Political Statements and Shifting Temporal Edges: Architectural Heritage for a Yugoslav Socialist City, 1951-1968

Veronica Aplenc, University of Pennsylvania

Thursday, March 2, 2017


Nevil Classroom, Penn Museum

Brown Bag Lecture - Please Bring a Lunch

As Yugoslavia entered socialism after the Second World War, it faced the question of what kinds of architectural heritage it would preserve and present to the local public. The new country sought to develop socialist cities, ones that would change the existing urban environment and so foster a new society. What role would historic architecture have in this ambitious project? This paper argues that, for the emerging socialist city, architectural heritage did not figure exclusively as a political statement on the past, but also as a design statement about the socialist city’s origins. This approach recasts the historic built environment as a conceptual category, a site of debate on the modern, socialist city. The provincial city of Ljubljana began addressing its architectural heritage immediately after socialism was introduced in Yugoslavia. In addition to erecting a series of monuments to socialism, local preservation professionals worked to reinterpret existing architectural heritage for the city. In doing so, they not only evaluated it along design lines, but reconsidered its role conceptually. The debates around this issue reveal how a medieval urban settlement, established in the 1200s just outside the Ljubljana city’s medieval core, was reinterpreted by preservationists in the 1960s as a “rural” preserve.

All events are sponsored by the PoGo Family Foundation.