and the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage sought a compromise to give the facade a more beautiful appearance. The Library was planned with the need for state-of-the-art technical equipment, enabling self-service book rental, a machine for returning materials 24 hours a day etc.
Library from 2011 onwards
The grand opening took place in June 2011. A big desire for the new library in Kranj was proved by the large crowd of Kranj citizens and residents of the surrounding municipalities, who accompanied its ceremonial opening. Many of them also lined up in a long chain that ran from the former study library to the new premises in Globus. Along with the majorettes and the Kranj Orchestra the books traveled from hand to hand all the way to the old shelves in front of the entrance to the new library. With this, the ceremonial opening of the new Kranj City Library began.
The main speaker was the writer and Prešeren Award winner, the venerable Boris Pahor. Surprised by the large number of people who came to open the new library, he emphasized the importance of the book, the Slovene word and with it the nation’s consciousness, and warned of the danger of globalization. “If any nation in this world depends on its word and book, then it is us… If we are faithful to our book, we will be able to preserve our own identity and nation consciousness,” he said. The new modern library, which was unparalleled in Slovenia at the time, was built with the aim of operating as a cultural, educational, information, communication and, above all, social center, in addition to its basic activity of borrowing books. With the support of the municipality and the public, the library employees have been performing this role very successfully, responsibly and enthusiastically ever since, setting new and even more ambitious goals in their work.
The original source of this story can be found here.