Thirty years ago, one had to believe, as one should also believe today, in the purpose of socialising and in activities in search of the common thoughts, paths and objectives of architectural actions, so as to promote an attitude towards space, as well as its appropriate interpretation.
An analysis of the 30-year impact of the activities within the Piran Days would undoubtedly contribute to forming and formulating the format of today’s and tomorrow’s activities, as well as its consequences. Such an analysis would enable us to establish some value criteria and relationships between the offered and the rewarded, by considering the traces left behind by the works from today’s perspective. The consideration of available data on exhibitors, jury composition, rewarded works and argumentation through today’s lenses is valid not because one might seek mistakes or hits, but to gain awareness of the importance of identifying the path indicated by the awards or the path that should be indicated. Numerous initiatives on my part to process and publish available data have met with no response. My intention to do the same on the occasion of the present anniversary also concluded unsuccessfully. I have numerous alibis, but what is left for me is to believe in the potential interest of a young researcher in selecting a topic for his/her PhD thesis entitled “The Contribution and Potential of the Piran Days of Architecture and the Piranesi Award for the Development of the Culture of Space in Central Europe”.

Photo: Branko Silađin

I do not believe only in this contribution, but also in the potential that I primarily see in the Piranesi Award. In past years, I had numerous long-running conversations with Vojteh and some members of the organising committee of the time, as well as the new organising committee, about the need for the award to have a more vigorous and clear structure and direction, with the objective of becoming a clearly profiled Central European Award for Architecture and the Culture of Space. By analysing the existing European awards, one can easily observe that such an award for architecture, with a clear profile that forms an inseparable relationship with the identity of space (representing a basis for the culture of space), might be recognised as a segment of one of the fundamental EU programmes – Creative Europe.

The 24-year Central European tradition of the Piranesi Award could without a doubt form a solid and sound basis for the unquestionably strenuous and complicated, but also promising, battle with state and European administrations to make use of European funding programmes and receive the high patronage of the EU.

The focus so far has been on bringing together a group of available attractive lecturers and on socialising. Today, this can hardly form a basis for sustainable development. Realistically speaking, Piran cannot compete with numerous contemporary marketing gatherings based on a large number of visitors and consequently strong financial support of manufacturers.

All of this speaks of the need for introducing new contents, so as to preserve and utilise the acquired values of the Piran identity, to keep pace with the pragmatism of the time by pursuing the objective of active participation in the formation of contemporary paths in space creation.

A long-lasting review of these theses has led to an organisation vision:

In addition to appropriate funding, which is surely not negligible for our context, it is essential to mobilise people’s enormous energy and organisation skills. A sound base is already in place. It is certainly necessary to professionalise year-round activities for project implementation, on-going communication with selectors, jury members, financial institutions of states and the EU and the organisers of the Piran Days. Both commitment and organisation skills are important (the Pritzker Prize is managed by just one person).

However, successful results are guaranteed by the organising committee participating in the selection of selectors with authority and the jury, which should not consist of too many members and would have a key role. In order to assure continuity, it would be desirable to have multi-annual terms, or annual replacement of part of the jury and selectors.

Lecturers should be new jury members and selectors (contrary to today’s practice), and an exhibition of nominees should be held, while the award presentation should represent the climax that, in addition to sustained previous work, is corroborated by the jury just prior to the proclamation at the end of the Days.

Photo: Branko Silađin

The “Piranesi” magazine was initiated to provide support to both the Days as well as to the Award. It would be very efficient if the magazine was also a part of activities for a new launch of the Piran Days.

Instead of resorting to many emotions, personal recollections of exciting life events in the past 30 years, I decided to use the available space to present this vision of my beliefs for the next 30…!