Open Editorial Conference: Plečnik, The City And Me, Ljubljana 2017
Plečnik, The City And Me is an enquiry into Plečnik’s urban interventions which will appear as a long form essay – the Dossier – on Architectuul. Architectuul is an online architecture publication and community platform founded in 2010. From its open text catalogue, a database of architectural projects, Architectuul will link Plecnik’s projects to the discussion of his ideas in the Dossier.
Jože Plečnik was an incredibly resourceful architect. He built architectural masterpieces, reimagined the city of Ljubljana, was an indefatigable teacher who developed his own idiosyncratic architectural language. However, his universal appeal, especially for today’s architects, is too often obfuscated by all these diverse achievements. What truly sets Plečnik apart from his peers, then and now, is his ability to establish connections, to create a unique relation between the human subject and his environment.
This idea goes way beyond the design of a single object or building. It encompasses movement, time and – with it – a multitude of spatial configurations. In this sense his appeal to classical forms was a specific means to achieve a different end goal – to communicate, provide orientation, establish identity. Because Plecnik saw the city as an organism and was wary of formal systems to induce change in urban environments his intentions can be grasped best while walking through the city of Ljubljana. There is no single grand view, but there are many discoveries of delicate visual and spatial experiences. Only through the collected memories of experienced situations the entire picture of the city and Plečnik’s vision become apparent.
This autumn a UN Habitat sponsored document on urban planning will be published which focuses on the idea of creating open complex and rich environments through cross-linking spatial components and urban functions. This is exactly what Plečnik excelled in 80 years ago. Therefore we will raise the question: What can we learn from Plečnik today (while staying true to his intentions)?