številka / volume 159-160
junij / june 2003
letnik / anno XXXIII
šole
schools
vsebina številke
table of contents
Miha Dešman, Jurij Kobe Uvodnik
Editorial
Selcuk Avci Krila Želja
Wings of Desire
Miloš Flojrančič Kočevski Medved
Uroš Lobnik Kubus
The Cube - High School of Medicine, Maribor
Bojana Sovič V našem prostoru ne smeš postati specialist
Uroš Lobnik Izkušnja ploskve in detalja
Jurij Kobe Osnovna šola Hinka Smrekarja
Boris Briški Osnovne šole Emila Navinška
Miha Dešman, Andrej Hrausky Šola naj bo svetlobi odprt in gibanju predan prostor...
abforum
Jana Valenčič Arhitektura - adut šolske vlade
Lara Slivnik Kako je nastala kristalna palača
Herman Meyer Poznaš to hišo?
Johann Wolfgang Goethe Stavbeništvo
uvodnik

Šola ima za večino ljudi pomembno mesto v spominu. Kdo se ne spominja strogosti nekaterih učiteljev, vonja šolskega stopnišča, pa prve zaljubljenosti v sošolko ali učitelja. Mene še vedno spremljajo visoka težka vrata v gornjegrajsko, za časa Avstroogrske zgrajeno osnovno šolo, na katerih je bila kljuka tako visoko, da si se moral dvigniti na prste, da si jo dosegel. Sledil je doprsni kip Frana Kocbeka v veži, ki je poosebljal strogost in avtoriteto. Ta spomin mi še vedno vzbuja občutek tesnobe, pa tudi vzvišenosti, trdnosti, tradicije. Institucionalne stavbe, ki jih s to ali drugimi vsebinami srečujemo na vsem območju nekdanje monarhije, zastopajo moč oblasti, ki skrbi za izobrazbo, red in dobrobit prebivalstva. Šole, sodišča, vojašnice, zapori, vladne palače - vse te stavbe še danes bistveno določajo urbano in monumentalno podobo naših mest in krajev. Po drugi strani pa nekatere šolske stavbe, ki sem jih obiskal kot arhitekt, doma in na tujem, zasedajo najvišje pozicije v mojem idealnem arhitekturnem kozmosu odprte, demokratične arhitekture. Paviljonske zasnove z atriji, prežemanje notranjega z zunanjim prostorom, hodniki, ki to niso, pač pa so živahni in razgibani urbani prostori, razredi, odprti v naravo, obilje zraka, dnevne svetlobe, prijetnih materialov in barv. Seveda ne morem mimo šol Arneja Jacobsena, Hermana Hertzbergerja, številnih šol v Avstriji, Švici, na Portugalskem in drugod. Pri nas so visoko na mojem seznamu šolske stavbe Fźrsta v Stražišču in Kristla v Kranju, med novejšimi pa Kobeta v Novem mestu, Zadravca na Ptuju, Vozličev v Višnji gori in seveda avtorske skupine Bevk, Dodd, Glažar, Kučan, Perović in Vehovar v Kočevju.

Norma ali inovacija

Šolska stavba je arhitektura. Njen program izhaja iz doktrine, oblika pa tudi iz arhitekturne ideje.

Historiat gradnje slovenskih šol je razpet v glavnem med dva modela. Prvi, ki je mnogo bolj razširjen, je usmerjen v tipizacijo. Poznamo tipske avstroogrske šole, tipske brezkoridorne šole, tipske šole, zgrajene iz samoprispevka, tipske razrede, normative. Ta model je utemeljen na optimalizaciji, ki je enkrat prostorska, drugič pedagoška, tretjič ekonomska.

Drugi model je avtorski, ki omogoča tudi arhitekturno raziskovanje. Seveda oba modela prehajata drug v drugega. Najboljše šole so tiste, kjer je doseženo ravnotežje med obema, med normo in inovacijo. To pa je definicija, ki velja za vsako dobro arhitekturo. Zato je logično, da so najboljše šole gradili najboljši arhitekti. V svetu, pa tudi pri nas, je arhitektura šol paradna arhitekturna tema. Družbena odločitev za kvalitetno arhitekturo bi naj poskrbela, skupaj s šolsko administracijo in strokovno zbornico, da bi v prihodnje čim več šol gradili dobri arhitekti. Institucija javnega natečaja je demokratična pot do tega cilja.

Šola kot okvir

Sprašujem se, kakšna bi morala biti šola danes, da bi uspešno oblikovala, osvobajala, motivirala, dajala inspiracijo, spodbujala kreativnost tako pri učencih kot učiteljih? Odgovor ni lahek, predvsem pa ni enoznačen. Šola je prostor posredovanja družbenih vrednot novim generacijam. Otroci v šoli ne pridobijo le znanja, ampak se učijo in privajajo na življenje v širši skupnosti, v družbi. Ob tem se vzpostavijo kot svobodne in samostojne osebnosti. Zgradijo svoj odnos do sveta, prostora, kulture in lepote. Šola je materializacija, fizični okvir doktrine in filozofije učenja, vzgoje in izobraževanja. Kreativni potencial te zares izjemne naloge, po simbolnem in dejanskem pomenu ene od primarnih družbenih nalog, se lahko realizira le v sodelovanju med arhitekti in šolniki. Oboji lahko odkrivamo nove možnosti za svoje delo in razvoj v tej izmenjavi. Dobra šola je tista, pri kateri stopita pedagoška doktrina in prisila bolj v ozadje, kjer je bolj pomemben ustvarjalen milje. Ta milje pa je bistveno povezan s kvaliteto okvira, ambienta, prostora... Arhitektura oblikuje ta okvir, in to tiho, v ozadju! Pa to še ni vse. Učenje kulture prostora, ambienta, tudi s pomočjo okvira učenja - šolske stavbe - se posledično širi v celotno družbo, s tem, da se učenec v učnem procesu preko šolske stavbe spozna z arhitekturo ter se jo nauči dojemati in ceniti.

Modernost ali tradicija

Po doktrini moderne je šola stroj za izobraževanje. Šole pa niso samo "tovarne znanja", so tudi živi urbani prostori, zato morajo biti zasnovane z občutkom za urbane in socialne ambiente. Šola ima lahko odločilno vlogo v urbanem prostoru kraja, zlasti v manjših krajih, kjer združuje knjižnico, telovadnico, prireditveni in razstavni prostor, in je odločilnega pomena za intelektualno, športno ter za družbeno življenje nasploh. Pa to ne velja le za manjše kraje, ampak tudi za večje, za stare enako kot za nove.

Radikalna moderna arhitektura je povečini všeč arhitektom, redkeje pa tudi naročnikom in uporabnikom. Eden od vzrokov za to je, da so uporabniki redko vključeni v proces nastajanja projekta. Kritika novih šol je velikokrat povezana s pragmatičnimi pomanjkljivostmi, za katere arhitekt ponavadi niti ne more biti v celoti odgovoren: da se ne da zatemniti avle za projekcije, da so preozki hodniki ali da je premalo dekliških sanitarij. Drug, prav tako pogost problem je izredno nizka "arhitekturna pismenost" povprečnega uporabnika. Ljudje nagonsko ne zaupajo moderni arhitekturi. Posebej velika je odgovornost pedagogov, saj se njihovi predsodki in neznanje pogosto prenašajo na mlade generacije.

Doktrina ali eksperiment

Tipologija šole je odvisna od številnih faktorjev. Ali stoji šola v mestu ali vasi, v centru ali naravi, ali gre za osnovno, srednjo ali visoko šolo, od finančnih zmožnosti itd. Še najbolj pa je odvisna od vsakokratne družbene realnosti, njene razvitosti ali zaostalosti, odprtosti ali ksenofobičnosti. Šolski prostor po moje ne sme biti na konzervativni strani družbenega spektra, usmerjen mora biti v razvoj, izkoriščati mora nove tehnološke in konceptualne možnosti, odprt mora biti izzivom časa. Danes je družbena situacija izrazito razpršena in individualizirana. Tudi šola mora zagotavljati individualnost in decentralizacijo. Decentralizacija učenja omogoča fizično komunikacijo, med generacijami, med socialnimi sloji, med spoli. To vlogo šole kot socialnega kondenzatorja je pomembno ohraniti in nadgraditi. Šolska stavba naj pri učencih zbuja občutek pripadnosti, izboljšuje naj komunikacijo med učitelji in učenci, in to zlasti s tem, da ponudi vrsto prostorov za interakcije, da omogoča neformalne stike, da dopušča tudi nepredvidljivo.

Danes je informacijska družba realnost sveta, pri mladih generacijah še posebej. Šola ne sme ostati ob strani, aktivno mora graditi ta prihodnji svet. Šola prihodnosti bo interaktivno okolje, v katerem se bodo na kompleksen in tehnološko napreden način reševala vprašanja, ki se postavljajo že danes. To so vprašanja, ki so povezana z družbo prihodnosti, ki jo bodo še bolj kot današnjo določali pojmi kot so: globalna komunikacija, medijska realnost, tehnologija, kompjuterizacija, futuristika. To so tudi vprašanja, povezana z varnostjo, nadzorom in mentalnim zdravjem družbe. Seveda pa so pomembna tudi vprašanja ekonomičnosti, racionalnosti ter realnih možnosti. Zavedati se moramo, da varčnost in gospodarnost nista nujno v nasprotju z arhitekturno kvaliteto.

Avtoritarnost ali demokratičnost

Šolske stavbe so torej vedno bile in so še danes tudi odraz družbene realnosti. V avtoritarnih časih se grade bolj avtoritarne šole, v bolj sproščenih časih bolj demokratične. V Sloveniji je šla gradnja šol v zadnjih petdesetih letih samosvojo, večkrat vijugasto pot, ki pa je dala nekaj arhitekturnih spomenikov najvišje vrednosti. Že pred vojno, pa tudi v petdesetih in šestdesetih so arhitekti uspeli graditi liberalne, odprte, arhitekturno ambiciozne šole. Z zaostrovanjem gospodarske in politične situacije, pa tudi s splošno spremenjeno družbeno klimo v t.i. obdobju krize, ki je trajalo do propada Jugoslavije, pa se je v sedemdesetih situacija spremenila na slabše. Šole so se gradile na podlagi restriktivnih normativov. Realizirali so se projekti, ki so bili in so še po prostorskih kvalitetah in tehnični opremljenosti daleč za možnostmi in potrebami časa.

V ospredje so pričele prodirati ideološke teme. Celodnevna šola, ki naj bi otroke ločila od staršev, pa usmerjeno izobraževanje in druge predvsem v produkt usmerjene floskule. Prisiljena večnamembnost, prostorska omejenost, pomanjkanje individualnosti. Pedagogika je bila v resni krizi, in z njo tudi gradnja šol. To stanje je delno podaljšano tudi v današnji čas, le da je zdaj za njim drugačno ozadje. Ozadje potrošniške mentalitete in prevlade popularne kulture, ko lahko trenutne politične ali personalne razmere, npr. v neki občini ali na čelu šole povzročijo uničevanje obstoječih kvalitetnih šol ali pa gradnjo novih monstrumov.

Je pa res, da se po osamosvojitvi situacija popravlja, čeprav zelo počasi. Premišljena in dolgoročna politika družbe in šolskih oblasti vsaj v segmentih in fragmentih daje pomembne rezultate, tudi na področju arhitekture. Ponovno se uveljavljajo arhitekturni natečaji. Razveseljivo je, da so naročila projektov za veliko večino šolskih stavb, ki so predstavljene v tej številki, izšla prav iz arhitekturnih natečajev.

Zaključek

Še to. Vsem naročnikom in bralcem, še posebej pa avtorjem se opravičujemo, ker je ta številka izšla s krepko zamudo. Zamude je kriv nesrečen splet slučajev in birokratskih ovinkov, zaradi česar je v prvi polovici letošnjega leta popolnoma zastalo financiranje revije in smo bili prisiljeni čakati na sredstva z dvema popolnoma pripravljenima tematskima številkama. Prva je sedaj končno pred vami, druga bo izšla kasneje jeseni. Preživeli smo krizo in prepričani smo, da smo se iz nje tudi marsikaj naučili in zato lahko v prihodnost gledamo z večjim optimizmom, načrti in pričakovanji.

Miha Dešman

arhitektura šole - pouk o tem, kaj in kje arhitektura je

"Seveda pa je, odličnik moj, za slavo, ki so si jo mogočni vladarji pridobili s tolikimi zmagami in triumfi, zelo pomembno, da se mladi duhovi ne vzgajajo opevati njihove podvige med štirimi stenami zasebnih hiš, ampak pred očmi vsega mesta. In kaj nam je tukaj bolj na očeh kakor to menijansko poslopje, ki je tu stalo ravno na poti naših nepremagljivih princev ob njihovem priložnostnem obisku. Da jih je ganil prisrčen sprejem naše mladine, kaže ne le njihova darežljivost, s katero so jo obsuli, ampak tudi pismo, v katerem me pozivajo, naj se posvetim njihovi vzgoji. Kako bodo šele veseli, ko bodo videli to zborišče mladih prenovljeno." Tako Evmenij v 3. stoletju.(*)

Je arhitektura šol eno redkih preostalih polj arhitekturnega prizadevanja, ki še rešuje arhitekturna vprašanja?

Seveda je težko reči, kje se arhitektura pravzaprav začne. Vsekakor pri svojem materialnem začetku, vendar ne vsakem. Vsebovati mora neko pripoved. In ta pripoved se seveda ne konča na fizičnih mejah te materialne osnove in prav tako ne z dotrajanostjo, rušitvijo. Tedaj je arhitektura stvar misli in je material le tisto, kar nosi to misel.

Prav tako ta pripoved nikdar ne nastopa sama na sebi. Vedno se postavlja v nek odnos z najdenim, okolico. Odkrivala naj bi, kar je v kraju, najdenem, že zapisano. Šele takrat je ta zgodba vzpostavljena. Trditev se sliši skoraj kot tavtologija, a vendar si jo kljub temu ponavljamo takrat, ko naletimo na dobro arhitekturo.

Rečemo lahko, da naj bi arhitektura vedno reševala kako vprašanje. In glede na zelo konkretno vprašanje, ki ga postavlja želja po grajenju šole, lahko rečemo, da so le še šole ostale nekako v polju, ki ga arhitektura še lahko obvlada. Po eni strani so šole zaenkrat še imune na modni vrvež, ki zadovoljuje novokomponiranega bogatega naročnika arhitekture cenejšega šoka, enostavnega razumevanja, stripa, ki je tolikokrat popolnoma izgubila stik z resnično človeško potrebo. Po drugi strani pa na široka polja človekovega bivanja, ob tem celo tako osnovna, kot je stanovanje, arhitektura arhitektov sploh nima vpliva ali pač celo arhitektov ne zanima.

Arhitektura šole ima danes po vsem svetu vendarle še vedno srečo, da mora reševati prav te, osnovne potrebe.

Pa če začnemo z uvodnim citatom in nadaljujemo s sprehodom od Galilejeve primitivne katedre, preprostega, iz desk zbitega dvignjenega podija na padovanski univerzi, napravi, ki je pač služila točno in izključno le svojemu namenu; preko socialnih utopistov z njihovimi šolami v različnih falansterah, mimo danes še vedno v marsičem nepreseženih arhitektur Schutte Lyhotzky, ki se je začela ukvarjati z vprašanji socialnih in vzgojnih zgradb pod vodstvom Tessenowa, Strnada...,

zatem, seveda še vedno pod vplivom Bauhausa, tu nekje sledijo tudi naši Navinšek, Štrukelj, Fźrst..., tisti, ki so razmišljali predvsem o tem, kako prostor (šole) čim enostavneje in učinkoviteje organizirati... Zgradbe, ki se nam jih danes sploh ni treba sramovati. Vse je bilo nekako primerno zahtevam funkcije prostora. In kateri hudič je želel, da so se zatem, v boljših časih, pri nas predpisi o prostorih za šole tako prokrustovsko spremenili? Katere denarje smo prihranili? Saj vendar imamo (smo imeli) toliko izkušenj in zgledov!

Ali kot je Jean Nouvel poskušal poudariti v pogovoru z Jeanom Baudrillardom - da se arhitekture uči predvsem od tistih, ki zgradbo (zaklon) še vedno potrebujejo... Kako se navdušuje ob zgradbah ali predmetih, ki so funkcionalni (industrijske zgradbe, dirkalni avto...) in le to želijo biti. Ki ne bremenijo prostora s svojim "arhitekturnim" oblikovanjem.(**) Mogoče tedaj prav zgradbe šol najresnejše kažejo mesto, kje arhitektura je!

Arhitektura šole - pouk o tem, kaj in kje arhitektura je

Gehry v intervjuju za revijo Casabella govori o tem, kako je Winston Churchill stalno ponavljal besede: "Tako kot mi gradimo naše zgradbe, tako te hiše oblikujejo nas." Od tod naprej namreč sledimo nesrečnemu paradoksu - tisto, kar nam je dano, oblikuje našo zavest o tem, kar bi nam moralo biti dano. Torej je to, kar dobimo - tudi že dobro! In tako kot se sama arhitektura ne neha na svojih fizičnih mejah, se tudi samo razmišljanje o posamezni zgradbi ne neha pri razmišljanju o tej zgradbi - kar velja tako za pozitivno kot za negativno, omejujočo smer.

Vstop v šolo vendar pomeni tudi vzgojo v bivalni kulturi, saj je ta pomemben del splošne kulture. Vse to pa se lahko zgodi le skozi jasna predočenja. Zgradba vzgaja tako s celoto, svojo postavitvijo v prostor ali mesto, svojo zasnovo kot z detajlom in opremo. S slednjim mislim predvsem na logično oblikovanje, ki ima vsekakor prednost pred pretirano fantazijskim, ko je jasno, kaj nosi in kaj je nošeno, kaj je močno in kaj šibko, kako je kaj sestavljeno...

arsikdaj z bolečino ugotovimo, da novo zgradbo uporabniki uporabljajo tako, kot so uporabljali prej (svojo) staro. Vendar - arhitektura govori počasi... Hiša učinkuje na obiskovalca, prebivalca sama na sebi, na neverbalni, skoraj nezavedni ravni. Uporabnik često ne ve, kje živi in dela. Kolega (arhitekt) je moral šolskemu kolektivu, ki dela v skoraj 50 let stari šoli, povedati, da živijo in delajo v hiši, ki sicer ni nova, a je kvalitetna. Nato so se šele začeli ozirati po drugih zgradbah te vrste in ugotavljati prednosti svoje.

Arhitektura ima namreč počasno govorico. Njen jezik postane razumljiv počasi, ko njegov glas že skoraj pojame. Sprva ga ne slišimo. Slišimo le vpitje, kričečo formo.

Kljub hitremu začetnemu udarcu deluje počasi. Njene prave prednosti in šibkosti se pokažejo šele s časom in prav tako se sporočila njenega govora o bivanjski kulturi nabirajo nekje poleg (v šoli včasih napetega) vsakdanjika. To pa mnogokrat zaslišimo šele takrat, ko kako hišo, v našem primeru šolo, že zapustimo.

"Kaj naj z učencem, od katerega se ničesar ne naučim!" Te besede modrega učitelja so sprva presenetljive, kmalu pa postanejo, skoraj bi lahko rekli, samoumevne. Šola je dvosmeren proces, tako kot vsako delo. In prav tako je tudi z vsakim načrtovanjem in vsako gradnjo, tudi z gradnjo šole. Delo, najprej na načrtu, in nato spremljanje gradbišča šole, vedno dojemam tudi kot svojo šolo ob delu in v delu.

Kako do večje vraščenosti kulture bivanja v tisto, ki jo imenujemo splošna? Pri nas arhitektura kljub tako velikim nacionalnim adutom, kot je trojica Fabiani, Plečnik in Ravnikar, ki nikoli niso potrebovali državnega denarja za uveljavljanje v tujini, danes še vedno nima mesta, ki ji pripada - mesta enega bistvenih elementov nacionalne kulture, takega, kot ga ima v kulturno razvitem svetu. Kot oblika nacionalne zavesti je k nam arhitektura vstopila praktično šele ob prelomu 19. stoletja, sto let nazaj! Takrat so šele začeli rasti razni domovi, slovenska gledališča in drugo. Ali sta Prešeren in Čop nagovarjala bogatega Smoleta, da bi prispeval in tako sam spodbujal gradnjo kakšnega "arhitekturnega nosilca kulture", ki bi bil "slovenski"? In beseda, literatura ima danes celo pri večini kulturnikov še vedno absolutno prednost. Tu ne govorimo le o povprečnem dnevnem tisku, gre za najvišjo raven slovenskega izobraženega človeka. V Franciji ima lahko vrhunski arhitekt knjižno dolg dialog z vrhunskim filozofom. Pri nas se takšen profil intelektualca zanima mogoče za literaturo, mogoče celo za slikarstvo, arhitektura, domača in tuja, pa je zanimiva le po dnevnih novicah, ekscesih in škandalih. Vse to seveda vpliva tudi na dojemanje arhitekture pri bolj specializiranih študijih - umetnostni zgodovini, sociologiji umetnosti itd., kjer pri nas prevladujejo izdaje s popolnoma poljubnimi in ponekod skrajno marginalnimi referenčnimi točkami.

Poglejmo prerez osrednjih slovenskih nagrad za kulturo. Arhitektura nastopa v istem predalu kot likovne umetnosti. Torej ji, umetnosti potrebne, kot jo imenuje Baudrillard, pritiče nagrada, le v kolikor se približa kakšni skulpturi?! Pri nas doktor socioloških znanosti objavi knjigo o arhitekturi, ki se opira izključno na referenco arhitekturno povsem nepomembnega avtorja, na osebno izpoved užaljenega avtorja, knjigo, ki želi govoriti o družbeni vlogi arhitekture ali vsaj o kritiki nekega zmotnega učnega procesa. Kustos osrednje državne galerije v Novi Gorici priredi razstavo o krizi moderne arhitekture v svetu, ne da bi povabil k sodelovanju kakšnega arhitekta.

Nesreče, ki danes spremljajo gradnjo šol, pa so tudi čisto prozaične. Priča smo blasfemiji še vedno veljavnih razpisov ali pač natečajev - na državni ravni! - kjer so potrebna vsa mogoča potrdila in izračuni, tja do nekaznovanja in plačane najemnine za lokal, načrt pa zavzema le manjši delež skupne ocene. Neverjetno, a resnično, za zgradbo, namenjeno vzgoji kulture (tudi bivanja). Kot da bi, za primerjavo, priredili razpis za nacionalni gledališki komad, pri tem pa bi moral dramatik podati dokazilo o nekaznovanju... Prej bi dejal, da tu veljajo skoraj obratna merila!

In druga je blasfemija lokalnih razpisov, kjer danes v manjših občinah o arhitekturi na natečajih odločajo lokalni veljaki...

Saj ne hodimo v šolo le zaradi današnjega dne. A vendarle - vsaka šola nekaj stane!

Jurij Kobe

(*) Antologija antičnega govorništva, Claritas, Študentska založba, Ljubljana 2002. Evmenij: Govor za obnovo šolskega poslopja v manjšem mestu Augustodunu, ki je sodilo pod Trier, 3. st.

(**) Jean Baudrillard, Jean Nouvel, Les Objets Singuliers. Architecture et philosophie, Calman-Levy, 2000.

editorial

For many of people school holds a special place in their memory. Who does not recall the strictness of some of the teachers, the smell of the school staircase, or the first falling in love with a schoolmate, or a teacher. I am still hunted by the tall, heavy door of the elementary school in Gornji grad, built during the times of the Austro-Hungarian empire. The door-handle was placed so high, that one had to step on the tips of one's toes to get hold of it. Upon entering, one was faced with the statue of Fran Kocbek, personifying severity and authority. This memory still brings up the feeling of uneasiness, but also that of the sublime, solidity, and tradition. Institutional buildings which one encounters all over the land of the former monarchy, be it with this or any other function, represent the power of the institution and authority that is taking care of the education, order and welfare of the people. Schools, courts, military complexes, prisons, government palaces - all these buildings continue to define the urban and monumental image of our towns and villages. On the other hand, some of the school buildings I visited myself as an architect, both in Slovenia and abroad, hold one of the best ratings in my ideal architectural cosmos of an open, democratic architecture. Pavilion concepts with atriums; the intertwining of the interior and exterior space; corridors which are much more than just that, they are dynamic urban spaces; classrooms open towards the green surroundings; an abundance of air, day light, pleasant materials and colours. Of course I simply have to mention the schools by Arne Jacobsen, Herman Hertzberger, a number of schools in Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, etc. In Slovenia, the schools that are high on my list are those in Straľiąče, by Fuerst; in Kranj, by Kristl; and among the recent ones those in Novo mesto by Kobe, in Ptuj, by Zadravec; in Viąnja gora by the Vozlič; and of course that in Kočevje by Bevk, Dodd, Glaľar, Kučan, Perović and Vehovar.

Norm or innovation

A school building is architecture. Its function is derived from a doctrine, while its form spurs from an architectural idea. The history of Slovene schools can be traced back mainly in two directions. The first one, and much more present, is oriented towards standardisation. We have the typical Austro-Hungarian schools, the typical no-corridor schools, the typical schools built with the contributions by local inhabitants, typical classrooms and standards. This model is based on the optimum use of space in one case, pedagogical approaches in the other, and funding, in the third.

The second model, however, is that of original projects by individual authors, which also gives way to architectural research. Of course both models intertwine. The best schools are those where a balance is reached between both - norm and innovation. But this is a definition that applies to any quality architecture. It is therefore logical that the best schools have been built by the best of architects. In Slovenia as well as abroad, architecture of school buildings is a front-line architectural theme. The societyŐs decision for quality architecture should ensure, together with the school administration and pedagogical chamber, that more and more schools are built by good architects in the future. The institution of public competition is the democratic way to reach this goal.

School as a framework

I ask myself: what should a school be like today, in order to successfully shape, liberate, motivate, inspire and spur creativity in both pupils and their teachers? The answer is not an easy one, and above all - it has multiple meanings. The school building is a place of communication of social values to the new generations. A place where the children not only gain knowledge, but also learn how to live in a larger community, in a society. During this process they become independent, free personalities. They adopt their views about the world, space, culture and beauty. The school is the materialisation, a physical framework of the doctrine and philosophy of learning and education. The creative potential of this outstanding task, which is one of the primary social tasks symbolically and practically, can be realised only in collaboration between architects and pedagogical workers. Through this exchange, both may discover new opportunities for their work and development. A good school is the one where pedagogical doctrine and repression are pushed aside, and the creative atmosphere put at the forefront. This atmosphere, however, is intrinsically linked with the quality of the frame, of the ambience, of space... Architecture designs this frame, quietly, from behind. And that is not all: the lesson about the culture of space, of the ambience, also enhanced by the framework for learning - i.e. the school building - consequently spreads into the whole of society. Through the process of learning and through the school building, the pupil becomes acquainted with architecture and learns how to perceive and appreciate it.

Modernity or Tradition

According to the modern doctrine school is a machine for education. The schools, however, are not only "the factories of knowledge"; they are living urban spaces and thus have to be designed with a feeling for urban and social ambience. A school may play the decisive urban role, particularly in smaller places, where it combines with the library, a sports hall, a hall for social events and an exhibition hall, which is all of vital importance for the intellectual and sport activities, and for social life in general. This holds true for smaller and larger towns, the old ones and the recent ones. Radical, modern architecture is mainly favoured by the architects and rarely by the clients and the users. One of the reasons is that the users seldom or never participate in the process of creation of the project. The criticism against newly built schools is often linked with pragmatic deficiencies, where the architect is usually only one among the many to blame: for instance, that the main hall cannot be darkened for projections, that the corridors are two narrow, or that there are not enough girls' toilets. The second, equally common problem is a very low "architectural literacy" of an average user. People instinctively mistrust modern architecture. The pedagogues bear their share of responsibility, since their own prejudices and ignorance are often transposed on the younger generations.

Doctrine or experiment

The typology of a school building depends on many factors. The location (in a town or in a village, in the centre or amidst greenery), grade (primary school, high school, college), funding, etc. But most of all it depends on social reality in that particular moment, of its being developed or underdeveloped, open or xenophobic. In my opinion a school building should not be on the conservative side of the social spectrum, on the contrary, it has to be oriented towards development, taking advantage of the new technological and conceptual opportunities, open for the challenges of time. Nowadays social situation is very dispersed and individualised. The school building, too, must ensure individuality and decentralisation. Decentralisation of learning enables physical communication between generations, social groups, and genders. It is important to preserve and upgrade this role of a school as social condenser. The school building should generate the feeling of belonging in the young pupils, it should improve communication between teachers and pupils, in particular by offering a whole range of rooms for interactions, by enabling informal meetings, by allowing the unpredictable. Information society is our global reality, especially so for the young generations. School should not be just a bystander, it has to play an active role in the creation of the future world. The school building of the future will be an interactive environment in which questions we already see today will be solved in a complex, technologically advanced way. These are questions referring to the society of the future, even more closely linked with notions such as global communication, media reality, technology, computerisation, futuristics, than we are today. These are also questions referring to the societyŐs security, control and mental sanity, together with questions on economisation, rationality and real opportunities. One has to be aware that practising economy and good management is not necessarily opposed to architectural quality.

Authoritarianism or democratisation

School buildings have always been a reflection of social reality. School buildings built during the authoritarian periods were more authoritarian, while in more relaxed periods the schools are more democratic. In Slovenia, school building over the past fifty years went its own, often winding, way. The results, however, are some of the top ranking architectural monuments. Even before WW2, but also in the 1950's and 60's they managed to build liberal, open, architecturaly ambitious schools. In the 1970's however, with the tightening of economic and political situation, but also with the generally changed social climate, the situation changed for the worse. School buildings were being built on the basis of restrictive normatives. Projects were being realised that were and still are far behind the possibilities and needs of the time, both in terms of spatial qualities and technical equipment. Ideological issues gradually became a priority. "All-day school", aimed at separating parents from their children, then the "profession-oriented education", and other flosculas, focused on nothing but the final "product". The forced multi-purposeness, spatial limitation, lack of individuality. Pedagogics was in a serious crisis, and school building with it. This situation partly continues today, only this time with a different background. The background is now the consumer mentality and the domination of pop culture, when instant political or personal circumstances in, for instance, a certain municipality or school administration may cause the destruction of the existing quality school buildings or the construction of new monstrosities.

It is true, however, that after the independence the situation has begun to improve. Very slowly though. A well considered, long-term policy of the society and school authorities has produced important results at least in segments and fragments in many fields, including the architectural. Architectural competitions have been brought back to life. It is encouraging that the commissions for a great majority of the school buildings, presented in this issue, are the result of architectural competitions.

Conclusion

Last but not least. To all our subscribers and readers, but above all to our authors, the editorial board apologises that this issue is being published with such a delay. The delay is due to a number of unfortunate coincidences and bureaucratic bypasses, that have caused the total lack of funding for our magazine in the first half of the year. We were therefore forced to wait for new funding, despite having ready the material for two new issues. The first of them is now finally at your disposal, the second one will be issued later in the autumn. We have survived the crisis. Convinced that this was an instructive experience, we can now anticipate the future with greater optimism, new plans and expectations.

Miha Deąman

Architecture of Schools - A Lesson on What Architecture Is and Where It Stands

"Of course, my excellency, it is very important for the glory gained through many victories and triumphs by majestic emperors not to raise young spirits for chanting their ventures among the four walls of private houses but rather to do so in the eye of the entire town. And what is more visible here than the Menian building standing here right by the path of our invincible princes at their occasional visit. That they have been touched by the reception of those youngsters is obvious not only by the generosity shown towards the young but also by the letter in which they are inviting me to dedicate myself to their education. So, won't they be happy when they see this reunion place for the young renewed." Eumenius in 3rd century.*

Is the architecture of schools one of the rare fields left in the architectŐs striving for solutions to questions concerning architecture?

It is, of course, difficult to tell where architecture actually begins; it most certainly begins at its material beginning, yet not every beginning can be accepted. It should contain a tale. A tale that cannot end at the physical limits of its material base, just like it can not end by becoming overused or by being demolished. Architecture has always been a question of thought and the material is just a base bearing this thought.

The tale never appears alone and by itself. It keeps entering into some relationship with the found situation, with the environment. It is supposed to reveal what has already been written within the place i.e. within the given. Only then the line of the story is set. This statement may appear tautological, but it keeps being repeated whenever we come across some good architecture.

Architecture is always expected to solve some questions. As for some very concrete question set by the desire of building schools, we may say that there are only schools left in control within the field of architecture. On one hand, schools appear not to be affected by the fashion turbulence aiming to meet the desire of the newly composed and wealthy client involved within the architecture of the cheaper shock, of easier understanding, of the comics - an architecture that has completely lost its connection with the real needs of the man. On the other hand, the architect's architecture has either no influence whatsoever on those wide fields of man's dwelling - at times as fundamental as the apartment - or it may have simply become an issue of no interest for the architect himself.

Today however, the fortunate task of solving these fundamental needs anywhere in the world still belongs to the architecture of schools.

So, starting with the introductory quotation, we may continue with Galileo's primitive chair at the University of Padova - an elevated podium built of simple boards, a device serving exactly and merely the purpose, to the social utopians with their schools in various phalanteries, and furthermore to the not yet overgrown architecture of Schutte Lyhotsky which (under leadership of Tessenow, Strnad É) started to deal with questions of social and education buildings. Following this very stream, yet still under Bauhaus influence, we have the architects Navinąek, ©trukelj, Fźrst É , actually all those who considered the issue of organising the (school) space in the most simple and most effective way. Today, we have nothing to be ashamed of with these buildings. Somehow it was all about fulfilling the functional demands of the space. What devil was it then - later, in our better times - that made the regulations on school spaces change in such a procrustean way! What money did we save? We do have (did have) so much experience and so many examples!

It was Jean Nouvel who in his conversation with Jean Baudrillard tried to point out that one should learn architecture mainly from those who still need the building (shelter) - How thrilled he was over constructions and objects (industrial buildings, racing cars - serving their function and aiming to be just that, and not burdening the space with their "architectural design". **

So perhaps, it is in school buildings that we may find the most serious indication on where and what architecture truly stands today.

Architecture of Schools: A lesson on what architecture is and where it stands

In his interview for the Casabella magazine, Ghery speaks of how Winston Churchill kept repeating: Just like we build our houses, these houses build us. From here on we simply follow the unfortunate paradox: Everything that we have been given shapes our consciousness regarding what we should have been given. So, what we get - is already good!

And just like architecture itself never ends at its physical limits, so does the thinking about any single building not stop with the mere thinking of this building - which goes for the positive direction as well as for the negative i.e. the limiting one.

Entering school means actually being also taught the culture of dwelling, since this represents a significant part of general culture. It may happen though only through clear demonstration. A building may educate through its entirety i.e. through its placement into the some space or city, through its conception, as well as through its details and equipment. The latter should be understood mainly as some logical design having priority over any excessive fantasy and revealing clearly: what should support and what should be supported, what is strong and what is weak, or how things are composed.

One discovers often with pain that a new building is being used in the same way as the old one was before. But: architecture speaks slowly - A house has its own effect on the visitor or its inhabitant - in a non-verbal and almost subconscious field. The user often knows nothing of the place where he/she lives or works. A colleague (architect) had to tell the staff working in an almost 50 years old school building that they were living and working in a house that was not new but definitely a quality building. Only then they started looking around at other buildings of the kind and establishing one after another the advantages of their own.

Architecture, as said, delivers its messages slowly. Sometimes its speech becomes understandable only when its voice has almost faded away. At first, we cannot hear it. We hear just the shouting, the screaming form. Yet in spite of the sudden blow at the start, it works slowly. Its real values and weaknesses become visible only through time, and the messages about the culture of dwelling keep gathering somewhere beside the daily routine (often so tense at school). We usually hear this speech only after we have already left a certain house, or - as in our case - a school.

"What shall I do with a student from whom I learn nothing!"

At first, these words from a wise teacher may seem rather astounding yet soon they become almost self-evident. A school, just like any other work is a two-direction process. And it is the same with working out a plan or implementing a construction - e.g. a construction of a school. I always consider my work (first elaboration of the plan, then assistance at the school construction lot) also as a sort of my own school - beside my work and in the process of work.

How to make the culture of dwelling more integrated within what we call the general culture?

In our country - in spite of our highly national trumps, such as Fabiani, Plečnik and Ravnikar, who needed no state money to achieve their establishment abroad - architecture has still not been given the place that it deserves. Here, unlike the culturally developed world, architecture is still not considered to be one of the essential elements of the national culture. As a form of national awareness, architecture appeared in our culture as late as in 19th century - which means merely about a hundred years ago! It was only then that the construction of various culture homes, Slovene theatres and other shelters of social life began. Had Preąeren or Čop ever tried to convince the wealthy Andrej Smole to sponsor and thus stimulate the construction of any "Slovene culture messenger in the field of architecture"? Even today, the written word i.e. literature has absolute priority within the majority of people working in the field of culture. It is not just a question of the average daily press but rather about the highest level of educated Slovene people. In France, a top-level architect may lead a book-long dialogue with a top-level philosopher. In our country, such an intellectual profile might be interested in literature or perhaps even in the art of painting. Architecture - home-made or foreign - may raise interest only as some news of the day, some excess or scandal. This, of course, affects the apprehension of architecture within more specialised studies (history of art, art sociology etc.), where we have editions with most optional or extremely marginal reference issues.

Let us make a survey of the most important Slovene awards in culture! Architecture appears in the same class as plastic arts. So, being necessary to the art - as defined by Baudrillard - it may be awarded only when it appears closer to some sculpture?!

Here, a doctor of sociology science may publish a book on architecture based merely on a reference of some author who is absolutely of no importance in the field of architecture, or perhaps on a personal confession of some offended author; a book trying to deal with the social role of architecture or at least the critic of some mistaken process of learning.

Or a curator at the main national gallery in Nova Gorica may organise an exhibition on the crisis in the modern architecture in the world without inviting any single architect to co-operate.

However, misfortunes accompanying the construction of schools today may simply be considered as prosaic: We can all witness the blasphemy of invitations or the so called competitions still in force - at national level! Here you need all kinds of attestations and calculations, up to some certificate of not having been punished by the Law or a receipt of having paid the rent for your office - actually, the plan itself represents just a minor share within the total assessment. Unbelievable but true. A plan about constructing a building meant for teaching culture (along with the culture of dwelling). Imagine (just to compare) there was a competition for a rational theatre piece and the playwright was asked to present a certificate of non-punishment I'd rather say the measures here are almost reversed!

And there is another such blasphemy in local invitations, where today "distinguished" men of local importance in smaller communities decide and judge on architecture presented within public competitions.

We certainly do not go to school to fill the present day! But no school is free of charge!

(*) Anthology of Antique Rhetoric, Claritas, ©tudentska zaloľba, 2001: Eumenius: Speech for the renewal of the school building in a smaller town called Augustodun belonging to Trier, 3rd century

(**) Jean Baudrillard, Jean Nouvel: Les Objets Singulier; Architecture et Philosophie, Calman-Levy, 2000

Jurij Kobe