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Milan Mihelič

Ljubljana, Slovenia
1 of 3Gojko Zupan

Milan Mihelič was born on July 20, 1925 in Dolenje Lazi near Ribnica in Dolenjska region. He studied architecture at Ljubljana’s Architecture Faculty of Engineering and at the Polytechnic in Prague (1947/48). He was a student of Edvard Ravnikar later on in Ljubljana where he graduated in 1954 with a conceptual plan for the Technical Museum of Slovenia. Immediately after his studies, he became actively involved in architectural planning in the group for the construction of the Gospodarsko razstavišče. In 1959, together with Branko Simčič and Ilija Arnautović, he won the Prešeren Award for the complex of Hall A at the Gospodarsko razstavišče. Since 1955 he collaborated as a planner and researcher at the Institute for residential construction OLO Ljubljana, after 1962 he worked in the company Konstrukta as the main designer and longtime director. He retired in 1990. He was a dynamic organiser and promoter of the architecture of the sixties, seventies and eighties. He was also a president of the Union of Architects of Slovenia during 1963 and 1967. He was involved in integrated architectural and urban planning and design. He won most of his orders with victories and successes in competitions. In 1981 he was elected an associate member and in 1987 a full member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SAZU).

Works

Mihelič's buildings grew up along the Bavarski dvor the Ljubljana city highway (SCT high-rise, building at Kersnikova ulica, pump at Tivolska) and at the Gospodarsko razstavišče (halls B and C, Konstrukta and the RTV high-rise, Slovenijales department store). Among Mihelič's works are the Sava residential towers (with Arnautović) in Ljubljana, the Market department store in Osijek, the Stoteks department store in Novi Sad, the S2 office tower at the Bavarski dvor in Ljubljana and the extension to Hall B at the Ljubljana Exhibition and Convention Center. Duha in Stožice in Ljubljana.

Socialist Architecture

Mihelič's architecture is characterized by the same thing that can be said for the entire post-war architectural production in Slovenia. Although after the war and the founding of socialist Yugoslavia there was much talk of building the architecture of the new socialist era, which would glorify the new state and its ideology, this ideological dictate was only moderately enforced in practice. There was little actual socialist characterization, characteristic of the urban landscape of the Warsaw Pact countries, and architecture was formed, also marked in Slovene architectural theory as extended functionalism, which remained "attached" to the stylistic and constructional orientations of the West.

From Modernism to Postmodernism

Mihelič's career covered the entire development of Slovene architecture: from mature through high modernism to postmodernism, marked by the disintegration of every stylistic uniformity. Milan Mihelič's career path is interesting precisely because of the architect's "flexibility" and constant progress. Although he built his reputation with his high modernism with a strong emphasis on structuralism, he also blended into the postmodernism, which critically shook semi-past modernism and expanded its formal repertoire.

Ljubljana, Slovenia
Bostjan, February 18th, 2021