The famous architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957) tried to model Ljubljana on ancient Athens. The multitude of his creations in the city, referred to as a whole as "Plečnik's Ljubljana", is considered to be one of the 20th century's most important total works of art.
The unique oeuvre of the architect Jože Plečnik
Plečnik left a lasting mark on three central European cities: Vienna, Prague and Ljubljana. According to Friedrich Achleitner, a renowned art critic from Vienna, Plečnik with his singular style may come to be considered an architect of the future.
A distinguished career in Vienna and Prague
In Vienna, where he studied under professor Otto Wagner, Plečnik designed a number of pioneering works of modern architecture. In Prague he undertook, among other things, the renovation of Prague Castle for use as the presidential residence and relandscaped of the castle gardens.
Ljubljana as a total work of art
Upon returning to Ljubljana in 1921, Plečnik accepted the post of professor at the newly established University of Ljubljana and focused all his creative energies to designing the city. The so called Plečnik's Ljubljana, a unique example of urban planning, is considered to be one of the 20th century's most important total works of art.
In designing Ljubljana, the nation's new capital, Plečnik tried to use modern approaches while modelling the city on ancient Athens. His style, innovative even by today's standards, is characterized by the use of classical architectural elements, such as pillars, lintels, balustrades and colonnettes, redesigned and combined in the master architect's own special way.
Jože Plečnik's best known works
Plečnik redesigned Ljubljana with consideration to the city's water and land axes. He undertook the building of several of Ljubljana's key buildings and renovation of numerous existing ones.
Plečnik's best known works include the National and University Library building, the Ljubljanica river embankments and bridges, the most notable among the latter being the Triple Bridge and the Cobblers' Bridge, the Central Market, the Križanke Summer Theatre, the Bežigrad Stadium, the funeral home at the Žale cemetery, and the Church of St. Michael in the Marshes.
Plečnik put his own distinctive stamp also on Ljubljana's surrounding areas, where a number buildings, monuments and churches were renovated in his signature style.