EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards 2018 for Plečnik House
The winners of the 2018 EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards, Europe’s top honour in the field, were announced today by the European Commission and Europa Nostra, the leading European heritage network. The 29 laureates from 17 countries have been recognised for their impressive accomplishments in conservation, research, dedicated service, and education, training and awareness-raising. Among this year’s winners is the Plečnik House.
As a contribution to the European Year of Cultural Heritage, this year’s Awards put special emphasis on the European added value of the selected heritage achievements. The winners will be honoured at a high-profile Award ceremony on 22 June in Berlin, during the first ever European Cultural Heritage Summit. During the award ceremony in Berlin seven Grand Prix laureates and the Public Choice Award winner, chosen from among this year’s winning projects, will be announced.
Citizens from around Europe and the rest of the world can now vote online (voting ends on 10 June 2018) for the Public Choice Awardand mobilise support for the winning achievement(s) from their own or another European country.
Among the outstanding European heritage “success stories” awarded in 2018 are: the rehabilitation of a Byzantine church in Greece, with its unique series of frescoes dating from the 8th - 9th century, made possible thanks to a fruitful cooperation between Greek and Swiss organisations; the development of a new method to conserve the heritage of Europe’s historic houses, the result of a joint venture between five institutions based in France, Italy and Poland; the dedication of an international network of NGOs committed to the protection of Venice for over 30 years; and the establishment of a public educational programme that gives all children and young people in Finland the chance to engage with their cultural heritage and which can serve as inspiration for similar initiatives across Europe.
Jože Plečnik was the most important Slovenian architect of the 20th century and was instrumental in shaping the appearance of modern Ljubljana. The renovation and revitalisation of the architect’s former residence began in 2013 to establish a new museum and a new research centre dedicated to the architect's oeuvre. It has also put in place a regular programme of temporary exhibitions and educational activities for various focus groups, led by the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana. Following its reopening in 2015, the Plečnik House has enjoyed a radical increase of 130% in its visitor numbers. It is now one of the top tourist sites in Ljubljana.
With its museum presentation and active educational programme, the house has revitalised visitor appreciation of the work of Plečnik as well as the history of architecture. The project was funded by the City of Ljubljana and the European Regional Development Fund through the Ministry of Culture.
The Plečnik House, where Jože Plečnik lived between 1921 and 1957, has been a public museum since 1974, although the museum’s programme was limited due to conservation issues and a lack of space for pedagogical and andragogical programmes. A broader strategy for future museum activities was considered throughout the comprehensive restoration-conservation of the house. The museum’s activities have been implemented following the principles of sustainable development, participation, inclusion, interaction and creativity. The restoration project has also made the museum accessible to visitors with disabilities.
“The elaborate educational programme, attached to the conservation of the house, has ensured the existence of a secure learning environment for the continuing education of various target groups of visitors as well as encouraging a broader appreciation of architectural heritage. The social value and benefits of the project are reflected in the integration of various social groups into different activities of Plečnik House”, the jury said.
A new permanent exhibition about the life and work of Joze Plečnik was created and activity programmes for various target audiences were designed. Visitors immerse themselves in the architect's home and working environment, and become acquainted with the architect’s commitment to innovation, interdisciplinarity, intercultural dialogue and sustainable development. The museum has also taken steps to create programmes suitable for cultural tourism.
The museum has also been dedicated to increasing awareness of Plečnik across Europe and world. The exhibition Plečnik's Ljubljana has travelled to a number of cities, including Madrid (Spain), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Prague (Czech Republic), Berlin (Germany), Moscow (Russia) and Brasilia (Brazil). The exhibition Plečnik and Prague Castle was a collaboration with The Archives of Prague Castle. An exhibition for the Vatican Museum about Plečnik's sacral architecture and design is forthcoming.
The winners will present their heritage accomplishments at the Excellence Fairon 21 June at the Allianz Forum. They will also contribute to various other events of the European Cultural Heritage Summit“Sharing Heritage - Sharing Values” from 18-24 June in Berlin. Co-hosted by Europa Nostra, the German Cultural Heritage Committee (DNK) and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK), the Summit aims to promote an ambitious European Agenda and Action Plan for Cultural Heritage as a lasting legacy of the European Year of Cultural Heritage.