Reflections on Modernism’s Complexity
Jože Plecnik's idiosyncratic modern architecture combined a commitment to modern technologies with a reworking of tradition. Such a concurrence informed his work from his first independent project in Vienna through his noble endeavors in Prague to his prolonged engagement to remake the urban landscape of his native Ljubljana. In the very years when the fundamental faith in rationalism, anti-traditionalism, and transnationalism were being stridently advanced by an ascendant functionalism, Plecnik was demonstrating the potency of a different kind of modernism. The ethnocentrism of Plecnik and the nationalism of the Catalans exemplify the variety of ideological potential and aesthetic innovation to which a modernizing architecture can lend itself. It befits us to keep these cases in mind as historians and critics continue the worthy effort of recognizing in modernism less a single or uniform "movement" than a complex creative endeavor characterized by diversity, individuality, and idiosyncrasy.