WordPress offers bloggers, among many other things, a list every day enumerating which posts get read by how many readers. I am continually amazed at how many posts from long ago (well, months) keep getting hits in drips and drabs. For example, a reader, Geoffrey James, just commented on a post from April 14, “Joze Plecnik, gone fishing.” Read it here. He answers a question I posed whether the Plecnik structure illustrated at the top of the post was a dam or a bridge. Here is Geoffrey’s very interesting comment:
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. Ljubljana 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 urbanist 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. But Hitler loved grandiose, pallid classicism, and Stalin was into Wedding Cake. The Bauhaus didn’t survive the Nazis.
Maybe Plecnik was a sourpuss, but his weir is delightfully weird. Each of its towers is a human face. Very funny, but entirely unintentional? I think not. Though it may well be that these faces were depressed and about to drown themselves by leaping from the weir. Not funny. Nonetheless, I look forward to Geoffrey James’s book on Plecnik. As for the modernist-totalitarian link, I’m not sure Geoffrey grokked my point. But that’s neither here nor there, or at any rate it is not to be further pursued in this particular post.
I have always been fascinated by Plecnik, trying to snatch up what books I could of his work. His work has a wonderful sense of scale and a richness of tactility. It feels like a different world but yet you feel you are at home. Ljubljana is on my architectural bucket list.
Plecnik was one of the most human architects of the 20th century… a man who completely understood lovability… even if his 1950s designs didn’t display that.