Exhibition Oris House of architecture
Exhibition of Rok Žnidaršič
Exhibition opening – 19 November 2021, Oris House of architecture
Medprostor and Time-In-Between
In 1924, Mies van der Rohe argued that “architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space.” Is a kind of reversal possible? Can we think of an architecture that is not firmly and unequivocally anchored in one particular cultural or existential moment; that grows out of its time but can simultaneously express multiple epochs; that lasts a long time and is capable of ageing, changing, and offering different readings? Such architecture is interested in time (or temporality) understood as a concept that also refers to history and culture, to existential time, time of nature, time of material … All these times have their own flow, their own speed and oscillations of current, their own plots.
Just below the top of a grassy hill, at the edge of the woods stands a wooden family house of archetypically simple, yet somewhat unusual volume. Its purpose is not immediately clear, and to the non-architect perhaps not even the time of its construction. The project is resolved through the interplay between the main plot of the house (how does a modern family live in nature?) and a series of small dramaturgical themes. But this ‘modern time’ of modularity and prefabrication is intertwined with the ‘natural time’ of the ageing wooden membrane that changes over time and which decays in different ways, depending on different micro-climatic conditions. The membrane of the building resists being subordinated to a human fear of the collapse of the shelter and becomes a detector of natural forces, it mediates between two times: that of its inhabitants’ residence and the battle between nature and materials.
But these anthropological interests and the different times they are linked to are not separated from the time of the surroundings. The house is not only introverted, it also acts as an amplifier for the experience of nature, as a medium that helps tenants to cultivate sensitivity to the environment.
Vižmarje Brod Sports Hall
At first glance, the Vižmarje Brod Sports Hall seems an autonomous, non-contextual facility. The hall was added to the complex of a picturesque single-storey primary school, reminiscent of the surrounding suburban fabric of single-family houses, it tries to fit into the homogeneity of the tidy suburbs of Ljubljana (and Slovenia), in which Miloš Kosec has recognized a “fear of society.”
Within this homogeneous, linear suburban plot, the sports hall and the public space around it take their users to a time of different priorities and values. The social and urban fabric of the suburbs belongs to a domestic time that is static, does not tolerate acceleration, and does not promote diversity. The time of the hall is open and changeable, even the greatest accelerations are possible in it, social interactions are strengthened in it, both frustrations and pleasures are openly expressed there.
Abstraction, reduction of form and tectonic discipline are the means of discreetly distancing the hall from the environment; after all, it is first necessary to create a difference in order to recognize positions and establish a dialogue.
Renovation of the Vrlovčnik homestead
It is in the renovation of the Vrlovčnik homestead that the issue of multi-layered time or times-in-between is explored most literally. Here, Medprostor was confronted by three abandoned, rural buildings on very steep and secluded land, from where a magnificent view of dramatic mountain peaks opens up.
Medprostor combines two seemingly opposing methods. The first is forensic, almost obsessive research and recycling of the substance of existing buildings.
This means an extremely thoughtful reading of the layers of walls and wooden elements by analysing their architectural and anthropological role. Finally, through the removal, addition or replacement of building elements within the old buildings, new spatial situations are created. The whirlpools of old and new spatial logic are emerging, within which the essence of the old is more clearly revealed.
An architecture emerges that passes transversally through history; in which the past and the present are at the same time autonomous and intertwined, and within which the origin and role of an individual building element are, at the same time, important and not important. Both old and new architectural elements support each other (and in a way serve as an alibi for one another) in order to emancipate themselves from the conventional and free themselves from some traditional roles.