Reinvestigating Culture in Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Belgrade, Serbia

In 1986, an exhibition at the Pompidou Centre in Paris refocused an interest in the work of architect Joze Plecnik – a body of realized and unbuilt schematics that had momentarily been interned as idiosyncratic and eclectic among post-World War 2 practitioners.

Three years after the exhibition, a book titled Joze Plecnik Architect: 1872-1957 engaged the architect’s work in contemporary discourse with a chapter provocatively titled Modern or Postmodern; A question of Ethics (Burkhardt 1989, p.114). This dual categorization of Plecnik’s work builds on a chrono-stylistic complexity initiated by the architect’s continued reapplication of classicism; thematics that aesthetically deployed classical forms representative of multi-national allegory; and ethically situated as being fundamentally collective.

Critically, Plecnik’s dual operations as architect and educator in both Prague and Ljubljana developed a lineage of practitioners chronological located at conclusion of World War Two and the formalization of urban design practice. The legacy of Plecnikarian principles in post-War, post-Czechoslovakian, and post-Yugoslavian contexts offer contemporized strategies in the representation of multi-nations.

This paper will address the architectural methodology of Slovenian architect Joze Plecnik and its agency in creating a national urbanism born of multi-national identity in Czechoslovakia as well as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. Critically it will examine national landscapes in Prague and Ljubljana that employ an artifice of ‘framing’, to provide a consolidation of territory born from a conglomeration of identity. Situating a reading of modernism that is inherently fragmentary will provide insight into the perceived definition of epoch and identity.