On the occasion of the 110th anniversary of the birth of architect Vlasto Kopač, Plečnik's student and collaborator, which is being celebrated this year, the exhibition highlights the versatility of this too often overlooked architect's work in many fields, from architecture to monument conservation, from mountaineering to graphic design.
In 1934, Vlasto Kopač (1913–2006) joined Plečnik’s seminar at the Department of Architecture of the Faculty of Technical Sciences in Ljubljana. His daughter, Mojca Kopač, recalled an anecdote: "Young Vlasto asked Professor Plečnik for a spot in his seminar. Plečnik's first reply was, 'Everything is full, go ask Vurnik!' However, Vlasto was resourceful and said, 'There's still some room underneath the window. How about I set up a board on two sawhorses and put it away every afternoon?' Plečnik considered this and responded, 'Yes, this could work, but I will have to ask our cleaning lady, Ana, if she doesn't mind.' She didn't mind, and thus Kopač was accepted."
The professor soon sensed extraordinary work habits and drawing skills in the talented student. He invited him to actively participate in his current projects, which were at the time the planning of the Garden of All Saints (Žale Cemetery), Sluice gates on the Ljubljanica River, and a sacral building in Veli Iž, Dalmatia.
At the start of World War II, Vlasto Kopač, a dedicated communist, joined the resistance movement against the occupying forces. As a member of the Liberation Front, he utilised his skills as a graphic designer and illustrator to contribute to the design of partisan publications, money vouchers, and other important documents. Additionally, Kopač was involved in the underground printing operations, where he forged the occupier's identification papers, allowing the resistance fighters to move around undetected.
In October 1943, he was arrested and transported to the Dachau concentration camp in Germany. He remained there until his return in June 1945. Subsequently, between October 1947 and June 1952, he faced arrest once again in his home country after being found guilty in the notorious Dachau trials. Initially sentenced to death, the ruling was later appealed and modified to a 20-year prison term involving forced labour. Moreover, he experienced the confiscation of his property and the loss of his civic rights. Despite the unjust sentence, Vlasto Kopač's spirit remained unbroken, and he steadfastly held onto his beliefs. He could always find solace and support within the embrace of his family, who provided him with a safe haven. Their lives were challenging, made even more difficult by the painful loss of many friends who disowned them. Finally, in 1971, the District Court of Ljubljana overturned his conviction from the Dachau trials and granted him full rehabilitation.
After World War II, Vlasto Kopač dedicated himself to designing numerous monuments, memorials, and tombstones as tributes to the victims of the National Liberation Struggle. Among his notable works is the renowned Path along the Wire, also referred to as the Path of Remembrance and Comradeship (1958–1976).
With great responsibility and enthusiasm so characteristic of him, Vlasto also worked as a conservator, remaining very active in the field even after retirement. His experiences were crucial during the successful renovation of Plečnik’s Žale Cemetery (1985–1992) and Ljubljana’s Central Market (1994–1995).
Vlasto Kopač's lifelong endeavor is indubitably the conservation and tourist development of the scenic Velika planina plateau. Since his first visit as a student, back in 1935, when he spent a summer among the shepherds, he was captivated by its archaic beauty, unusual pastoral architecture, mountain vistas, and the people with which he forged friendships. Through studying the plateau's architectural evolution and collecting ethnographic items, Kopač embraced his role as an environmentalist and activist, striving to preserve the plateau's original essence. He devoted his entire life to safeguarding this exceptional natural and cultural heritage.
The majority of the material presented in the exhibition comes from the Plečnik Collection of the MGML and the private collection of Mojca Kopač. In 1999, Vlasto Kopač handed over to the Plečnik House Collection a collection of precious sketches by Plečnik and his study drawings from the years 1934–1941, when he was a student and later Plečnik's collaborator in the project of building the Garden of All Saints and the Sluice gates on the Ljubljanica River. He carefully preserved his drawings, thus preserving valuable material that provides insight into the great architect's design.
For the exhibition, some of the key plans, Kopač's special creations and photographs have also been loaned by the National Museum of Contemporary and Modern History of Slovenia, the Museum of Architecture and Design and the Inter-municipal Museum Kamnik.
1 January, 1 November, 25 December: Closed
24 and 31 December: 10:00–14:00
Visits of the original Plečnik’s home are only possible with a guided tour that begines every full hour.
RECOMMENDED: you can buy your tickets online and book your date here.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or +386 1 280 16 04.
Visiting the Plečnik House (price includes permanent exhibition Plečnik and a guided tour of Plečnik's home)
Adults: 8 €
Students: 6 €
Children: 6 €
Adults over the age of 60: 6 €
Families: 18 €
Unemployed visitors: 6 €
Visitors with disabilities: 6 €
Free admission for carers
ICOM, PRESS, SMD: free admission
Guided tours for private groups of more than 7 visitors need to be booked at least 5 working days in advance.
Visiting the Plečnik House with a prior reservation
Groups of up to 4 persons: 38 €
Groups of over 4 persons: 9 €/person, reduced 7 €/person
Visiting the permanent exhibition Plečnik
Adults: 5 €
Students: 3 €
Children: 3 €
Adults over the age of 60: 3 €
Families: 12 €
Unemployed visitors: 3 €
Visitors with disabilities: 3 €
Free admission for carers
ICOM, PRESS, SMD: free admission