Plečnik's Library: created for all times

June 15, 2022–December 3, 2022

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The building of the National and University Library on Turjaška Street in Ljubljana is one of the greatest masterpieces of the architect Jože Plečnik (1872-1957) - it is the foundation stone of Plečnik's Ljubljana and one of the most important architectural achievements of the last century. After more than eighty years since its construction, the experience of the professional public and visitors being repeatedly amazed by the details, are sufficiently clear: each new generation of different types of publics visiting the palace, reaffirms Plečnik's words: "This is something created for all times."

The exhibition Plečnik's Library is first and foremost a tribute to the architect's reflection on the role of a library in the context of the life of an individual, the city and the nation; at the same time, it is a tribute to the smallest details that he wove into the exterior and the spaces of his unique palace. The exhibition will try to answer the questions of how, and when Plečnik got involved in the planning of the building, what motivated its construction and how it was carried out, what was the opinion on the need for the library and about its construction, is the palace built as the architect originally envisioned it, and did the NUK take on its present appearance after its construction has been completed?

The building of the National and University Library takes centre stage in the NUK exhibition hall. Through the story of its planning, creation and construction, the exhibition aims to contribute to the knowledge and discovery of Plečnik's work with a selection of details, objects and highlights. The exhibition is designed as a display of documents, plans, photographs and records, guiding a visitor with accompanying text through the ten-year period of the efforts to build the university library; some space is dedicated to the story of the library during the years before the endeavours for its construction, and the unfortunate event a few years after its moving into the built palace.

Plečnik's architectural plans and other documents that were part of the efforts, planning and construction of the new library will be on display, and also material from the archive of the Academic Campaign for the Construction of University Library and other collections. Photographs documenting the events, of personalities and newspapers and magazines such as Slovenec, Slovenski narod, Jutro, Domoljub, Slovenija or other publications that wrote about the necessity of building the library and reported on the progress of the construction works, will also be exhibited. In addition, several objects whose stories are linked to the master architect or his library palace will be on display.

In planning the exhibition, the library collaborated with Dr Damjan Prelovšek, a renowned art historian and one of the greatest experts of Jože Plečnik, and Prof. mag. Tadej Glažar, Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Ljubljana.

In the Plečnik Year 2022, that celebrates the 150th anniversary of the great architect's birth, we are paying a very special attention to commemorate his outstanding and fundamental contribution to the Slovenian cultural and scientific heritage - a contribution that has expanded beyond national boundaries with the recent inscription of a selection of Plečnik's works on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Among the works is the library palace - it is a combination of local artistic tradition and the spirit of classical architecture, of textile metaphors, a play of noble natural and everyday industrial design, of local materials and the work of Slovenian hands, and the homestead of the nation's identity. The palace of knowledge that can be admired as the face of Plečnik's striving for architectura perennis. Planning and building for all times.

Dr Damjan Prelovšek, Prof. mag. Tadej Glažar (FA UL), Žiga Cerkvenik (NUK)
Exhibition design:
Maj Blatnik (NUK)
Language editing:
Urša Fujs
Martin Cregeen
Events and public relations department, National and University library
NUK Exhibition room

Exhibition Hall: Monday - Saturday 10am – 6pm

Plečnik Corridor is open open from Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm; on Saturdays from 9am to 2pm.

Presenting items from the collections: 

Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana, Plečnik House, Zgodovinski arhiv Ljubljana, National Museum of Contemporary History of Slovenia, personal collctions of Majda Kregar, Arne Vehovar and dr. Damjan Prelovšek.

Samples of the Podpeč stone were provided by Mineral d.o.o.


Notebook Plečnik

The exhibition is also accompanied by the Notebook Plečnik. The unique notebook offers a special look into the intimate creative world of our greatest architect. It is made of quality paper on the model of a notebook, as used by Jože Plečnik. The 90 pages are adorned with more than 150 drawings, sketches and notes from the architect's sketchbooks and diaries kept by Plečnik's house, MGML. You can buy the note for € 20 at the NUK store or order it online.

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Plečnik year 2022 and Unesco

Since 1956, UNESCO has been involved in the marking of historical events and birth anniversaries of eminent creators. They are celebrated by its Member States and the cooperation with UNESCO gives them a global significance. The public around the world can learn more about the personalities, works or events that have made a significant contribution to the mutual enrichment of cultures, to the promotion of understanding and peace between peoples, and have developed closer relations between people. For this purpose, Slovenia has proposed the 150th anniversary of the birth of architect Jože Plečnik and the 250th anniversary of the construction of the Idrija water barriers, called klavže. This year, two logos of cooperation with UNESCO will mark a number of events related to the heritage of mercury in Idrija, and to the works of Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana. This year, Idrija together with Almadén, celebrates the 10th anniversary of its inscription on the World Heritage List. The Government of the Republic of Slovenia declared 2022 the Year of Jože Plečnik.

Slovenia is joining the initiative by proposing the 150th anniversary of birth of the architect Jože Plečnik and the 250th anniversary of construction of the Idrija Klavže water barriers. This year, the commemorative logos of cooperation with UNESCO will mark numerous events related to the heritage of mercury mining in Idrija and the works of Jože Plečnik in Ljubljana. Together with Almadén, Idrija is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its inscription on the World Heritage List, and the Government of the Republic of Slovenia has declared 2022 as Plečnik Year.

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