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Slovak Art Association

Bratislava, Slovakia
1 of 3ÚSTARCH SAV

The Slovak Art Association (Umelecka beseda slovenská) was founded in 1921. It affiliated a complete spectrum of visual art disciplines. In 1924, the Association launched a competition for a project of its own club and exhibition facility. Young Czech architects practising in Bratislava, Alois Balan and Jiri Grossmann, won the competition.

Functional core of the building represents a large exhibition hall (dedicated to paintings) and a small exhibition hall (dedicated to sculptures). In the basement of the building, the rear spaces, archives, storage rooms and a small meeting room has been located. A club/restaurant with a terrace was located on the upper floor. An evolution from classical to modern and functionalist architecture are well detectable in this building. While there are still traces of semicircular decoration in the entranceway and the lobby has a heavy-paneled ceiling, the large exhibition hall is already built of simple reinforced concrete skelet and on the north side it is covered with a glazed, industrial-type roofing. Exposed brick masonry cladding of the facades reminds of the early Dutch modern. In spite of these apparent contradictions, the building appearance is quite consistent and it became a landmark in the advent of modern architecture in Slovakia.