Opening Up of the Space

authors Rok Žnidaršič, Mojca Gabrič, Samo Mlakar, Žiga Ravnikar
project Victims of All Wars Memorial, Ljubljana, Slovenia
written by Lenart Piano

The competition brief for the creation of the Memorial to the Victims of All Wars asked for its realization as well. That simple task was as self-explanatory as it was erroneous. Indeed, the architectural office Medprostor, the winner of the public, anonymous competition for the creation of the monument in 2013, did not create a monument, but actually space. In fact, they opened up the space. That is, in my opinion, the real success of the winning project, that up to now was not entirely clear; it created a space for confronting the unresolved political conflict, latently present in the Slovenian society (and which is, depending on the occasion, being used by certain political options to collect votes in elections, utter empty phrases and play the blame game). The winning project offered a stage for this conflict and thus uncovered the possibility of its resolution. Architecture is not a tool for transforming the society, but at the same time it is not completely powerless in generating social change. By thoughtfully articulating space, it can make the social contradictions it witnesses apparent and force them in a way to take a stance, helping us to confront them. Only then will the possibility of their resolution occur. The importance of the political aspect in architecture becomes evident here - the effects of architecture are (possibly) political even though architecture itself is not. The winning project was created by the architectural office Medprostor, acting in such a way since its construction. It was conceived so that it would not function as an integral part of everyday city movements. There is a clear line between the site and the city space. The massive concrete elements that form the structure are elevated on a platform that clearly separates the architectural and simultaneously political space from the urbs, a space defined by the economy. At the same time, these elements are still well integrated into the urban space also due to the fact that they explicitly follow Plečnik’s city plan in that part of Ljubljana.