The Story of Kino Šiška

In 1957, when Ljubljana split into several municipalities, Šiška got its own administrative unit. According to the development plan for the center of the Šiška municipality, a new urban municipal center, located next to the main road between “Upper” and “Lower” Šiška, was established at the end of the 1950s. Around the main square, you could find the following: the municipal administrative building, a shopping mall, a cinema, a singles dormitory, which later received an extension and was repurposed as a hotel. Later on, a post office, health center, primary school and kindergarten were also built.

Kino Šiška was built in 1961 and is one of the first buildings characterised by modernist architecture. The building is the work of Slovenian architect Božidar Gvardjančič. It’s positioned in the centre of the suburban neighbourhood, with the main facade overlooking the shopping mall towards Celovška Street.

In 1962, the Ljubljanski kinematografi company was granted the running of the building by the City of Ljubljana, screening films from 1964 until the end of the 1980s, when attendance decreased and the building was only available for various events and lectures. The cinema was re-opened in 1994.

After the opening of the Kolosej multiplex in 2001, Kino Šiška and its 725-seat cinema concluded their story for a second time. From October 2002 until 2007, the building hosted art projects, dance and theater performances, creative workshops, refresher exercises for performance groups and individuals as well as dance campaigns. It is in this period that the ownership of the building was transferred to the City of Ljubljana. A civil initiative, led by current City Council member Gregor Tomc, petitioned for the creation of a centre for urban culture during the mandates of Mayors Vika Potočnik and Danica Simšič. The initial idea of establishing such a centre dates back to 1995, when Ljubljana was preparing to organize the European Cultural Month in 1997.

In 2004, Kino Šiška became one of the infrastructural measures contained in the National Programme for Culture. The project was at a standstill until 2006 and the arrival of new Mayor Zoran Janković, who listed the project as one of his priorities.

The Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture public institute was established at a meeting of the City Council of the City of Ljubljana on 4 February 2008. The ordinance finally allowed for the operation of the centre under its owner and predominant funder. What followed was the registration of the public institution and its enrollment in the commercial register. In 2008, intensive investment preparations took place with the acquisition of the necessary expert reports, permits and projects for the start of construction work in September.

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