Back issue for magazine - Werk, Bauen + Wohnen 2009/6

Werk, Bauen + Wohnen 2009/6 Ljubljana
The geopolitical conditions in Europe changed decisively several times during the 20th century, the most recent wave of change occurring two decades ago. On June 25, 1991 the former Yugoslav republic of Slovenia declared its independence, the country has been a member of the EU since 2004 and introduced the Euro in 2007. We now speak of the Iron Curtain in the past tense; the present-day generation of twenty-year olds knows it only from hearsay. In the course of these most recent political and economic changes Slovenia’s architecture also experienced a new boom, particularly in the capital Ljubljana. This issue is devoted to the most recent developments in the area of contemporary architecture and town planning in Ljubljana. Deliberately we look only peripherally at Ljubljana’s rich older history of architecture, particularly because its dominant figure, Jože Plečnik, is internationally known. There can be no doubt that it is not only the business opportunities and the unrestricted freedom of movement that has given young Slovene architects today a new understanding of themselves, but also their conscious role as the counterpart to the ubiquity of father figure Plečnik and the two generations that followed him. With their public spaces and individual buildings the latter gave the city an unmistakeable but somewhat frozen face. After 1991 the politics of deregulation and privatisation changed the outline situation for the building industry, too. Due to lack of public funding today private capital is dominant, and it is interested more in returns than in architectural quality. The market economy casts its shadow. This makes the untroubled manner with which the current architecture scene seeks – and finds – a connection to the international discourse through its astonishing achievements seem all the more remarkable to us. In the 1990s early reformers such as the office of Sadar&Vuga pointed the way and evened the path for these young to very young architects. This issue shows a critical internal view of things: two contributions deal with town planning in Ljubljana and the state of affairs from an architectural viewpoint. The portrait of one of the currently most successful Slovene offices is augmented by a series of selected, very recent buildings. Finally, a look at history shows that before and after the Second World War close and friendly contacts existed between Swiss and Slovene architects. We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to the numerous colleagues in Ljubljana who through their hospitality, knowledge and collaboration aided us in preparing this issue: Petra Ceferin, Miha Dešman, Tadej Glažar, Andrej Hrausky, Maja Ivanič, Cvetka Požar, Bogo Zupančič, and to all the architects who showed us their buildings.

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