chapter  3
25 Pages

Jože Plečnik, an Idiosyncratic Slovenian Modernist

ByS.A. Mansbach

For both the Catalan politician-architects and the Slovenian designer allied themselves with causes that twinned a conservative ideology with a progressive and highly individualized aesthetics through which to assert a distinctive national identity. Jože Plecnik, like Lluís Domènech, has occupied a peculiar place in the scholarly historiography, mostly because neither figure conforms to conventional expectations for a modernist architect. Their particular aesthetic progressivism departed essentially from the paradigmatic model of rationalism, internationalism, and anti-historicism that remains the legacy of the idealistic pioneers of classical modern design and landscape architecture. Material and political conditions in Ljubljana were ripe for Plecnik just when he was most prepared to take fullest advantage of them. In contrast to most modern architects of large vision, Plecnik rarely worked on apartment buildings and was never interested in public housing projects, neither in Ljubljana nor in Prague.