After World War II, in the changed socio-political circumstances of the newly established socialist state of Yugoslavia, in contrast to the pre-war period, almost exclusively female students studied under the leading Slovene neo-classicist architect Jože Plečnik (1872–1957), who at that time still taught at the Ljubljana Faculty of Architecture. In her essay Tina Potočnik focuses on those women architects who were professionally active when the crucial period in Slovene twentieth-century architecture began and reached its peak in the 1960s. Their professional position and the role of their work in the formation of the new socialist country and the new society is discussed, with special regard to the following questions: How did Plečnik’s female students navigate between his architectural views (influenced/inspired by tradition), foreign influences and the needs and directions of a socialist state, such as solving the housing problem and building public facilities? Why did they, in the time of the socialist regime, study and work under Plečnik, known for his interlacing of architecture and religion? Were they because of their gender seen as less likely to succeed professionally and thus directed to him, since Plečnik’s work was not really appreciated at that time, or were they just not enticed by ideological conformity as some of their male colleagues were? Where did they find work after concluding their studies and on what kind of commissions? Furthermore, this essay sheds light on professional as well as personal relationship between Plečnik and his female students. On the basis of archival research and interviews with Plečnik’s female students who are still alive the paper deepens our understanding of the position of women architects in socialist Europe.
Potočnik, Tina. 2016. “Female Students of Jože Plečnik Between Tradition and Modernism.” Ideological Equals: Women Architects in Socialist Europe 1945-1989, uredili Mary Pepchinski, Mariann Simon. Routledge.
»Ideological Equals: Women Architects in Socialist Europe 1945-1989 presents an alternative narrative of women in architecture. A topic often considered from the perspective of difference, this edited collection conversely focuses on the woman architect in a position of equality with their male counterparts. The book looks at nations in Eastern Europe under Socialism where, between 1945 and 1989, a contrasting vision of gender relations was propagated in response to the need for engineers and architects. It includes contributions from established and emerging academics in the fields of 20th century history, art history, and architectural history in Central and Eastern Europe exploring the political, economic and social mechanisms which either encouraged or limited the rise of the woman architect. Investigating the inherent contradictions of Socialist gender ideology and practice, this illustrated volume examines the individuals in different contexts; the building types the women produced; the books and theory they were able to write; their contacts to international organizations; and their representation on both sides of the Iron Curtain.«