The Piran Days of Architecture are celebrating their 30th birthday.
It is also the fifth time that they have been organised in cooperation with Špela Kuhar and Ana Struna Bregar. The period since 2008, when Špela informed me that Vojteh would like to speak to me due to some organisational changes, has flown past with appropriate bustle and new experiences.


Architectural Diversity also emphasises geographical, linguistic and cultural diversity. Throughout the centuries, regardless of global tendencies, diversity has been reflected in a culture’s architecture. Moreover, architectural diversity fosters spatial and cultural opportunities, while simultaneously reflecting personal attitudes toward architectural problems. It is defined within the following three principles – think global, act local; architectural and cultural identity; and sustainability within the local context. Nine architectural offices respond in their own way to the social, cultural and technological changes of contemporary society. They search and test new patterns, modules and concepts of living. They research new methods of planning. They create multidimensional connections between the environment, social systems and people.


New Challenges

At a time of global climatic, environmental and financial crisis, we have arrived at the realisation that its creation has been spurred primarily by a global crisis of values – moral, ethical, economic and social. The situation that has arisen is an opportunity to re-evaluate the existing system and actively face up to the challenges of sustainable development, especially in architecture, which actively shapes our living environment and how we live, thus also shaping the development and the future of civilisation. So what are the real challenges of sustainable development? How is modern architecture responding to the crisis? What is the nature of the moral responsibility and ethical values of an architect? How can architecture redirect an aggressive economy to the development of sustainable civilisational values and assets? Why is high quality architecture an objective, not just a subjective interest? The conference – the most successful to date, as most of the lecturers were recipients of the most prestigious architectural awards in subsequent years – provided an encounter with nine different architectural viewpoints from different continents.


The Reanimation of Architecture

Architecture has a powerful impact on the design of space and on our lives. But is contemporary architecture, and are contemporary architects, responding to the present situation of global climatic, environmental and financial crisis? We believe that we should re-evaluate the existing architectural principles and criteria. Instead of using more and more natural space, resources and energy, architecture should focus on the restoration, renovation and reanimation of architecture, especially of disregarded and ignored architecture. The conference brought together eight different architectural viewpoints from different countries, and attempted to point out that the essence of sustainable architecture is high quality architectural design and individual moral responsibility. High quality architecture is an objective interest, not just subjective interest, as it raises the awareness of modern society.


Active Architecture

Architecture is not passive. Architecture is already active in its elementarity. In today’s world, which is governed by capitalist economic logic and binary virtual thinking, in which it seems that we have lost step with time, architecture must therefore preserve or regain the role of an active designer of space and living and an engine of civilisation’s progress. Architecture activates society’s social and economic relations. Architecture represents the culture and power of a nation, its identity. Architecture shapes space and mankind. It respects the environment, tradition and contemporary technology. It designs new systems of living. It challenges the imagination. It inspires creativity … Architecture is responsive. Architecture is active.


30 years/utilitas, firmitas, venustas

A 30th jubilee is an opportunity to look back, an opportunity for a review and a retrospective of 30 years of (co)creating space and society. Such a jubilee is also an opportunity to thank the founders and long term organisers – the architects of the conference: Vojteh Ravnikar (1943–2010), Matjaž Garzarolli, Sonja Ana Hoyer, Ranko Novak, Boris Podrecca, Luciano Semerani, Jurij Kobe, Branko Silađin,Marjan Vrabec, Janez Koželj, Andrej Hrausky, Tomaž Brate (1963–2008), Robert Potokar, Giovanni Vragnaz, as well the director of Obalna galerija Piran Anton Biloslav and museum consultant Majda Božeglav-Japelj. Thanks also goes to all of those who have supported the Piran Days of Architecture over the years.

Photo: Branko Silađin

The Piran Days of Architecture – PDA, which, as was noted in the introduction at the time of the 25th anniversary, were “born in the period of critical regionalism and later post-modernism, a belief in high technology …”, have dealt with 29 different themes and, irrespective of the currently fashionable events, have constantly inquired into context and identity – today the most topical themes of our globalised planet: Architecture in Context, Continuity in Architecture, Identity in Architecture, Mastery and Art in Architecture, Imagination in Architecture, Architecture outside the Centres, Architecture from Architecture, The Ephemeral in Architecture, The Architecture of the New Autonomy, Ten Years After, The Architect and Politics, Architecture in a Mirror, Architecture and Magazines, Topicality of the Sixties, The Architecture of Individual Expression, The Responsibility of Form, Stocktaking, Does the House Still Build the Town?, Architecture and Context, Between Vision and Reality, Between the Rational and the Irrational in Architecture, The Architect and Society (Fountainhead), Architectural Policies & Louis Kahn: My Architect, Exhibited Architecture, PDA / 25 Years of Architecture, Architectural Diversity, New Challenges, The Reanimation of Architecture, Active Architecture … Although times change, and we change with them, the essential components of architectural values remain standing on three Vitruvian foundations – functionality, solidity and beauty.