A rich history of architectural ideas, ideals, ambitions, and visions can be read in public buildings. At the same time, they are an inexhaustible source of inspiration, fantasies, and dreams about the architecture of the future. As model projects, they were often opportunities for experimenting with and legitimizing new conceptual approaches, construction methods, technologies, and materials. Public buildings also testify to the development of a country and its institutions; they speak of how people live and function as an organized community; they tell of the wealth of our public services and our concern for the common good. In the architecture of public buildings we see revealed an understanding of the city as a collectively created living environment as well as the society’s relationship to nature. We live at a time when natural areas are more protected than ever administratively, even as they are increasingly under threat. A deeper look at past models of building placement within the landscape opens up questions about the contemporary relationship between the architect’s responsibility and administrative regulations. Today, governments at various levels are reducing the scope of public institutions and transferring a segment of public services into the hands of private companies. In this regard, an examination of the role of architecture in the public domain encourages us to think about the social state and the contribution to the quality of life made by the public institutions created in the past.
Using materials preserved in the storerooms of the Museum of Architecture and Design and other archives, the exhibition Under a Common Roof: Modern Public Buildings from the Museum’s Collection and Other Archives highlights forty projects that offer insight into the history of public buildings in Slovenia. It presents a wide range of public architectural projects, from city swimming pools built in the interwar period, school buildings that set new standards for learning environments in the mid-twentieth century, and new administrative buildings through which the state represented itself, to carefully planned layouts for architectural sites in the mythic spaces of history, railway stations that signified modern transportation hubs, and hotels that in socialist Yugoslavia were built by municipal governments with the aim of developing tourism.
Public buildings form key chapters in the history of Slovene architecture and are the most important part of the museum’s architectural collection. This collection contains both architectural archives and posthumous papers and other materials left to the Architecture Museum of Ljubljana, from the 1970s onward, by architects, their relatives, and other donors. The museum’s storage rooms hold drawings, architectural models, a wide variety of photographic materials, and other documents, including many original building plans for public buildings, most of which will be on view for the first time.
Public building projects central to the development of Slovene architecture can be found throughout Slovenia – from the country’s first modernist school building, in Murska Sobota, which architect Feri Novak designed in accordance with Le Corbusier’s “five points of architecture”, to the hospital in Izola in which Stanko Kristl incorporated the latest ideas for organizing medical buildings; from Hotel Kanin in Bovec, Janez Lajovic’s still-unsurpassed example of touristic architecture, whose subtly designed profile follows the mountain slopes of the Soča Valley, to the cultural centre in Črnomelj, which Branko Simčič redesigned as a monument to the birth of Slovene statehood.
In addition to the projects held in the collection of the Museum of Architecture and Design, materials for the exhibition have also come from other institutions with architectural archives: The Plečnik Collection of the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana; the National Gallery of Slovenia; the Regional Archives Maribor; the Archive of the Slovenian Railways; the Archive of the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Ljubljana; the Archive of RTV Slovenia; and the Archive of Murska Sobota Primary School I. An important segment of the exhibited projects comes as well from the personal archives of the architects Stanko Kristl, Janez Lajovic, Milan Mihelič, and Savin Sever.
Exhibition curators: Matevž Čelik, Maja Vardjan, Bogo Zupančič
3,00 / 1,50 EUR
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