The Faculty of Architecture’s School: A Brief Autobiography
Marking the centennial of establishing the Higher Technical School (1919-2019) and the architecture program which has since taken several administrative forms, the Croatian Museum of Architecture hosts one of the parallel exhibitions reflecting on this significant jubilee. This exhibition is based on acknowledging a certain sensibility, approach or context which we could call the handwriting and the permanent memory of the Zagreb school, under the umbrella of the Faculty of Architecture. The intention and ambition are thus to illustrate a focused developmental line of architectural thought of a school of architecture which included architects, urban planners, theoreticians and historians which have all jointly worked along the described paths.
The exhibition will be structured through several segments. Following the introductory part which briefly elaborates a generational selection of presented teachers, beginning with Viktor Kovačić (1874-1924) and ending with Ivan Crnković (1941-2017), the range actually demonstrates a homogenous but nonetheless evolutive trajectory marking the designerly approach of the selected authors. The works of these authors are thus not viewed as a sequence of particular features of their individual authorial approach, but rather a body of work which, in its shared interference, exposes a consistent handwriting of the Zagreb school.
The first chapter of ARCHIVE is dedicated to displaying authentic artefacts of teachers at the Faculty of Architecture which illustrate a similarity, or spirit connecting their work. The illustrative material including photographs, original publications, drawings and objects, the selection includes works of architects, urban planners, theoreticians and historians that contributed to articulating the profile of the Zagreb school through text, image or drawing.
The second chapter is a HEMEROTECA comprised of drawings, sections and characteristic renderings of selected projects, delving into an interpretation or – more accurately – demonstration of the handwriting of the school. Each chosen illustration is followed by a brief commentary explaining the role of the chosen drawing within the sequence.
The third chapter addresses the EDUCATION of the architect. It is illustrated through a series of analytical models followed by short texts and descriptions of the designer’s method. The last chapter – ‘work in CONTEXT’ is comprised of selected photographic depictions of executed work. The aforementioned chapters are represented firstly archivally (authentic), and then analytically and interpretationally (text) which are then concluded by contextual illustrations manifesting their wider cultural, urban and social influence.
The exhibited works are those of deceased authors, and are therefore maintained within the institution of the Museum. The generational span between Viktor kovačić to Ivan Crnković opens up a historical and architectural timeline ranging from protomodernism, modernism to postmodernism and a sociological time of capitalist and socialist modernizations marked by ruptures of the First and Second World War, as well as the Homeland War. The exhibition is a statement, or an answer, of a discipline brought up at the Faculty of Architecture in Zagreb in the context of a discourse on autonomy of architecture facing a certain period, an answer which even then sought to achieve a result far beyond the circumstances of its given time.