Architectural practices: a2o2 arhitekti, Arhitekti Počivašek Petranovič, Elementarna, Emil Jurcan, Mertelj Vrabič arhitekti, Pazi!park, Prostorož, Some Place Studio, svet vmes, Vidic Grohar arhitekti
Curated by: Mika Cimolini, Matevž Čelik
24. 2. at 5 pm: viewing of the exhibition with the curator Mika Cimolini
10. 3. at 6 pm: viewing of the exhibition with the participating architects
24. 3. at 6 pm: viewing of the exhibition with the curator Mika Cimolini
The exhibition and project New Praxes, New Tools attempts to shed light on the working methods of contemporary “Slovenian” architectural practices. The project was prompted by three conversations between the participating architects and Matevž Čelik and Mika Cimolini, in which they found out what organisational, project planning and other professional innovations they bring to their work, thus changing the way we understand architectural activity today.
The selection of offices and firms is not national or representative, but subjective, with the curators focusing on the diversity with which certain themes are addressed in the field of architectural design. The featured architectural firms began working independently ten or fifteen years ago, at the onset of the global financial crisis and the growing impact of the climate crisis, at a time when the possibilities of global networking and the growing awareness of collective responsibility for the survival of the planet came strongly to the fore. The time of crisis certainly accelerated the change in thinking about architectural tasks, reflection on the connection between architecture and society, ecology and the way practice and work are organised. Today, architects are seen as mediators between users and space, preservers of cultural heritage and spatial activists, who solve complex organisational, spatial, housing, ecological and communal problems. Broadly speaking, practices can be divided into three groups that frame different approaches and ways of working.
In the first group we follow the work of the Prostorož association, the svet vmes office and the Pazi!park association, which work in the field of participatory architectural practices, actively involving users and hence raising their awareness. Prostorož works in the field of urbanism and activation of public space, svet vmes explores the architecture of the in-between state of educational institutions, and the fluid collective Pazi!park focuses mainly on the field of landscape architecture and design.
The second group includes heterogeneous practices that are difficult to bring together under a common denominator: the internationally active Some Place Studio currently based in Berlin, Emil Jurcan, who until recently worked at the Praksa cooperative in Pula, and the a2o2 arhitekti office from Ljubljana. Their goal is social and material sustainability, by which they understand architecture as a product of equal cooperation between architect, client and contractor. They cultivate their activism towards the development of new tools for collaboration or communication and strive to work for communities and shared/communal spaces.
The third group presents those whose practice is the most classical among all those presented, at least at first sight: Arhitekti Počivašek Petranovič, Mertelj Vrabič arhitekti, Vidic Grohar arhitekti and Elementarna. They are united by the search for architectural solutions in the interplay of site conditions and client wishes. Their most important instrument is architectural competitions. The design of space is understood as a solution to complex interrelationships; they see the solution in a conceptual approach to space, regardless of scale.
a2o2 arhitekti are Klara Bohinc, Andraž Keršič, Žiga Ravnikar and Eva Senekovič. They have combined their many years of professional experience from renowned local and foreign offices to form a creative, flexible and lively group. They work with a variety of natural materials, in active dialogue with quality craftsmen and contractors. They complement the rich Slovenian tradition of arts and crafts with modern techniques and technologies.
Arhitekti Počivašek Petranovič was founded in 2017 in Ljubljana by Davorin Počivašek and Urban Petranovič. They work with projects of varying scale, from single-family houses to large public buildings and residential districts. They are interested in the context from which they develop the project, the placement in space, the intertwining of nature with the building and the influences of natural elements on the architectural design.
Elementarna are a team formed from the experiences, conversations and work of a group consisting of former fellow students Ambrož Bartol, Dominik Košak, Miha Munda, Rok Staudacher and Matevž Zalar. They seek a balance between pragmatic, technical and rational requirements and experimental, spiritual and emotional content.
Until recently, Emil Jurcan worked as part of Zadruga Praksa in Pula, Croatia. He is interested in direct integration of democracy, solidarity, incorporation of cultural and political activities in the fields of production, education, exchange of knowledge and skills within different economic and social associations. He currently runs his own architectural practice and is taking part in a PhD programme at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Ljubljana.
Mertelj Vrabič arhitekti was founded in 2015 by Maša Mertelj and Matic Vrabič. Their work ranges from designing objects of different volumes, such as tableware and furniture, to exhibitions, interiors and buildings of different sizes. From project to project, they maintain their style and clear conceptual direction.
Pazi!park currently consists of Gaja Trbižan, Urška Kranjc, Luka Vidic, Sara Čok, Meta Petrič, Goran Jakovac, Andreja Štrukelj Sinčič, Maša Šorn, Urška Didovič and Katja Štucin. They are mainly concerned with public open spaces for children, such as playgrounds, neighbourhoods, parks, squares and streets. They are committed to involving users in the spatial planning process.
Prostorož has been working as a non-profit urbanist studio since 2004, researching space and its meaning for local residents and society. Their focus is on overlooked public spaces and their designs tailored to the population. Through their practice, they address the environmental and social challenges facing cities large and small.
Some Place Studio was founded by Bika Rebek and Daniel Prost. Their practice, which they build between New York, Vienna and Berlin, defines an interest in contemporary issues through the lens of architectural discourse and technology, between physical and virtual space. They address issues of sustainability and justice, the search for cooperation, flexibility and diversity.
Until 2014, svet vmes operated as an informal collective of architects in Ljubljana united by a desire to explore and reveal the spatial, social and learning potential of in-between spaces in public buildings and educational institutions. In recent years they have transformed into a research architecture practice led by Jure Hrovat and Ana Kreč.
Vidic Grohar arhitekti is the result of more than 10 years of diverse collaboration between Anja Vidic and Jure Grohar. They neither pursue a specific formal, stylistic goal nor do they want to commit to a particular imperative. Precisely for this reason, they can adapt each project to its unique circumstances.
Slovene proofreading: Inge Pangos
English translation: Arven Šakti Kralj Szomi
Cover image: Klemen Ilovar
Design: Lea Jelenko
Photos from the opening: Simao Bessa
Exhibition view: Klemen Ilovar
The exhibition was co-produced with the Centre for Creativity at the Museum of Architecture and Design. It is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, the Municipality of Ljubljana and the European Regional Development Fund.
The Škuc Gallery programme is supported by the Ministry of Culture and the Municipality of Ljubljana.