An exhibition illustrating the history and development of the Faculty of Architecture
In cooperation with the University of Ljubljana and Museum of Architecture and Design
A university’s creative environment is a platform for change driven by scientific curiosity, and the accumulated knowledge is enhanced by doubting mind. When the University of Ljubljana was first established, the academic environment of Slovenian architecture was marked by the artistic orientation of the key personalities of the era. Jože Plečnik was 48 years old; his Ljubljana and Prague architecture did not exist yet. In the introduction to the first generation’s miscellany of papers, he thus summed up the collective atmosphere at the former Technical Faculty: “This book emerged from pure joy: we are young and alive.
The tradition of appointing eminent architects as architecture professors in Ljubljana continued. Their teaching methods reflected their artistic beliefs, independent professional career in architecture – invariably committed to experimenting, searching for balance among prior (personal) experiences, tradition and the desire for progress, for exploring new possibilities. Given the school’s distinctive breadth of academic disciplines, it could offer education, either in the area of planning or architectural theory and criticism, to many students who went on to build internationally distinguished careers. At the same time, the school influenced the development of other disciplines, including urbanism, spatial planning, industrial and graphic design, set design, science journalism.
Soon after the establishment of University of Ljubljana in 1919, Ivan Vurnik, a graduate of the Vienna University of Technology, was appointed assistant professor at the Technical Faculty’s Department of Civil Engineering. Aiming to establish architecture as an independent academic discipline, Vurnik solicited the help of Jože Plečnik, professor at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague who first made a name for himself in Vienna and later in Prague. Although Vurnik was in charge of the organisation and management of the newly founded Department of Architecture, which opened its doors in 1920, Plečnik was considered the “spiritual father” of the Ljubljana School of Architecture. Taking the post of architecture professor in 1921, Plečnik enriched the academic programme with his personal charisma and a special teaching method modelled after Otto Wagner’s, his teacher at the Vienna Academy. His method involved academic work in the form of workshops or tutorials, which enabled students and professors to jointly examine the entire course of architectural planning. Tuition relying on seminars attended by students ranging from freshmen to seniors has remained a specialty of the Ljubljana School of Architecture to this day.
After 1945, academic influence was exerted by professors belonging to the younger generation of architects: Edvard Ravnikar, Edo Mihevc, Marjan Mušič, Boris Kobe, Niko Kralj and others. As the leading Slovenian modernist Ravnikar laid the foundations for modern urbanism and design as academic subdisciplines. It was as far back as in the 1960s that the name Ljubljana School of Architecture was increasingly used to refer to the school in former Yugoslavia, as well as internationally, due to its high educational standards. In Ljubljana, the study programme in architecture was implemented within the context of the Technical Faculty until the establishment of the Faculty of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy in 1957. The aspirations for an independent school of architecture were fulfilled in 1995 with the inauguration of the Faculty of Architecture. The study programmes offered at FA today include architecture and urbanism. The academic curriculum is based on seminars and individual work with students. These classes continue the school’s distinctive tradition and constitute a connecting link with knowledge gained in attending social sciences and technical classes. This brings students into direct contact with the relevant issues facing their profession and society in a manner defined by the term ‘theoretical practice of architecture’. An indispensable element of academic life, the Faculty’s visiting lecturers – the numerous acclaimed foreign architects and theoreticians – serve to solidify the faculty’s embeddedness in the global network of acclaimed schools of architecture.