On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Piranesi magazine, it seems appropriate to celebrate with a small exhibition and the publication of a new spring issue. You therefore have in front of you a magazine with a new graphic layout adapted to the present time, while the concept of its content remains similar to that of the last two decades. We preserve the magazine’s Central European orientation and tradition, which began almost thirty years ago in Piran with the Piran Days of Architecture and continued with the annual Piranesi prize, while the publication of the Piranesi magazine commenced in June 1992. Created on the initiative of the late Vojteh Ravnikar and Tomaž Brate, as well as the designer Ranko Novak, the magazine presented the Villa Müller in Prague by architect Adolf Loos on the cover of its first issue. As one of the architectural icons of 20th century modern architecture, the Villa Müller was the right starting point for the newly created magazine. It was followed in the next issue by a presentation of the Royal Hunting Lodge in Kamniška Bistrica by Plečnik, the third issue featured the Casa Ottolenghi by Carlo Scarpa, and so on. In fact, it was to Carlo Scarpa that we devoted last year’s issue of the Piranesi magazine, presenting his renovated Olivetti exhibition pavilion in Venice.

Of course, the Piranesi magazine has not focused only on older works, built mainly in the 20th century in Central Europe; it has always featured the works that have received awards at the annual Piran Days of Architecture, with an interview with the award winner also normally being published. Alongside Piran-related themes, the magazine has also amply presented contemporary Central European architecture from Slovenia, Italy, Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

The title theme of the present issue is the Ljubljana Opera building, erected in the late 19th century but only now finally obtaining a new image with a magnificent extension housing the majority of additional spaces crucial for the normal functioning of an opera house in the 21st century. Whereas Czech architects Jan Vladimír Hráský and Antonín Hrubý designed the Carniola Provincial Theatre as a miniature version of the Vienna German People’s Theatre, Slovene architects Jurij Kobe and Marjan Zupanc have preserved the beauty of the old building, while providing it with all of the necessary maintenance rooms and technological equipment, draped in a contemporary architectural mantel. This contemporary face may not be appealing to all; however, history shows that opinions and tastes have always varied, and that it is only through time that true quality is revealed.

Another focus of this issue’s content is an interview with Francesco Dal Co, editor of Casabella magazine and one of the most recognisable architectural theoreticians and critics today, and a figure whose lectures have frequently been on the agenda of the Piran Days of Architecture. In each lecture, he has approached an interesting topic from architectural history, presenting it in a temporal, spatial and architectural context.

Contemporary architectural production in the Central European space has been marked by the new theatre, or rather multipurpose hall, in Pécs, Hungary. Pécs was the European Cultural Capital in 2010. For that occasion, a number of buildings forming the city’s cultural infrastructure were built, the new library centre and the aforementioned new theatre being among them. This is something that Maribor, this year’s city of culture, can only dream of, for nothing has remained of the ambitious plans to build a new art gallery, a footbridge and a new layout of the river banks in Lent. In Maribor, the focus has been more on the content and not so much on facilities that would remain in the city to be used even after this year is over. Thus the only thing that will remain to the city, due to the crisis or perhaps something else, will be the memory of the cultural events – there will be no permanent material proof in the form of an architectural imprint.

Apart from contemporary Slovene architecture, represented by the renovation of the castle manor house in Ormož by architect Maruša Zorec, for which she was awarded the Prešeren Fund prize, the magazine features a library project in Prague, a villa in Friuli and the building of the Holy See in Zagreb. The column covering design features the spatial installations of Slovene glass designer Tanja Pak, who has designed four installations at the Ljubljana Castle, thus transforming the castle’s halls into fascinating artistic installations through different time periods.

We hope that you will find something interesting in the renewed Piranesi magazine, and that you will also join us in reading the autumn issue, which will mark the 30th anniversary of the Piran Days of Architecture.