The industrial use of the area and the building started in the year 1871 when the Janesch (Janež) tannery started to operate. After 1900, the tannery was bought by Carl Pollak who renovated and extended the factory building, and expanded the production. The rebuilt factory is the first example of (visible) iron-concrete skeleton construction in Ljubljana. The Pollack factory worked successfully until the economic crisis in the 1930s, when the company was placed under compulsory administration of the Municipal Savings Bank, because it was insolvent. The industrial building was in use during and after the Second World War, when the Rog factory started manufacturing bicycles and typewriting machines on site (1952). The last big renovations of the building and the construction of auxiliary facilities were carried out in 1953 and 1963. The Rog factory operated on location until the early 1990s when the bicycle production was closed.
From early 1990s, when the production in the industrial building was abandoned, to 2002, when the Municipality of Ljubljana signed a leasing contract for the area of the Rog factory, deliberations and discussions about the future of that area took place. Different discussions ended with the recommendation that this area should be primarily dedicated to public cultural programmes. At the same time the former factory started to be used for occasional cultural events (e. g. Biennial of industrial design, Break festival). Since 2006 the building is being used on a daily basis by temporary users who developed cultural, artistic, sport and social activities on site.
Renovation of the broader Rog factory area
The Rog factory represents one of the last preserved quality examples of old industrial architecture, and at the same time, a degraded post-industrial area, in the centre of Ljubljana. In 2007, the City of Ljubljana focused intensely on the project of revitalising the whole area of the former Rog factory and renovating the factory building into a Centre of Contemporary Arts. A public architectural and urban-planning call for arranging the site was carried out (2008) and a proposal by the MX_SI studio from Barcelona was selected. The selected project includes: the renovation of the listed Rog factory building into the Centre of Contemporary Arts (ca 8,000 m2) and the construction of a new extension for a large exhibition venue (ca 1,800 m2); an underground car park (578 spaces); a hotel; apartments; and business premises.
Currently, the investment is reduced to the renovation of the listed Rog factory building into the Centre of Contemporary Arts with construction of appertaining new exhibition hall, business premises on the ground floor of the future Rog Centre (shops, cafes, etc.) and the construction of an underground car park with the possibility of building a hotel or apartment building near by.
The renovation project will be implemented using the public-private partnership model. Public part: Rog Centre and the appertaining underground car park (50 spaces).
Private part: hotel/apartments, business premises and the appertaining underground car park (528 spaces).
One important aim of the renovation is also the revitalisation of the Eastern part of the city centre, which is anticipated to grow into an important development axis of the city centre and its opening alongside the Ljubljanica River. By thoughtfully connecting culture and private initiative, the City of Ljubljana plans to vitalise this part of the city, giving it a new boost.
Renovation of the former Rog factory into Rog – Centre of Contemporary Arts
With the new Rog Centre Ljubljana will get a new creative and artistic focal point. Planned Rog Centre will be primarily dedicated to activities in the area of visual arts, architecture, design, but also other creative industries. As production, presentational, educational, and social space, the new Centre will combine big exhibition hall, ateliers, artists-in-residence, digital labs, workshops, presentational and social spaces. The goal is to develop a dynamic international centre where different disciplines as well as public, civil and private sector will not just coexist, but also synergistically collaborate.