Slovenia has continuously redefined design across rural life. With an architecture that’s intimately tied to the country’s geography, Slovenia emerged as a crossroads of European cultural and trade routes. This produced hybrid building styles and typologies defined by history and exchange. Expanding upon modernist roots and the work of architects like Max Fabiani, Ivan Vurnik, and Jože Plečnik, contemporary building projects are designed through ideas on multiplicity and coupled programming.
Ljubljana: The Latest Architecture and News
Recently I traveled to Ljubljana, Slovenia, in search of the religious architecture of the celebrated (but largely unknown in the U.S.) Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik (1872–1957). I write a lot about the architecture of spirituality, and I was curious about Plečnik’s churches and chapels—what the architect’s idiosyncratic form of classicism said about faith in a Modern age. What I didn’t expect to find was the universal nature of Plečnik’s work as an urbanist: a re-maker of the Slovenian capital that holds lessons for us today.
Ljubljana is Europe’s little secret. This small capital city (less than 300,000 inhabitants) is perhaps surprisingly big in terms of architecture, and the variety of its built history makes it a mandatory stop in your architectural journey. From richly painted churches to sobering Brutalism. From classical Baroque and Habsburg-inspired architecture to delightful Art Nouveau façades and interiors. And of course, abundant greenery (Ljubljana is Slovenia’s – and now Europe’s – green capital) and food.
Ljubljana is a city that has many layers. Its beginnings as a Roman city are still visible (a wall, the world’s oldest wooden wheel, and the roads in and out of the city to name a few). Its contemporary vestiges might have aged, but their meaning hasn’t – think of the Republic Square or Brutalist petrol stations. It’s when we visit in person that we are able to truly feel these places and understand these layers.
A new European architecture platform will launch in June this year, with the scope of supporting emerging architects and at the same time mobilizing the profession's efforts in delivering a sustainable, circular built environment. Operating on a grant from the Creative Europe initiative, LINA brings together 28 European and Mediterranean organizations from 23 countries, among which are several European biennials, triennials and festivals, museums, research networks and laboratories, publishing houses and universities. A successor to the Future Architecture platform, the initiative will be coordinated by the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Ljubljana and directed by Matevž Čelik.