Legitimizing the Architecture of Edvard Ravnikar and Kim Swoo Geun. Between Regionalism and National Narratives

45+ Post-War Modern Architecture in Europe, pp. 13-24
Stephanie Herold, Biljana Stefanovska (eds.)
Forum Stadt- und Regionalplanung | Berlin | 2012 | ISBN 978-3-7983-2435-0

Slovenia and South Korea do not seem to have much in common at first sight. Yet both countries were affected in similar ways by economic, social and political changes during the post-war reconstruction. While Slovenia was a part of Tito’s communist Yugoslavia, general Park Chung-hee ruled South Korea. The new authoritarian regimes used every opportunity to consolidate their political power by controlling every bit of society. Architecture was no exception in this sense since the regimes systematically constructed and exploited important national projects to legitimize the dominant ideology.

The paper attempts to address some of the practices, which were to legitimize the architecture and consequently the dominant ideology in modernizing Slovenia and South Korea. It compares the architecture and legitimization of the Regional People’s Committee in Kranj in Slovenia and Buyeo National Museum in South Korea, designed by Edvard Ravnikar and Kim Swoo Geun, who were two of the most prominent modernist architects in each country. Although they eagerly followed the principles of modernist architecture, the two buildings were also affected by what the architects perceived as regional and national culture. It seems that the legitimization of architecture in this case was not framed only by personal experiences or cultural references of the architects but also by the dominant ideology, which in Yugoslavia favoured cultural diversity, while in South Korea it strived for a strong and uniform national culture.

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