Slovakia, or what could be the meaning of the architectural periphery?

Henrieta Moravčíková


In words of art historian Ján Bakoš Slovakia is characterized as a “crossroad of cultures” whose particularity lays in “the sharp clashes of intense but evanescent impulses on the one hand and long-lasting up to conservative traditions” on the other hand[1]. Remelting of the “evanescent impulses“ to the form acceptable by the domestic environment, their moderation and even deformation, characterizes the Slovak architectural scene all along the 20th century. “Sharp exerted positions are being abandoned in the name of the values important in this environment.” What are these values? Probably all is about practicality and elementary functionality. Pragmatic solutions are well received in Slovak environment since long ago. Tightly connected with the general preference of practicality is the unbalanced relation between the architect and client. Another characteristic attribute of Slovak architecture is the constant effort to overcome the feeling of backwardness and inferiority in relation to the more developed western neighbours. Polarity created by the permanent polemic between the western oriented innovators and traditionalists could represent the third important character of the local scene. All of the mentioned features are not unique; in variations they happen anywhere, yet their combination and intensity revealed the uniqueness of the local scene.

To illustrate the specific inner mechanism of functioning of the local architecture scene the contribution concentrates on outstanding historical situations, works of architecture and architecture texts of the 20th century in Slovakia.


[1] Bakoš, J.: In: Problémy dejín výtvarného umenia na Slovensku. Veda 2002, p. 16.


Keywords: architecture, slovakia, centre, central Europe, periphery, theory