Jana Pohaničová

Science internationalisation, interdisciplinary research, and international cooperation—these are among the success prerequisites for most Slovak universities and other institutions of tertiary education in the upcoming accreditation process. In this context, the fact that our scientific journal ALFA has been published online since 2019, and starting from the calendar year 2021 will only be available in English, is a good signal for the Faculty of Architecture and Design, Slovak University of Technology (Slovak abbrev.: FAD STU). It will make the journal more accessible to a much broader readership and authors with an international reach. I will miss the Slovak language version, as perhaps will other researchers, and its regional focus on Slovak historiography of architecture. Yet I can certainly see the positive in it, especially the chance to take a new perspective on research topics in a wider European context.

To give an example from my own work, let me mention biographical research into personages of the Slovak architectural world. Today, as I write this editorial, we commemorate the 151st birthday anniversary of Michal Milan Harminc (1869 – 1964), a doyen of Slovak architecture. I spent more than a decade researching his life and work, and it has become my own life’s main work, still inspiring and the kind of topic any scientist or researcher dreams of. Many outcomes – in particular scientific monographs [1] and papers published in renowned periodicals and national and international exhibition projects [2] – have allowed me to get to know, interpret and ponder over the remarkable architectural works of this native of the Serbian town of Kulpin, both in Slovakia and in other countries, through territory spanning the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and its successor states: Serbia, Romania and Hungary. Thanks to the internationalisation of research outcomes, more than 300 of his architectural works in various styles, from Historicism through Art Nouveau and Modernism up to Functionalism, became part of Slovak as well as European cultural heritage. During the opening night of the last exhibition dedicated to this outstanding architect, titled #Harminc at the FUGA Gallery in Budapest [3], the leading Hungarian historian and theoretician Dr. Pál Ritoók recognised this as an exceptional contribution to discovering the history of the Danube region’s architecture. Thus the Danube river, connecting Lowland, parts of the former Kingdom of Hungary, Novi Sad, Budapest and Bratislava – i.e. places and cities where the architect worked, formed a symbolic bridge between the unexplored and little-known associations in the life and work of M. M. Harminc.

Similarly, the ALFA journal and the topics it will present in the future may become a platform linking region-based research to a wide European context. Let us do our best to make the most of the chance the journal’s new form gives us.


[1] POHANIČOVÁ, Jana – DULLA, Matúš: Michal Milan Harminc (1869 – 1964): architekt dvoch storočí/Architect of Two Centuries. 1st edition Bratislava: Trio Publishing, 2014. 184 pp; POHANIČOVÁ, Jana – VODRÁŽKA, Peter: #Harminc. 1st English edition. Prague: Gasset, 2018. 208 pp. ISBN 978-80-87079-63-8.

[2] In addition to Slovakia, exhibition projects have displayed the architect’s work in Prague (Czech Republic, 2013), Novi Sad, Kulpin, Belgrade (Serbia, 2014 – 2015), and Budapest (Hungary, 2014, 2020). Latest exhibition: Staviteľ múzeí Michal Milan Harminc (Michal Milan Harminc—Museum Builder), SNM Bratislava, 2019 – 2021, curators: MACHAJDÍKOVÁ, Elena – MARETTA, Robert, Gregor – POHANIČOVÁ, Jana.

[3] Exhibition: #Harminc Két évszázad építésze, FUGA Budapesti Építészeti Központ/Budapest Center of Architecture, Budapest. Hungary, 30 January – 17 February 2020, exhibition curator: Jana Pohaničová.

Keywords: biographical research, context, Michal Milan Harminc, editorial, ALFA, FAD STU