Thursday, May 30, 2024
HomeArchitectureLetter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik

[ad_1]

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 1 of 11

© Michael J. Crosbie

Share

Share

Fb

Twitter

Mail

Pinterest

Whatsapp

Or

https://www.archdaily.com/1004328/letter-from-ljubljana-slovenia-the-human-centered-urbanism-of-joze-plecnik

This text was originally published on Common Edge.

Not too long ago I traveled to Ljubljana, Slovenia, in the hunt for the non secular structure of the celebrated (however largely unknown within the U.S.) Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik (1872–1957). I write loads in regards to the structure of spirituality, and I used to be inquisitive about Plečnik’s church buildings and chapels—what the architect’s idiosyncratic type of classicism mentioned about religion in a Fashionable age. What I didn’t look forward to finding was the common nature of Plečnik’s work as an urbanist: a re-maker of the Slovenian capital that holds classes for us at this time.

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 2 of 11Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 3 of 11Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 4 of 11Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 5 of 11Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - More Images+ 6

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 7 of 11© Michael J. Crosbie

Plečnik is a little bit of a thriller to most architects. A Slovene native, he inherited an inventive bent from his carpenter father, went to Vienna in 1892 to work as a furnishings designer, and got here below the affect of the Viennese Secessionist architect Otto Wagner. Plečnik studied structure at Vienna’s Academy of High-quality Arts and because the prime scholar acquired a journey scholarship, filling scores of sketchbooks roving by means of Italy and France. By 1900 he was working as an impartial architect, and in 1911 he moved to Prague, the place he practiced and taught, elevating his profile. He returned to Ljubljana in 1921, secured a professorship on the Ljubljana College of Structure (the place he taught for 36 years), and practiced structure.

Associated Article

Ljubljana Structure Metropolis Information: 23 Initiatives to Uncover within the Capital of Slovenia

Plečnik designed and constructed initiatives throughout Jap Europe, however in Ljubljana he excelled as an city designer. Together with his expertise and examine of structure all through Europe, Plečnik utilized what he discovered to Ljubljana to boost its architectural stature and provides it a extra Mediterranean high quality. (With Yugoslavia’s dissolution in 1990, Slovenia turned an impartial nation, with Ljubljana its capital). Plečnik didn’t create a sweeping, grand imaginative and prescient for a brand new metropolis. As an alternative, for greater than 30 years he labored incrementally on city initiatives giant and small, creating an accretion of interventions that provides helpful classes in defining city identification that effortlessly graphs onto an present context, to which subsequent architects and concrete designers have added.

Plečnik is definitely tied with Frank Lloyd Wright in having essentially the most works (eight) listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Checklist of any architect, and all of Plečnik’s are in Ljubljana. In including his works to the listing in 2021, UNESCO described his work as “an instance of a human-centered city design that successively modified the identification of town … primarily based on an architectural dialogue with the older metropolis whereas serving the wants of rising trendy Twentieth-century society. This extremely contextual and human-scale urbanistic strategy, in addition to Plečnik’s distinctive architectural idiom, stand aside from the opposite predominant modernist ideas of his time.”

At present, Ljubljana is most distinguished by its outdated heart, the core of which is layered with streets that observe the twists and turns of the Ljubljanica River (on the core’s heart the topography climbs up sharply to a hilltop fortress relationship from the eleventh century). Plečnik’s interventions alongside the river because it carves by means of town present scale and a humane conviviality—enticements for wandering. Repeatedly, Plečnik devises ingenious methods to deliver you into intimate contact with the river.

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 8 of 11© Michael J. Crosbie

For instance, within the mid-Nineteen Thirties the river was deepened to alleviate flooding. Plečnik inserted graciously stepped terraces that seem to ripple the river’s lazy twists and turns. The terraces let you step down alongside the river edge and invite you to lounge. Above the terraces are greenswards, punctuated by rows of weeping willows that march alongside like columns (one in all Plečnik’s favourite architectural components). The terraces are a bit completely different on every riverbank, attracting completely different sorts of actions: sunbathing, fishing, picnicking. Because the terraces slender, you cross below a bridge to seek out a bit espresso store tucked into its abutment, with locations to take a seat on the river’s edge.

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 9 of 11© Michael J. Crosbie

Because the river travels north, the city density will increase, the terraces disappear, and Plečnik channels the river between parallel stone partitions. However he continues to plot methods to entry it.

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 4 of 11© Michael J. Crosbie

There could be the shock of a small, rounded balcony (maybe large enough only for two folks) that bumps out of the wall, a respite from the movement of pedestrians that enables us to linger and soak up vistas. You would possibly uncover a staircase carved into the wall that takes you straight right down to the Ljubljanica’s floor, the place you would possibly board a small boat for a river tour. The river partitions are topped with balustrades and belvederes of various designs, some classical and others trendy, many by Plečnik but in addition by up to date architects.

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 10 of 11© Michael J. Crosbie

The most effective is Novi Sq., designed in 2012 by the native agency Atelje Vozlic—a beneficiant plaza that sweeps right down to the river with a fountain, stepped seating, and ramps. All alongside these vantage factors providing prospects of metropolis landmarks are eating places, bookshops, galleries, bars, retail shops, espresso spots, grocers, gelato stands, wine retailers, with flats above—each one in all them with a view to the Ljubljanica and the civic life teeming across the river.

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 11 of 11© Michael J. Crosbie

The river banks are laced along with bridges (a lot of Plečnik’s design, together with some new ones) that encourage exploration. The place Plečnik couldn’t insert a brand new plaza due to the encompassing tight streets, he creates one on a bridge—Cobbler’s Bridge is a good instance—huge, paved in stone, and lined with the architect’s trademark terrazzo columns (he selected this materials for its economic system and used it everywhere in the metropolis).

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 5 of 11© Michael J. Crosbie

No element appears to flee Plečnik’s invention; avenue lights are a very good instance. On bridges and exterior stairs, he concocts whimsical, ironic, romantic methods to mild your means: a lamp would possibly emerge from an Ionic capital (he had a weak point for the Ionic) or crown a thin stone pyramid (one other of his repetitive components).

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 6 of 11© Michael J. Crosbie

His Three Bridges, constructed within the early Nineteen Thirties, ship you from three completely different thoroughfares throughout the river to Preseren Sq., town’s coronary heart. Why three? They changed a single span that was too small, and as a substitute of creating one huge bridge, Plečnik, aware of the size, designed the center span for autos and two outer pedestrian spans with staircases that take you right down to the river—his homage to Venice.

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 3 of 11© Michael J. Crosbie

A decade after the Three Bridges, development began on Plečnik’s largest constructing alongside the river: the Market. Initially conceived as a stoa with retailers for butchers, fishmongers, inexperienced grocers, and different retail, it stretches alongside the river for practically a thousand toes, with two porticos that enable views of the river, retailers that cater to the lunch crowd, and an open loggia on the west finish for a farmer’s market. The Market rises straight out of the river, in Venetian style, gracefully curving to intently observe the bend within the river. A brand new bridge connecting the Market to the opposite facet of the river was designed in 2010 by ATELIER arhitekti. Its steel-and-glass development hasn’t aged nicely, compared with Plečnik’s masonry bridges. On the excessive west finish of the Market is one in all Plečnik’s little follies, a temple inside a temple, initially designed as a flower store.

Letter From Ljubljana, Slovenia: The Human-Centered Urbanism of Jože Plečnik - Image 2 of 11© Michael J. Crosbie

On the opposite facet of the river, Plečnik designed a tiny tobacco kiosk; he was a recurring smoker and occasional addict and peppered town with such kiosks. Plečnik’s fascination with kiosks truly supplies an perception into his strategy to city design. Plečnik had a visceral, direct connection to town he designed, as a result of he was an inveterate walker. Usually, he would depart his home and studio on Karunova Avenue and stroll a couple of half-mile north to the structure faculty. He then would possibly proceed his stroll into the center of town, a number of miles alongside the river’s edge or alongside a serious thoroughfare, and again house once more. Plečnik knew town along with his toes, not simply along with his eyes or with maps. It’s not exhausting to think about that he designed and took notes as he walked, a sketchbook and pencil at all times on the prepared. The human-centered designs that flowed from his hand have been the product of an architect who took his time, strolling alongside the very floor the place a bridge would possibly cross the river, a staircase would possibly descend, or a avenue mild would possibly information the best way.

Design by strolling appears particularly becoming for a spot like Ljubljana, which took the unconventional step of making a car-free zone in its metropolis heart. It’s the one European capital that has banned autos. In 2007, newly elected mayor Zoran Janković put forth a “Ljubljana 2025” imaginative and prescient plan that included eliminating automobiles from the outdated metropolis core. Response from residents was outrage. A Slovenian architect colleague of mine remembers resistance to the ban. He recalled plazas and streets all through town heart choked with automobiles, pointing to a spot the place he used to park not removed from the place we have been having a nice dinner alongside the river. Solely 40% of residents supported the thought. Ten years later, 97% have been pleased with the car-free metropolis heart and wished to protect it. The ban covers some 42 acres however permits supply vehicles and repair autos entry between 6 and 10 a.m. There are additionally specifically designed electrical shuttles—diminutive, very slender, and free!—for folks with mobility challenges. By 2012, a bike-sharing system was in place (the primary hour is free), together with extra park-and-ride choices for commuters, extra bridges connecting pedestrian zones, and an electrical car-sharing program. Air pollution and noise ranges plummeted. Town’s car-free coverage was one of many the reason why, in 2016, Ljubljana gained the European Inexperienced Capital Award. It’s as if Plečnik’s humanly centered city design was ready for the automobiles to go away to lastly reveal its full potential.

Plečnik was recognized to inform his college students: “No job, even the smallest, ought to be unworthy of the architect’s love.” His designs for Ljubljana’s promenade alongside the river, its bridges and plazas, its balconies and balustrades, its little kiosks and even its streetlights, are ample proof of this.



[ad_2]

Source link