številka / volume 141-142
november / november 1998
letnik / anno XXVIII
stanje stvari
state of affairs
vsebina številke
table of contents
Miha Dešman Uvodnik
Editorial
Miloš Florjančič Šola in tipologija
School and Typology
Miha Dešman Novo v starem
New in Old
Miloš Florjančič Inovacija in kompozicija
Inovation and Composition
Janez Koželj Med cesto in sosesko
Between a Main Thoroughfare and a Housing Estate
Miha Dešman Namesto čiste prihaja hibridna arhitektura
Instead of Pure Here Comes Hybrid Architecture
Miha Dešman Arhitekturna profesionalca vsakdanjosti
Every Day Architectural Pros
Sonja Ifko Kidričevo - dediščina industrializacije
Kidričevo - The Legacy of Industrialisation
Ilka Čerpes Strukturni pristop k urbanističnemu načrtovanju
Structural Approach to Urbanism
Aleš Vodopivec Tišina arhitekture: izpraznjenost prostora
The Silence of Architecture; the Emptyed Space
Peter Šenk & Zala Volčič Pozni kapitalizem - defensor fidei
Late-Capitalism - Defensor Fidei
Martin Heidegger Grajenje, prebivanje, mišljenje
Miha Dešman ab študentska nagrada 1998
Andrej Hrausky Marko Pozzetto: Maks Fabiani - vizije prostora
Ira Zorko Who Will Remember Me?
uvodnik

Številka pred vami se ukvarja s pozicioniranjem in vrednotenjem aktualne slovenske arhitekture. Kje stoji, kaj zmore, kaj hoče in česa noče. Kakšne so njene nočne more in kateri njeni vrhunci. Po čem se razlikuje od drugih okolij in kaj so njeni braniki pred grozečo utopitvijo v globalnosti. Slovenska arhitektura devetdesetih sama zase ni razpoznaven in zamejen fenomen, ki bi sam iz sebe ustvarjal identiteto. Vendar je to identiteto mogoče rekonstruirati kot refleks predhodnih obdobij slovenske arhitekture in sočasnih dogajanj v širšem (beri mednarodnem) okolju.

Uvodnik, izbor tekstov in predstavljenih arhitektur izraža naše stališče do tega fenomena. To stališče, čeprav znotraj pluralizma in relativizma, ki naddoloča današnjo dobo, je nekaj, kar se da napadati ali braniti, nekaj, kar odpira razpravo. Mislimo, da bi bilo za nas arhitekte smotrno, ko bi več razmišljali, se več pogovarjali in pogosteje v odprti strokovni razpravi soočali stališča do arhitekture in problemov, s katerimi se vsak dan srečujemo. S tem bi se vsaj delno izognili neprestanim ponavljanjem že slišanega pa tudi nerazumevanjem in nesporazumom, ki izhajajo iz slabega poznavanja stvarnega stanja.

Stanje stvari je daleč od idealnega, vendar je spoznanje o problemih tudi vzgib za pričetek njihovega reševanja. Zato je za nas arhitekte nujno vedno znova analizirati situacijo, postavljati stvari na njihovo pravo mesto in iskati - čeprav šibke - skupne oporne in stične točke kontinuitete. Za začetek morda zavzeti lastno stališče. In prav to vam predlagamo.

I. Podstat

Arhitekturna situacija v kakem okolju je s tisoč nitmi povezana s svetom in zgodovino. Nekatere so močne in večne, druge tanke kot pajčevina, pa zato za razumevanje celote nič manj pomembne. Slovenska arhitektura 20. stoletja največ dolguje Semperjevemu nauku, ki povezuje prejšnje stoletje in začetek našega od Nemčije, Francije, Švice do cesarskega Dunaja. Wagner, kot semperjanec par exellence, je vzgojil Plečnika, ta do nedavna skriti dragulj, ki pa v zadnjem času pridobiva mesto ene ključnih referenčnih osebnosti evropske arhitekture prve polovice stoletja (F. Dal Co, intervju v AA, 1997).

Slovenski arhitekturni kozmos je bil in je še strukturiran piramidalno hierarhično, izjem skoraj ni. Na vrhu Bog oče - Plečnik. Pod njim Kristus - Ravnikar. Okoli razporejeni svetniki, nato blaženi in množica zveličanih. Pekla ni videti. Tradicija kontinuitete je v slovenski arhitekturi izjemno močna. Očetje in stari očetje so avtoriteta še danes. Arhitekti spoštujejo zaporedje generacij in častijo tradicijo. Kultura preloma, značilna za francosko in nemško moderno arhitekturo, se pri nas ni razvila.

Umor očeta je potreben, da se začne revolucija, vendar so bili pri nas ti akti preloma, tako Ravnikarja s Plečnikom kot kasneje naslednikov z Ravnikarjem, bolj adolescentni odkloni kot dokončni patricidi, in njihov končni rezultat je bilo vračanje na stare pozicije.

II. Najlepša leta...

Druga svetovna vojna je pometla s prej cvetočo meščansko kulturo. Namesto opozicije med regionalizmom in Plečnikovo arhitekturo perenis na eni strani ter kozmopolitskimi vplivi Le Corbusiera, dunajske in praške moderne na drugi strani smo dobili socialistični realizem. Vendar so v le-tem hitro začele nastajati razpoke. Sredina šestdesetih je pomembna točka preobrata; zgodnji liberalizem in gospodarski razcvet sta dala arhitekturi drugačen položaj kot prej centralistična partijska država. Predvojno znanje in arhitekturna kultura sta hitro znova pridobila pomen. Tako tradicija Semper - Wagner - Plečnik, kontrastirana z Loosovo lekcijo, kot sočasna zahodnoevropska arhitektura sta našli dostojnega interpreta v arhitekturi t. i. Ravnikarjeve šole (tej temi je poleg številnih člankov posvečena posebna številka ab “Arhitektura 60-ih”).

Ravnikarju je uspelo ohraniti, pa tudi razširiti in posodobiti mrežo niti, podedovano od Plečnika. Asplund in Leverentz, Aalto, L. Kahn in mnogi drugi so del intelektualne bratovščine druge generacije modernih, ki jim Ravnikar suvereno pripada. Pokopališče na Rabu 1953, skupščina občine v Kranju 1958-60, stanovanjski kompleks Ferantov vrt 1967-73, trgovsko poslovni kompleks Trg revolucije 1961-74 in mnoga druga dela predstavljajo s svojim posebnim odnosom do kontinuuma urbanega prostora, tradicije in modernosti reprezentativne dosežke evropske arhitekture (F. Achleitner).

Ravnikar je skupaj s sodobniki in močnimi generacijami učencev, med katerimi so Bonča, Sever, Mihelič, Kristl, Križaj, Jugovec, Jože Koželj, Lajovic, Košak, Mušič in drugi, z naslonitvijo na angleške in skandinavske vzornike našel priključek s takrat najaktualnejšo svetovno arhitekturo.

III. Avtonomija discipline

Drugi preobrat je pojav postmodernizma, obdobja, ki v nekem smislu traja še danes. Država kot kolektivni prosvetljeni naročnik se je pričela umikati in arhitekti so se znašli v vakuumu. Izgubili so privilegirano pozicijo ob strani vladarja, novi pogoji za kulturno vlogo arhitekture pa še niso bili vzpostavljeni. Logična posledica je bila kriza vrednot - odpoved starim ni sama po sebi ustoličila novih. Osemdeseta so bila pogorišče modernizma in redki dosežki, ki so nastali v tem času, za katerega sta bili najbolj značilni vulgarni različici postmodernizma in pluralizma, so bili bolj eho prejšnjega, umirajočega obdobja velikih zgodb kot znanilci novega. Plečnikove in Ravnikarjeve arhitekture “grands projects”, imperialne arhitekture je bilo takrat nepreklicno konec, vsaj za lepo število let.

Vendar je čas izteka sedemdesetih obeležil tudi pojav nove generacije, t. i. generacije ab, katere najvidnejši predstavniki so Vojteh Ravnikar, Janez Koželj, Aleš Vodopivec in Jurij Kobe. Ta generacija, lahko bi ji rekli tudi generacija '68, danes zaseda vodilne položaje v stroki in daje tempo aktualnemu dogajanju, tako s projekti in realizacijami kot s pedagoškim delom na ljubljanski arhitekturni šoli. Izhodišče te generacije bi lahko našli v kontekstualizmu in racionalizmu: težka pravilna, teoretska arhitektura, temelječa na konceptu genius loci in estetiki kvadrata. Seveda je kmalu pričela presegati ozko zastavljena izhodišča in danes je nekje na okopih srednjeevropskega regionalno obarvanega racionalizma, podobno kot večina kvalitetne arhitekture v sosednjih državah.

IV. Iztek stoletja

Iztek tisočletja je Sloveniji prinesel neodvisno državo in s tem za arhitekte nove in drugačne možnosti in izzive. Ob tem so se pogoji poklica tudi sicer spremenili, lahko rečemo tudi zaostrili. Med dejavniki, ki vplivajo na arhitekturno prakso, je uveljavitev CAD, namreč računalnika v vseh aspektih arhitektovega dela. Drugi je uveljavitev tržne ekonomije, ki v arhitekturo nezadržno vnaša tržno logiko, posledica tega pa so deregulacija in deprivacija arhitektovega položaja ter v procesu gradnje njegova podrejenost logiki profita. Pomen trajnosti in reprezentacije skupnosti je z uveljavitvijo profitne logike v arhitekturi načet do te mere, da ga zamenjujejo rutina brez domišljije, neobčutljivost, ozkost in pomanjkanje ambicij. Ti novi pogoji se izražajo tudi v spremembah na področju etike poklica.

Seveda je danes situacija, vsaj z insajderske pozicije, videti bolj razpršena in razslojena kot kdajkoli prej. Najznačilnejša lastnost je variabilnost, celo poljubnost, kar pomeni, da se druga ob drugi grade arhitekture, zasnovane z diametralno nasprotnih izhodišč. Ne smemo mižati pred enormno banalnostjo in vulgarnostjo nastajajočega prostora suburbije in transformacije podeželja. Položaj arhitekture v drugi polovici devetdesetih ni rožnat, zlasti ne za mlajše generacije. V deželi, ki v postsocialističnem obdobju ekonomski liberalizem ceni bolj kot planiranje in individualizem bolj kot državo, smo arhitekti postavljeni pred težavno nalogo, ko poskušamo ponovno definirati svoj poklic in kulturno vlogo arhitekture. Delati za nouveaux riches - kajti edino ti imajo denar, nimajo pa hiš - je za večino žalostna izkušnja, in enako je z inženiringi in bankami, usmerjenimi k dobičku. Vendar ni izbire: podstaviti je treba hrbet nemogoči nalogi - spreminjanju sveta s pomočjo arhitekture - in arhitekturi s prevzemanjem večje odgovornosti znova izboriti uporabnost, potrebnost in čim boljšo pozicijo v družbi in v procesu gradnje.

Razmišljati o trendih v sočasni slovenski arhitekturi je tvegano početje; smisel ima edinole v odnosu do zgodovinske perspektive in do aktualne mednarodne situacije. Danes ni več možna specifična generacijska pozicija. Poetike so bolj osebne ali pa vezane na širše (beri mednarodne) trende. Zdi se, da ni mogoče najti ene same prevladujoče usmeritve, niti dveh struj, ki bi se med sabo borili za prvenstvo. Obstajajo tako imenovani “krogi”, ali vplivna območja, ki se zbirajo okrog posameznih osebnosti, revij, generacijskih jeder ali celo regionalnih središč, vendar je “boj idej” tako rekoč izginil s prizorišča. To ima svoje dobre in slabe plati; arhitekti se bolj posvečajo osnovni dejavnosti - arhitekturi, po drugi strani pa se tudi bolj zapirajo v utečeno rutino samozadostnosti lastnega vrtička, brez občutka za skupno in brez zanimanja za vzvišeno. Razmišljanje o trendih nas torej kar samo pripelje v razmišljanje o večnih resnicah arhitekture.

Tuji vzori veliko bolj vplivajo na našo situacijo kot naši navzven, čeprav je dejstvo “globalne vasi” razvidno v že kar sezonskem sledenju špicam mednarodne arhitekturne mode.

Visoka kultura vs. haute couture

Plakat Evolution Tree - zakaj rabimo šolo za oblikovanje iz leta 1984 (avtorji Janez Koželj, Miljenko Licul, Saša Machtig, Ranko Novak) priča o skupnem izvoru slovenske arhitekture in oblikovanja v osemdesetih, medtem ko retrospektivni katalog Studia Znak 12 let pozneje zanika oz. pozablja na to dediščino. Oblikovanje (design) se je osvobodilo, postalo kozmopolitsko, medtem ko je arhitektura poskušala in delno še poskuša vztrajati pri tektonskih principih in povezanosti z lokalnim. Sredina devetdesetih pa je prinesla premike tudi v arhitekturo.

Arhitektura kot vrh popularne kulture

Tudi arhitektura se po logiki razmer bliža statusu tržnega artikla in njene strategije se približujejo marketinškim. Sestavljajo jih design in kreiranje simboličnih podob za nove trende potrošnje in življenjskih stilov. Ustvarjajo identitete, s katerimi se lahko identificirajo - ne eksperti, ne kritiki, pač pa stranke oz. naročniki. V tej optiki so vsi, ki se držijo drugačnih idealov, nepoboljšljivi idealisti in za časom. Njihovo delo naj bi bil akademizem, ki z realnostjo nima tesne zveze.

Arhitektura dražljaja pa sledi logiki in ritmu kratkoživih mod. Celo upor proti temu lahko postane zadnji krik mode.

Novo obdobje, ki se je najprej uveljavilo pri interierjih, bi lahko imenovali arhitektura generacije X. Spomnimo se lokalov Orto bar, Nostalgija, True bar in drugih. Ta smer, ki so jo v veliki meri pričeli oblikovalci, nima več nič opraviti z linijo Plečnik - Podrecca, ki je obvladovala interier osemdesetih in še vedno obvladuje velik del slovenske arhitekture, niti s ponovno naslonitvijo na arhitekturo Ravnikarjeve šole, ki je v teku pri generaciji '68 in njenih satelitih. Visoka in popularna kultura se mešata, spajata in nastaja nekaj novega, kar je s klasičnim instrumentarijem težko zajeti. Pomeni se spreminjajo, zapeljevanje je ključni koncept te izgube ločnice med visoko in nizko kulturo.

Ambicija te arhitekture je odreči se odgovornostim, ki jih danes arhitektura ne more več uspešno nositi, in iz te novopridobljene svobode iztržiti čim več. Zanjo je značilen zavestno površinski, sentimentalno naravnan, videoclip pristop, s ciljem hitrega in direktnega učinka, yuppie namesto hippie; zanika kakršnokoli kulturnozgodovinsko pogojenost (Koolhaas: surfanje na arhitekturnem valu).

Perspektivni arhitekturni par Sadar in Vuga je pristop, ki arhitekturo pojmuje kot marketinški instrument, prenesel v visoko arhitekturo. S prvo realizacijo, ki je v teku, in s serijo projektov postavlja paradigmo operativnosti v ospredje - gre za korporativno arhitekturo z umetniškim backgroundom. Značilno je, da je ta prelom v osnovi stilističen in ostaja znotraj postmodernistične paradigme, kot kaže tudi v tej številki predstavljena realizacija avtosalona v Mariboru, ki se približuje temu trendu.

Arhitektura kot kultura

Generacija '68 je naredila logično potezo - navezala se je spet na “izgubljeno” kontinuiteto arhitekture 60., se pravi, vrnila se je k Ravnikarju in arhitekturi pozne moderne. Tako je ostala znotraj koncepta racionalizma oziroma v tistem polju, ki ga je Frampton približno opredelil s pojmom kritični regionalizem ter bolj natančno in aktualno s pojmom tektonska kultura. To naslonitev na tradicijo je razširila s tistim delom aktualne arhitekturne razprave, ki združuje konstruktibilno linijo moderne arhitekture in minimalizem kot stil v umetnosti. Namesto postmodernega atrija ali dekonstruktivističnega interierja je trend novi objektivizem, sprejemljivost za redukcijo in oblikovno enostavnost, kot napoved za konec tisočletja.

Ta smer je najizrazitejša v arhitekturi Jurija Kobeta, pri novi šoli za medicinske sestre, pa tudi pri mnogih drugih aktualnih projektih in realizacijah, npr. pri graškem bloku Janeza Koželja, ki ga prav tako predstavljamo v tej številki. Generacija, ki je študirala v sedemdesetih in zgodnjih osemdesetih, je večinoma na podobnih pozicijah, vezana tako na generacijo '68 kot na mednarodne vzore, med katerimi prednjačijo tisti iz sosednjih okolij.

Ta arhitektura se je svetu predstavila z odmevnimi razstavami v devetdesetih, kot so bile Slovenska arhitektura - od konteksta do detajla, Sodobna slovenska arhitektura, Alpe Adria - arhitekturne paralele, Anticipacije in druge. Razstava Zmerni optimizem je lansirala generacijo, ki je začela graditi sredi devetdesetih in ki prav tako sledi opisanim arhitekturnim usmeritvam.

Arhitekturni svet najmlajših generacij se giblje znotraj podobnih opredelitev. Kvalitetnejši del je bolj samosvoj, po drugi strani pa so njegovi vzgibi in obzorje širši. Za srednjo pa tudi za mlajše generacije je še vedno značilna zavidljiva zmožnost sintetiziranja tujih vplivov in prej opisane tradicije. Nasploh je razpon pozicij, tudi znotraj kvalitetnega vrha, širok in razpet - kar je po mojem bistvena dilema današnjega časa - med pristajanje na logiko amerikanizirane globalne učinkovitosti in pa rezistenco, kulturno in intelektualistično pozicijo, ki si prizadeva ohraniti kritično distanco do “ponorelega sveta” ali krasnega novega sveta trga in računice.

Kljub splošnemu mrtvilu je vendarle mogoče zaznati znake postopnega preporajanja arhitekturne klime. Ob cvetoči kulturni izmenjavi s svetom, galerijski in pogojno tudi publicistični dejavnosti, velikem številu ambicioznih mladih (in starejših) arhitektov manjka le, da bi se to vrenje izrazilo v večjem številu uspelih realizacij in v splošnem dvigu kvalitete povprečja zgrajenega.

Odločilne za slovensko arhitekturo v prihodnjih letih bodo iste specifične zgodovinske okoliščine kot za predhodna obdobja, ki pa se v različnih časih različno izražajo; na eni strani predvsem bogata arhitekturna tradicija, ki jo poosebljajo močne osebnosti, obstoj arhitekturne fakultete in številčna moč arhitektskega stanu, na drugi pa politična volja trenutne oblasti, da stimulira (ali ne) rast kulture grajenega okolja in s tem položaj arhitekture v družbi. Vsekakor obstaja realno upanje, da bo splet tradicije in transferja ustvarjalnih idej, servisiran z bolj “komunalno” naravnano politiko, kot je trenutna, spet spodbudil nekoliko zamrlo “arhitekturno avro” dežele na južni strani Alp.

Še o vsebini številke

Okolje discipline obravnavajo teoretski teksti, ki so v tej konstelaciji bistveni, kot napotuje že podnaslov “revija za teorijo in kritiko arhitekture”. Razmišljanja o arhitekturi nas arhitektov in arhitekturnih teoretikov so laična po definiciji in v funkciji razlage projekta ali pa razjasnjevanja njegovih vzgibov. Filozofske tekste, ki so eno od temeljnih izhodišč naših razmišljanj, ponavadi interpretiramo dokaj poljubno, citiramo citate in podobno. Da bi se vrnili k izvorni ideji grajenja in gradnje nasploh, uvajamo novo rubriko “Grajenje kot miselni problem”, ki naj bi prinašala filozofske tekste o idejnih temeljih gradnje. Za začetek objavljamo Heideggrov tekst Grajenje, prebivanje, mišljenje v prevodu Aleša Košarja.

Arhitektura je (bila) predvsem javna disciplina. Z genezo javnega prostora sodobnosti se ukvarja tekst Petra Šenka in Zale Volčič. Magistrska naloga Ilke Čerpes raziskuje strukturni model v urbanizmu. Tekst prof. Aleša Vodopivca o Donaldu Juddu pa kondenzira stališče arhitekture kot umetnosti in ontologije.

Zgodovina arhitekture polpretekle dobe je stalna tema v naši reviji. Tokrat objavljamo študijo industrijske arhitekture in urbanizma Kidričevega, ki jo je pripravila umetnostna zgodovinarka Sonja Ifko.

Arhitekturne realizacije so predstavljene v tematskih sklopih: dve šoli - srednja medicinska šola v Ljubljani Jurija Kobeta in osnovna šola v Vipavskem Križu Marka Lavrenčiča, stanovanjski blok v Gradcu v Avstriji Janeza Koželja in dve stavbi s komercialno vsebino - trgovsko poslovni center v Ljubljani Petre Paškulin in avtosalon v Mariboru Nandeta Korpnika. V naslednji številki bomo nadaljevali predstavljanje aktualne arhitekturne produkcije pri nas in pri sosedih.

V zadnjih letih je Vorarlberg v Avstriji eno najrazvitejših arhitekturnih okolij. Z intervjujem z arhitektom Dietmarjem Eberlejem, lanskim gostom Piranskih dnevov, ter nekaterimi projekti ateljeja Baumschlager - Eberle predstavljamo del te, tudi v evropskem merilu vse bolj pomembne produkcije.

editorial

The current issue of AB deals mainly with the positioning and assessment of contemporary Slovene architecture. Where is Slovene architecture to be found, what is its potential, what are its aspirations, and what does want to avoid? What are its low points and what are its highlights? What differentiates it from architecture in other environments, and what defense mechanisms does it have to deal with the overwhelming threat of globalisation?

To begin with, it has to be pointed out that Slovene architecture of the 1990s is not an easily recognisable or a self-contained, self-sufficient phenomenon, that is, a phenomenon which would be capable of generating its identity solely by and from itself. Nonetheless, its identity lends itself to a reconstruction since it as a reflex of preceding periods in the development of Slovene architecture, and a reflex of contemporary phenomena in the wider (i.e. the international) context.

This editorial, the selection of texts and the architectural projects discussed in this volume reflect our view of Slovene architecture. This view, although embedded within a pluralist and relativistic framework that defines our time, can be defended or contested, but at the same time it does open a debate. It is our belief that architects could benefit enormously if they could place more emphasis on reflection, and would more often confront each other within the framework of an open professional debate. This would certainly bring to light problems that we are all dealing with on a regular basis. At the same time, open-mindedness would enable us to avoid repetition ad nauseaum, the reinvention of the wheel as it were, and would also prevent many frictions or conflicting situations. Far too frequently misunderstandings are a result of poor familiarity with the real state of affairs.

The current state of affairs, however, is far from ideal. Having said that, the ability to recognise and spot the problems is a good starting point for finding solutions. This is why it is imperative for us architects to analyse the situation continually, assess and reassess it, and look for common ground and converging ideas of continuity, no matter how vague they may appear at first. The least we could do is to form our own opinions. And this is exactly what we suggest you do.

I. Foundations

In any environment, the architectural situation is attached to the outside world and history by a myriad of thin threads. Some of them are strong and eternal, whereas some are thin and weak, but nevertheless of great importance for our understanding of the entire situation. Slovene architecture of the 20th century is clearly most indebted to Semper's ideas that link the 19th century with the beginning of the 20th century, and reach from Germany, France, Switzerland to Vienna of the imperial period. Wagner, who was Semper's follower par excellence, educated Plečnik. Until very recently, Plečnik had been much underrated, although he has now become one the key references in the history of European architecture in the first half of the 20th century (cf. F. Dal Co in the interview, published in AA, 1997).

The universe of Slovene architecture has always been structured as a hierarchic pyramid, and there are almost no exceptions to this rule. God, Our Father on the top - Plečnik. Beneath him, Jesus Christ - Ravnikar. Saints surround the two; the beatified soon follow, and finally a large group of the redeemed. There is no Hell in sight! In Slovene architecture, the tradition of continuity is very strong. Fathers and grandfathers loom large as figures of authority even today. Architects respect the succession of generations and worship tradition. The culture of making clean breaks with the past, which is so typical of modern architecture in France and Germany, never developed in Slovenia. A patricide is a necessary prerequisite in order to begin a revolution. However, in Slovenia these acts of breakaway, both Ravnikar's against Plečnik, and Ravnikar's disciples' against their master, rather took the form of adolescent rebellions than patricides. Their final outcome was inevitably to return to old positions.

II. The best years...

World War II wiped away the prosperous bourgeois culture of the past. It brought about social realism instead of the opposition between regionalism and Plečnik's architecture perenis on one hand, and the cosmopolitan influences of Le Corbusier, and Vienna and Prague modernism on the other. However, social realism soon began to crack. The mid-1960s were an important turning point, in so far that early liberalism and economic prosperity gave architecture a position which differed from the one architecture was offered by the centralised one-party state. Pre-war architectural culture and knowledge gradually won new recognition. It was both the Semper-Wagner-Plečnik tradition (and Loos' lesson, as its contrast) and contemporary Western European architecture that found their worthy interpret in the architecture of the so-called Ravnikar school. (This topic is dealt with thoroughly in the special issue of AB “Architecture of the 1960s”.) Ravnikar succeeded in maintaining as well as in expanding and updating the web he had inherited from Plečnik. As far as the generation of modern architects is concerned, Asplund and Leverentz, Aalto, L. Kahn are some of the intellectuals in the club that Ravnikar is an outstanding member too. His cemetery on the island of Rab (1953), the municipal building in Kranj (1958-60), the residential complex Ferantov vrt (1967-73), the shopping and office blocks complex in Revolution Square in Ljubljana (1961-1974), to name but a few of his projects, rank among the outstanding masterpieces of European architecture. Their status is achieved through Ravnikar's unique attitude towards the continuity of the urban space, tradition and modernity (F. Achleitner). Ravnikar and his contemporaries, together with many talented generations of his students (Bonča, Sever, Mihelič, Kristl, Križaj, Jugovec, Jože Koželj, Lajovic, Mušič) managed to establish a contact with the cutting edge of international architecture. This was partly due to the inspiration provided by English and Scandinavian models.

III. Autonomy of the discipline

Another turning point was the emergence of postmodernism, the period which has lasted until the present. The state, as a collective enlightened client, started to withdraw so that the architects found themselves in a vacuum. They lost their privileged position at the side of the ruler, while new conditions for the cultural role of architecture had not yet been established. A crisis of values was the logical consequence; abandoning old values did not automatically bring about new ones. The 1980s were the decade dominated by the debris of modernism. Few fine achievements from that time which are characterised by vulgar versions of postmodernism and pluralism, are truly just an echo of the past, a dying period of monumental buildings, and are not the genuine heralds of the new. Plečnik's and Ravnikar's imperial architecture of “grands projects” was definitely over, at least for many years to come.

However, the end of the 1970's was marked by the first appearance of a new generation, the so-called “ab - generation”, with Vojteh Ravnikar, Janez Koželj, Aleš Vodopivec and Jurij Kobe as its most prominent representatives. This generation, which could also be called the '68 generation, today occupies top positions in the discipline. In many ways these architects set the pace of Slovene contemporary architecture. This is achieved by their own projects and realisations, as well as through their teaching positions at the Ljubljana School of Architecture. The point of departure for this generation can be found in contextualism or rationalism. Theirs is a heavy, regular, theoretical architecture based on the concept of genius loci and the aesthetics of the square. It soon, however, reached beyond its rather restricted initial starting points, so that nowadays it occupies the position on the ramparts of the Central European regional rationalism. In this it shares many characteristics of high-quality architecture in other Central European countries.

IV. End of the century

At the end of this millennium, Slovenia is now an independent sovereign country. Consequently, architect now face different opportunities and new challenges. Also the general circumstances of our profession have changed, and have in many respects become much harsher. To begin with, CAD, that is the use of computers in all aspects of architectural output, is now taken almost for granted. Secondly, market-governed economy inevitably gave rise to market-oriented logic in architecture. This resulted in deregulation and deprivation of the role of the architect, so that in the building process profit-making mentality is given priority. As a result, the principle of eternal values and the representation of the community in architecture, has been weakened, and replaced by unimaginative monotony, insensitivity, narrowness and lack of ambition. Even the ethics of our profession has not remained unscathed as a result of the new circumstances.

The current situation seems, at least from an insider 's point of view, dispersed and stratified in an unprecedented way. Variegation, even arbitrariness, have now become key qualities, which means that adjacent architectural phenomena are being build from totally opposing concepts. We should not make concessions for the blatant banality and vulgarity of suburban space and the transformation of rural areas that are now in progress. The position of architecture in the second half of the 1990's is anything but easy, in particular for the younger generations of architects. In this post-socialist period of transition, economic liberalism is given priority over highly systematic planning, and the role of the state is given precedence over individualism. As a result, architects face a difficult task in their attempt to redefine the architectural profession and to establish the cultural significance of our discipline. To work for “the new rich” - for these are the people that have money, but do not have houses - is for many a frustrating experience. The same goes when working for profit-oriented engineering companies and banks. However, we are left no choice; we are not to shy away from a daunting task to change the world through architecture. We should assume more responsibility so that architecture will regain its applicability and indispensability. In addition, we should strive to secure for architecture the best position possible in a society which is being built anew.

To reflect on leading trends in current Slovene architecture is a tricky task. It seems reasonable only in the case when such a reflection is put into the context of a historical perspective and contemporary international situation. A generation- specific position is no longer an option. Architectural poetics have become more personal or bound to wider (i.e. international) trends. In general, it seems that there is no single dominating tendency, rival groups do not exist. Admittedly, there exist so-called “cliques” and their specific areas of influence converge around certain individuals, magazines, prominent representatives of different generations, or even around regional centres. Still, “the struggle of ideas” is almost but defunct. The consequences are twofold. The architects now have more time for their fundamental activity, architecture, while on the other hand they have become more self-complacent, performing routine tasks and lack any interest in the sublime. Ultimately, to reflect on current trends inevitably brings us to reflect on the eternal truths of architecture.

It is undisputed that foreign models have more impact on the Slovene situation than the other way round. It is taken for granted that the world has become “a global village”, which is reaffirmed in following blindly top architectural fashion as each season changes.

High culture vs. haute couture

The poster “Evolution Tree - why do we need a design college”, which was made in 1984 by Janez Koželj, Miljenko Licul, Saša Mächtig and Ranko Novak is a testimony to the common origin of Slovene architecture and design in the 1980s. Conversely, the comprehensive catalogue of Studio Znak which was produced 12 years later denies and ignores the common inheritance. Designing has become liberated and cosmopolitan, whereas architecture has always insisted on tectonic principles and its close ties with the locality. The mid-1990s, however, have seen certain significant shifts also in architecture.

Architecture as pinnacle of popular culture

Due to the logic of circumstances, architecture has acquired the status of a commodity. Similarly, its strategies resemble those of the advertising industry. These strategies mainly consist of the design and creation of symbolic images for new trends in consumer culture and new lifestyles. Architects create new identities not for the experts, but so that the clients (those who have commissioned them) have no difficulty in identifying with them. According to this mentality, architects that stick to different ideals are labelled as incorrigible romantics and they soon become entirely out of date. They are criticised to be working in the nebulous realm of the academic lacking any connection with the reality.

The architecture of the stimulus follows the logic and pace of short-lived fashionable trends. Even to revolt against it can be nothing but the latest fashion fad.

As far as interior decoration is concerned, the latest trends that dominate it could be called the architecture of Generation X. Let us remember some popular hangouts in Ljubljana, such as Orto bar, Nostalgija or True bar. They clearly follow a trend that was first started by designers, and has absolutely nothing in common with the Plečnik-Podrecca tradition which was so influential for interior decoration in the 1980s (and in many aspects still dominates a large proportion of Slovene architecture). Nor does it take its inspiration in the architecture of Ravnikar and his disciples, which looms large in the architecture of the '68 generation. Here we find blending of high and low culture, their ammalgamation generates a new entity that hardly lends itself to conventional interpretation. New shades of meaning are acquired, and temptation is a key concept in the loss of a clear dividing line between high and low culture.

This architecture aspires to abandon those responsibilities that architecture can no longer bear. It also intends to capitalise as much as possible from this new found freedom. It is characterised by conscious superficiality and sentimentality, a videoclip approach aiming to create powerful and direct impact (no longer hippie but yuppie), and a denial of any conditioning provided by cultural history (cf. Koolhaas: surfing the architectural wave).

In the recent work by a promising architectural partnership of Sadar and Vuga who conceptualise architecture as a marketing instrument, this understanding has found its way into high architecture. Their first realisation (currently under construction) and a series of their project emphasise an operational paradigm. This results in corporate architecture with art background. It is very significant though, that here we are dealing with a stylistic break, which remains firmly rooted within the postmodern paradigm. The realisation of a car showroom in Maribor that is discussed in this issue comes very close to such trends.

Architecture as culture

The '68 generation has made a logical step - in their references to the lost continuity of the 1960s architecture - when they turned back to Ravnikar and the architecture of late modernity. By doing so, it has remained within the boundaries of rationalism, that is, within that field that Frampton vaguely defined as critical regionalism. More accurately it could be called tectonic culture. In their references to tradition, this generation has enriched the current architectural debate by introducing potential constructive strain of modern architecture with the minimalist stylistic features found in art.

A postmodern patio or a deconstructed interior are no longer current trends. What heralds the new millennium is new objectivism and the ability to be reduced and simplified.

The features mentioned above are most evident in the work of Jurij Kobe, in particular in his design of the secondary school for nurses in Ljubljana. Similarly, they are to be found in several other recent project and realisations, for example in the block of flats built in Graz by Janez Koželj. Both of these are dealt with in this issue.

Similar preferences are shared by the generation of architects who studied in the 1970s and 1980s. They often seek inspiration from the '68 generation, but they also refer to international influences. Among the latter, those that are found in countries neighbouring Slovenia prevail. In the 1990s, the architecture of this area has been a topic of many influential exhibitions, such as “Slovene Architecture - From Context To Detail”, “Contemporary Slovene Architecture”, “Alps-Adria - Architectural Parallels”, “Anticipation”. It was the “Modest Optimism” exhibition that launched a generation who began construction in the mid-1990s and also follows the architectural trends mentioned above.

The architecture of the youngest generation is positioned within similar parameters. Their best work is even more idiosyncratic, whereas on the other hand their horizons and aspirations are distinctly wider. Middle and older generations of architects are still characterised by their incredible ability to synthesize foreign influences and traditions. Generally speaking, we are dealing with a very broad and varied range of positions, even among the top brass. In my opinion, this represents a crucial dilemma of our time - that is, to be torn between the acceptance of the logic of Americanised global efficiency or to resist it, and maintain a cultural and intellectual position which aims at keeping a critical distance towards the “madding crowd” or the “brave new world” of market and calculations.

In spite of this strong sense of lethargy we can detect some promising symptoms of gradual recovery of a constructive architectural atmosphere. Many ambitious architects, young and old, can now participate in the rich cultural exchange with the world, attend inspiring exhibitions and benefit from many architectural periodicals. What we still lack, though, is to see this vibrancy materialised in an increased number of realisations and in a better quality of average architecture.

For the future years of Slovene architecture, the same historical circumstances will be decisive as they were for the previous periods. Admittedly, they are expressed differently in different periods. The following cannot be disputed: Slovenia has a rich architectural tradition embodied in strong personalities, an indigenous school of architecture, and many members of the architectural profession. On the other hand, it is up to the political will of current governments to dis/encourage the flourishing of our built-up environment and the position of architecture within Slovene society. What remains is genuine hope that the intertwining of tradition and creative ideas will be supported by a more “communally”-orientated politics than it is the case now. It is hoped that this will recover some of the shine of the rather bland architectural aura of the country on the sunny side of the Alps.

Contents of this issue

According to the juxtaposition in the subtitle of AB (a magazine for architectural theory and criticism), it is of great importance to publish text dealing with the context of our discipline. However, whenever architects and architectural theoreticians discuss architecture, they are not primarily theoretical. They rather aim to explain or to clarify the basic premises of a project. No wonder then that philosophical texts that form one of the basic background references for our thinking are usually interpreted very arbitrarily, so that quotes are quoted, etc. In order to be redirected to the original sources of thinking about building and buildings in general, this issue introduces a new section entitled “building as a philosophical problem”. It is an attempt to bring to our readers fundamental philosophical texts on philosophical foundations of building. The series begins with Heidegger's text “Bauen, Wohnen, Denken” translated into Slovene by Aleš Košar.

On a different note, architecture has always been primarily a public discipline. Therefore we present a text that examines the genesis of the contemporary public sphere, co-written by Peter Šenk and Zala Volčič. The published M.A. thesis by Ilka Čerpes looks into a structural model in urbanism. Similarly, the text on Donald Judd by Aleš Vodopivec provides a very condensed view of architecture as art and ontology.

As it has now become customary in AB, the history of architecture looms large in the current issue also. Sonja Ifko, an art historian, takes a detailed look in the history of industrial architecture and urban planning in Kidričevo.

The discussion of architectural realisations is divided into three sections. First, two schools are dealt with, a secondary school for nurses in Ljubljana by Jurij Kobe and a primary school in Vipavski križ by Marko Lavrenčič. Secondly, we turn to a block of flats in Graz, Austria, built by Janez Koželj, and finally we look at two commercial buildings, a shopping and office block in Ljubljana by Petra Paškulin, and a car showroom in Maribor by Nande Korpnik. The series of articles on current architectural production in Slovenia and in our neighbouring countries will continue also in the next issue of ab.

As far as the Austrian context is concerned, Vorarlberg has been at the cutting edge of architectural development in recent years. We bring you an interview with Dietmar Eberle who attended last year's Days of Architecture symposium in Piran. It serves as an introduction to this remarkable production which is gaining importance throughout Europe. To complement the interview, several projects built by Baumschlager-Eberle are described.