Architecture of eclectic originality
Tu pride flashJože Plečnik (1872-1957) is one of the great architects of the twentieth century, recognised in his time as a leading architect in Europe. Friedrich Achleitner compared Joze Plečnik to Antonio Gaudi: ‘Like Gaudi, …he is an 'architectural fundamentalist', but also an artisan, a technician, an inventor, and a landmark figure for a newly developed national architecture.’ Plečnik reorganized traditional codes that allowed modern concepts regarding structure, function, space to take place in a vast cultural, historical and architectural heritage. Elements in his work reveal the spectrum of artistic and architectural styles: Classical Greek and Roman architecture, ancient Egyptian, Byzantine, Islamic and folk motifs. He created work of such eclectic originality, that mainstream modern architecture overlooked his work until the 1980s; this led to a rediscovery by the post-modernists.
Plečnik’s work is concentrated in Slovenia, Vienna, and the renovation of the Castle of Prague on Hradčany. Plečnik’s love for his country led him to devote his life to creating a fine capital city and from the 1920s to 1957 he transformed Ljubljana, which has come to be called "Plečnik's Ljubljana." Plečnik's genius as architect and urban planner is a phenomenon. He designed urban areas, entire streets, Tivoli Park, the banks of the Ljubljanica river, Tromostovje (Three Bridges), Kongresni trg (Congress Square), Zvezda, Križanke (monastery complex), the Žale cemetery, the National and University library, and renovations of public buildings, monuments, interior designs and decorations. Many of the monumental plans for the city drawn by Plečnik were not realized, due to the high project costs, and the lack of state interest; the plans have been preserved in archives.
To mark Plečnik’s anniversaries, and the foundation of the Museum of Architecture, a permanent exhibition comprising most of the works of Plečnik's Paris exhibition of 1986 at the Georges Pompidou Cultural Centre was opened to the public in a renovated wing of the classical early Renaissance Fužine Castle on the banks of the river Ljubljanica in Ljubljana.
Photo album: Plečnik's Ljubljana Plečnik Sluice Gates
Further reading: articles: Jože Plečnik, architect
Learning activities1. Provide a legend to the map
Text-type: map, legend
Linguistic element: nouns
Locate Plečnik’s buildings on the interactive map of the city centre of Ljubljana, and compile a legend for the map
2. Design an advertisement
Text-type: tourist advertisement
Linguistic element: prepositions
Write an advertisement about the Plecnik’s house museum, with opening hours details
3. Script a conversation
Linguistic element: direct and indirect speech
Write a conversation about interesting features of the Plečnik exhibition you have seen
4. Script an interview
Linguistic element: pronouns - interrogative
Write an interview about the origin of the permanent exhibition of Plečnik’s work at Fužine Castle
5. Write an article
Text-type: newspaper article for Travel & Tourism
Linguistic element: compound sentences
Write an article about Joze Plecnik, his significance, and exhibition venues
6. Prepare a talk
Linguistic element: adverbs
Give a talk on how Jože Plečnik’s vision transformed Ljubljana as an urban planning project
Comprehension - reading and respondingRead the text About the Architect Jože Plečnik in the web site of The Architecture Museum of Slovenia.
Answer the following questions in English.
1. Which buildings did Jože Plečnik design in Austria?
2. What were the renovations completed at the Prague Castle on Hradčany?
3. Name the Ljubljana urban planning projects till 1944.
4. What was Plečnik’s vision for the Ljubljana Castle?
5. Name building projects Plečnik undertook up to 1953.
6. What were the two most important projects in his latter years?
7. Why is Plečnik regarded as one of the great architects of the twentieth century?
Kamniti Pygmalion: Jože Plečnik, RTV Slovenija, 1992
Gosar, A, Jersič, M, Slovenia, the Tourist Guide, Mladinska knjiga, Ljubljana, 1999
Krečič, P, Jože Plečnik, DZS, Ljubljana, 1992
Krečič, P, Jože Plečnik - moderni klasik, DZS,1999
Krečič, P, Plečnikova Ljubljana, Cankarjeva založba, Ljubljana, 1991
Kuhar, Š, Jože Plečnik, Občina Grad, Grad, 2003
Mihelič, B, Ljubljana city guide, DZS, Ljubljana, 1994
Slovene Studies, Journal of the Society for Slovene Studies, No.2 1996