Gizela Suklje (March 25th 1909, Jelsa, October 31th 1994, Ljubljana) was a Slovenian architect. Born to middle class family started her studies at the Faculty of Technology Ljubljana from 1927-28 and graduated in 1932 as the first female student of Joze Plecnik. He considered profession of architect to be similar of the one of priest -reserved for men only. Gizela won the French national scholarship to study at the Sorbonne, Paris (1933-34). At that time she worked with Auguste Perret. Other Slovenians who studied in Paris were engaged in the studio of Le Corbusier, Suklje was the only who worked with Perret as recommended to him by Plecnik.
Collaboration with Plecnik Upon her return to Ljubljana in 1934 she became a volunteer assistant at the Ljubljana Department of Architecture. She passed a professional architectural exam in Belgrade in 1938. Ever since returning from Paris until June 1946, she collaborated with Plecnik on the projects of NUK, Ljubljana Central Market, Archeological Site Mirje, Sentjakob Square and The Bezigrad Stadium.
Plecnik was commissioned to build the stadium by the Orel Catolic Sport Association in 1925. Because of insufficient funding and political circumstances the building stopped. Suklje devised a new project for the stadium for her bachelor thesis so Plecnik involved her to be part of the project which he enrolled for the venue of the Eucharist Congress in 1935.
She also drafted first plans for Zale Cemetery, Belvedere Pavillion, The Church of Holy Mother Of Lourdes in Zagreb, The Jesuit Monastery and Church in Osijek (demolished in 1948), and The Church of Saint Antony of Padua in Belgrade, for which she develop plans for the entire interior including the Holy Tomb and the altair. Her drawings done for Plecnik were published in his two books Architectura Perennis (1941) and Napori (1955).
Typography, Construction Drawing
In 1946, she became a professor of typography, decorative drawing and history of furniture at the School of Design and Photography in Ljubljana, where she worked as a pedagogue and director for 25 years (1946 - 1972). She transferred all the knowledge and experience she gained to Plecnik in more than twenty years to her students. She was an excellent graphic designer and did several books. Interested in vernacular architecture she elaborated an article on the impact of the weather conditions on the design of houses and villages in Slovenian Istria (1952). Her first urban design was created for the town Metlika (1945). Her work include architecture, interior design, urban planning, book design, landscaping, writing and teaching places her among the foremost female pioneers in Slovenian architecture.
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