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Ljubljana, Plečnik’s house

Jože Plečnik

Jože Plečnik is known as the greatest Slovenian architect of the 20th century. In the house where architect Jože Plečnik (1872–1957) lived and worked up to the time of his death, the idea of Plečnik’s Ljubljana, which is still recognisable today, had been in the making since 1921. Plečnik’s Ljubljana brings together independent urban designs into one unified composition and a comprehensive artistic piece. Plečnik’s character, which formed during his time studying, and his many years of work abroad is reflected in his work, as are his aesthetic and the needs of the little man.

Renovation of the Plečnik house

The complete renovation of Plečnik’s home from the documentation to the museum layout took eight years, while the renovation of the house itself took two years (2013–2015).

The renovation was of the houses at 4 and 6 Karunova street, including the garden. The Restoration Centre of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia also drew up a conservation plan (link). Irena Vesel from the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia was the head conservationist and decided to retain the original look of the house, both inside and out, with all the original furniture and inventory, just as Plečnik had left upon his death. 

On the face of it the house seemed to be in good condition and we thought that only the most necessary maintenance work to the installations would be required, with primarily conservational work being done to the interior and exterior shell. However, damage caused by bad weather, probing and thorough cleaning showed that this was not the case. All materials were in very poor condition. The fixtures and fittings and built-in wooden elements were in an exceptionally poor state which made it necessary to reinforce them and carry out conservation work. All the inside plaster walls were also in poor condition. The house was most probably quite damp at the time when Plečnik made changes to the building. Plečnik carried out the removal of the damage caused by damp by covering all the walls with bitumen, which in turn completely ruined the plaster façades. In some places, only the thick layers of whitewash held them together. The plaster façades were replaced with new ones. But the discovery of Plečnik’s own work to the building gave us an insight into the construction of the house.

Renovation of the garden

The conservational renovation of the garden was also part of the project to restore Plečnik’s house, the goal being to emphasise the design created by Plečnik himself. 

The renovated Plečnik house is an example of best practice concerning the collaboration of all the people involved in individual projects and represents a jewel in Slovenian cultural heritage from the 20th century.

It holds exceptional cultural value as it is one of the rare examples of an artist’s house anywhere in the world that is so well-preserved and has such an original design, as well as being furnished.

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