A Renovation Model that is Difficult to Repeat

“The analytical attitude to buildings that together make up a complex, along with their elements, and an attention to minute details, led to the application of diverse intervention methodologies.”


Photo: Tadej Bolta

Photo: Tadej Bolta

Photo: Tadej Bolta

Photo: Tadej Bolta

Needless to say, the significance of the architectural renovation of the complex at Karunova Street was very symbolic indeed. The responsibility of the designers working in Plečnik’s home and studio was, to put it mildly, enormous. Many an analysis was necessary, as well as “archaeological” work, discussions, attempts, acts of respect and risk-taking, in this very productive relationship with the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia based in Ljubljana, and the results show evidence of that. Every segment of the buildings demanded a high level of attention, as well as specific decisions related to it; this is because what is called Plečnik’s House is in itself a non-unified and not always harmonious architectural complex, the result of an accumulation of volumes and spaces in time, and of not-always-clearly-readable adaptations and renovations.

It is particularly interesting that such a thorough analytical attitude towards the buildings making up the complex, as well as their constituent parts, led the designers to apply diverse methods of intervention. Firstly, an entirely conservatory approach was applied that marked the site of the private life and work of the father of contemporary Slovene architecture. Such an approach, completely logical and necessary, nevertheless required complex and radical interventions: the poor construction and material conditions of some of the basic architectural elements of Plečnik’s House meant that they needed to be renovated in the context of the climate-related and technical standards of a contemporary museum. At the same time, the renovation of the garden – Plečnik’s own small architectural and natural arcadia – demanded a somewhat different intervention, one that had to respect the preservation of the “patina” of time within the scope of a dynamic that is completely different from architecture, and which is instead conditional on the knowledge of living nature.


The complete article is published in Winter issue of Piranesi No. 37 Vol. 23.

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Project Data

Project Design
Maruša Zorec
Maša Živec, gradbena prenova in oprema/Construction Renovation and Equipment
Matjaž Bolčina, oprema in razstava/Equipment and Exhibition
Scale Models: Tadej Bolta
Landscape Arrangement of the Garden: Ana Kučan, Mojca Kumer, Akka d.o.o.
Conservator in Charge: Irena Vesel
Conservator in Charge of the Garden: Darja Pergovnik

City Municipality of Ljubljana

Year of Design 2012
Year of Implementation 2015

Cellar: 43,95 m²
Ground floor: 383,02 m²
Attic: 289,29 m²

Plot Size: 3.263 m²

Built Surface: 604,41 m²

Annual Consumption of Energy: 480 (kWh/(m2a)

Cost of Investment:
2.260.000,00 €

Structural Engineering
ELEA iC d.o.o

Electrical Planning
TE BIRO, d.o.o.

Mechanical Services
CELARC d.o.o.

Lead Construction and Finishing Works Provider
Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, Restoration Centre
Makro 5 gradnje, d.o.o.