Joze Plecnik. Gone fishing

Zapornice na Ljubljanici. (panoramio.com)

Zapornice na Ljubljanici. (panoramio.com)

Joze Plecnik in 1933.

Joze Plecnik in 1933.

The bridge above, in Ljubljana, Slovenia – I am assuming it is a bridge and not a dam – is by Slovenian architect Joze Plecnik (1872-1957), whose architectural style evolved, I gather, toward a sort of edgy Art Nouveau. He was born when Slovenia was part of Austro-Hungary, and died well before its peaceful but largely unnoticed, in the West, separation from Jugoslavia. Plecnik spent part of his life working in Prague, especially adding many bits and parts to Prague Castle. Plecnik was caught up somewhat, but clearly not disastrously so, in his field’s growing resistance to traditional form. This bridge proves that Plecnik had a great sense of humor.

Plecnik is, I believe, one of the architects Andres Duany hopes, in his upcoming book, or treatise, called Heterodoxia Architectonica, to reclaim for classicism after they have spent decades in absurd modernist re-education camps. (Louis Sullivan is another such prisoner of modernist architectural revisionism.)

I have looked without success for confirmation of news that a longstanding exhibit of Plecnik’s work, with a host of fabulous wooden models, at Ljubljana’s city museum was closed because current new Slovenian architecture being promoted by the authorities (often, says my source, quite good) looks tepid next to Plecnik.

In short, I am fishing for evidence of modernism’s totalitarian bent. The facts may not bear out my meme, but I lack facts. Meanwhile, below are a couple more images from Ljubljana, which I gather is considered one of the next undiscovered tourist destinations.

View of Ljubljana, with Triple Bridge, by Plecnik, just below center.

View of Ljubljana, with Triple Bridge, by Plecnik, just below center.

View over Triple Bridge toward Franciscan Church of the Annunciation.

View over Triple Bridge toward Franciscan Church of the Annunciation.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. History Press asked me to write and in August 2017 published my first book, "Lost Providence." I am now writing my second book. My freelance writing on architecture and other topics addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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4 Responses to Joze Plecnik. Gone fishing

  1. Pingback: Recapture Joze Plecnik! | Architecture Here and There

  2. Pingback: Plecnik revisited | Architecture Here and There

  3. Geoffrey James says:

    It is indeed a weir, part of Plecnik’s extensive intervention into the river system which included river-banks, quays, bridges and landscape architecture. I don’t think humor or irony was part of his repertoire. Lubljana is well worth a visit because of the extraordinary presence of Plecnik’s influence: he did squares, avenues, bridges, a remarkable market building, an incredible cemetery, a great university library, churches, office buildings, private houses, a terrific flat-iron building, and walks punctuated with archaeological remnants and pyramids. He was an outlier, and an original architect and urbanismt who deserves to be better known, which is why I am working on a book of photographs that I hope will do justice to his work. As to the modernist-totalitarian link, I would think that this would only pertain to Italy– some of the Fascist architecture in the towns outside the Roman marshes is terrific Bur Hitler loved grandiose, pallid classicism, and Stalin was into Weddingg Cake. The Bauhaus didn’t survive the Nazis.

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  4. tamara says:

    I have to notice the first picture in tour post is not a bridge but a water-gauge, water regulation has been quiet an issue in Ljubljana since centuries. I wouldn’t go into theory about his work but would like to mention his great talent for reinterpreting folk art and national heritage. Like decorating a church with simple ceramic plates made by local artisans.Or have a look at My Botanical Garden , search for Plecnik-I’ve written about beehive he constructed.Wish you a nice day! Tamara

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