Jože Mesar was a Slovene architect known for his work on residential homes for the middle class, various public buildings, and also different types of interiors (many of which were, unfortunately, demolished). He was born on the 21st of August 1907 in Ljubljana and died on the 10th of January 2002.
Bauhaus and Černigoj
Even as a young man, Mesar was already heavily impacted by the Avant-garde movement whose driving force in Slovenia was Bauhaus-taught Slovene painter Avgust Černigoj. Mesar attended his private School of Architecture in Ljubljana from 1924 to 1925 (the school existed for merely two years). The crucial thing that this schooling did to the future architect was broadening his horizons. He then continued his studies in Vienna under the well-known German architect and industrial designer Peter Behrens and graduated in 1930. Mesar dedicated his work to man's culture of living. In collaboration with his colleague, Ivo Spinčič, he co-wrote the book "Apartment" (originally "Stanovanje") that got published as part of an elite collection "Cosmos" (originally "Kosmos") in 1931. The book served as a presentation of the five principles of modernist architecture created by the world-famous Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier. It intended to inform the public about the new trends in architecture that many architecture-related establishments in Ljubljana (one of them being the School of Architecture) of the time still rejected; they were (finally) accepted in 1953 with the opening of an exhibition by Le Corbusier.
Mesar proved the theories from his book with Spinčič in his works. His architectural concepts were on exhibit all over Yugoslavia; his work included everything from the façade appearance and carefully defined furniture placement to the smallest details, such as Bauhaus-inspired, geometrically shaped lights. He created many different buildings meant for the middle class, both residential (for example, villas, such as the Villa Bahovec in Ljubljana, and vacation homes, such as a vacation home in Stanežiče) and public (for example, doctor's offices, such as the waiting room of Dr. Rainer Bassin in Ljubljana, and shops, such as the drugstore Kanc).
In regards to public building, Mesar created many different renovation plans for bars (for example, café Union in Ljubljana), hotels (for example, hotel Evropa in Celje), and mountain accommodations (for example, hotel on Pokljuka and mountain home on Krim). He was also the technical editor for the magazine "Architecture" (originally "Arhitektura") between 1913 and 1933 and a designer of layouts for many exhibitions and fairs. After the Second World War (that deeply affected him due to living in the Nazi concentration camp Dachau for a year), ideas of Mesar were forgotten and overpowered by concepts of newer, more aggressive architects. However, he continued creating human-centered architecture. He mostly focused on the interiors of food establishments and tourist facilities (one of those was a renovation of hotel Palace in Portorož).
Mesar was knowledgeable in many different areas and worked together with many other Slovene architects of the time, such as Josip Costaperari, Vladimir Mušič, Feri Novak, Stanislav Rohrman, and Jože Sivec. He is known as one of the pioneers of Slovenian functionalism that was continuously receptive to innovations and strived for a better, higher quality living environment and life overall.
All our texts and many of our images appear under the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License (CC BY-SA). All our content is written and edited by our community.