Five new football fields were reconstructed in rural Croatia following heavy floods in 2014 that caused both casualties as well as catastrophic destruction of infrastructure. Several football fields and stadiums in villages were destroyed, prompting the Croatian Football Federation to work with FIFA as well as European football federations to raise funds for the reconstruction.
The funds would cover the reconstruction of five football fields in the villages of Posavski Podgajci, Drenovci, Račinovci, Strošinci and Gunja. It was decided to construct a new stadium in Gunja with design guidance from GEplus arhitekti.
The crown jewel of the entire reconstruction project, the new Luka Sokcevic Saljapin Stadium in Gunja was designed by GEplus arhitekti, with the firm selected for their expertise in designing football infrastructure.
A key challenge for the architecture firm was to redefine the typology of small football stadiums and integrate modern architecture into a rural landscape. GEplus arhitekti designed the stadium to rise out of the field, representing the symbiosis of architecture and the environment.
An L-shaped canopy over the building is inscribed with the stadium’s name. Natural concrete has been used in both exterior and interior spaces. Designed to fit in perfectly with the rural landscape, the building features a brick facade made using bricks salvaged from the ruined flood-damaged houses in the village. Built using about 12,000 preserved pieces, the brick facade is the most prominent element of the stadium’s visual identity.