Maribor – A small city with great potential
The Architektur im Ringturm exhibition series has selected Slovenia’s second largest city as the theme of its latest show. In 2012 Maribor was named European Capital of Culture. An architectural city panorama ranging from the past to the future awaits the visitor.
Maribor, only 15 kilometres from the Austrian border and just under a half of an hour by car from Graz, was mainly known as Slovenia’s most important industrial town in the past. Today. The city with its 95,000 inhabitants is also known beyond the country’s borders for its excellent wine. Yet even in architecture Maribor has been able to shape its own identity over the past two decades.
A city under the sway of history
The exhibition is divided into five thematic areas each of which corresponds to the distinct periods of the recent history since the 1920s. A huge panorama aerial shot of Maribor at night welcomes the visitor to the exhibition. Here one can recognize the so-called “grid”, a network structure measuring about 500 metres, on which the city on the Drau was constructed in ancient times. In the decades following 1945 Slovenia – an autonomous republic of former Yugoslavia and the most western part of the communist sphere of power – was known an experimental ground, which also had an effect on the architecture. Since Slovenia obtained its independence in 1991, a lively architecture scene has evolved in Maribor. This period is also the thematic focus of the exhibition.
Icons of independence
In Tezno, the industrial part of the city, located a bit away from the medieval city centre with its heritage-protected buildings, the first architectural icons were created in the mid-1990s. With its colours and soft forms, the administrative and office building Menerga, designed by architect Korpnik in 2002, is one of the precursors of high-quality architecture in areas where such constructions could not be found earlier. The first icon in the harbour area was the Kolosej, a multiplex cinema, a black box conceived as a “camera obscura” with a textile façade and integrated lighting elements. The conservation of valuable architecture and careful additions to existing buildings has always been a concern of committed local architects. The most successful example of this approach is the redesign and transformation of the former Minorite convent into Maribor’s puppet theatre. Ingenious strategies for the auditorium and the stage have turned this building into a contemporary icon.
Maribor’s architecture asserting itself
The fact that architecture has become a household word in Maribor is also visible in the weekly supplement Arhitekturna beseda (The architectural word) published by the daily paper Večer. With Maribor being named European Capital of Culture, the city’s House of Architecture launched its activities. At this year’s Architecture Biennale in Venice, Maribor will be presented in the Slovenian pavilion.
Moving on to the year 2022...
According to the curator of the exhibition at the Ringturm Uroš Lobnik Maribor was perhaps named European Capital of Culture prematurely. For this reason visitors will have a chance to get a visionary glimpse of what the city might look like ten years from now. But already in 2013 Maribor will be showing a new side of itself as the European Youth Capital.
Marburg – Maribor
A city panorama
Until 19 October 2012
Vienna Insurance Group
Ausstellungszentrum im Ringturm (Exhibition centre in the Ringturm)
1., Schottenring 30
Catalogue for the exhibition: € 25 / concessions € 15
Maribor/Marburg an der Drau
A short history of the city
The Austrian-Slovenian historian Tamara Griesser-Pecar provides the reader with a short, fascinating history of the city of Maribor. Starting from the “Marchburg” as the city was known in the early Middle Ages, she traces the town’s development into a self-asserting, culturally rich urban centre, while not failing to also address conflicts and still existing tensions.
Tamara Griesser-Pecar: Maribor/Marburg an der Drau – Eine kleine Stadtgeschichte (A short history of the city)