OE4BW Hub Europe


Preserving the Residetial Heritage 20th Century and Sustainable Development

The main goal of the proposed theme for OE4BW is to create a platform that will lead to the development of an appropriate public relation to modernist architecture, with an emphasis on modernist neighbourhoods. The platform will enable others to learn to recognise the values of a particular building, group of buildings or whole sites and how to respect them. It will show how to preserve the richness of the material expression and the authenticity of the buildings or settlements, but at the same time, how to properly upgrade the existing substance to enable a modern way of life. It will contribute to (gradual) transformation, mainly due to improper maintenance degraded modernist neighbourhoods, into the attractive urban areas of high-quality.

The project will serve to create the ability of the general public to appreciate the modernist heritage as a tangible expression of the period of our recent past, the period of a highly socially oriented society. Recognition of modernist neighbourhoods as high-quality examples of high-density housing construction can lead to well-planned and well-managed urbanisation by using appropriate modernist urban and architectural concepts as useful tools for further sustainable urban development. All modernist neighbourhoods represent a large part of the building fund within the segment of housing construction in contemporary Ljubljana. Due to the exceptional architectural and urban features, some of them are identified as ‘characteristic’ areas of the city and important witnesses of our recent past. They represent the essential continuity of the spatial record. Today’s situation in Slovene modernist neighbourhoods is unenviable; the reason is not the result of inadequate “socialist” urban architectural concepts, but the sum of many factors. Also, the attitude to the public space within the community is inappropriate; awareness of the residents of the importance of the visual image of buildings and the coherence of neighbourhoods as a whole, two essential elements for the higher general quality of the living environment, is at an incredibly low level.

Significant alterations to the original urban and functional concept of a neighbourhood usually result in the inferior user experience of the space. Continuing existing impermissible practices means a decline in urban development. Enabling arbitrary and uncontrolled changes in well-planned neighbourhoods, designed that might provide quality and attractive living environment, is irresponsible as this inevitably leads first to the visual and latter also general destruction of entire districts. The spoiled visual appearance of the buildings threatened architectural authenticity, and eroded coherence of whole sites are being transformed modernist neighbourhoods into unrecognisable complexes with a ruined identity. For all these spatial problems to be addressed, effective housing policy and a strategy of the comprehensive renovation of residential neighbourhoods are needed. The platform will provide guidelines for sustainable development of modernist neighbourhoods and their renovation, including a long-term strategy for re-establishing the visual uniformity and authenticity of both the buildings and the entire areas. The platform will provide guidelines for the effective management of entire estates, including regular maintenance of the public spaces. That would ensure the preservation of the coherent appearance of neighbourhoods and comprehensive building renovations, with a particular emphasis on the conservation of the architecture’s authenticity The platform will provide suggestions for a legal protocol, binding for the building’s manager and residents, which would include rules on management, use, and maintenance of the building, and a definition of permitted interventions in the building’s architecture.


Kaja Lipnik Vehovar

After completing her studies at the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana in 1996, Kaja Lipnik Vehovar worked in various architectural offices. She has been working as a project manager and a leading architect in the architectural studio Kubusarhitektura since 2002. In 2015 she enrolled in doctoral studies Economics and Techniques for the Conservation of the Architectural and Environmental Heritage, University of Nova Gorica. The subject of her PhD dissertation concerns the built heritage of the 20th century in Ljubljana with an emphasis on urban and architectural planning during the periods of social transformations, particularly the relationship between open spaces and built structures. 


Geoffrey Cain

Geoffrey Cain is an consultant (GBC Education Consulting) who facilitates projects in instructional design, curriculum development, elearning, open pedagogy, OER, and anything else that will help broaden access to education. He is also a former community college instructor in English and Adult Basic Education.  Specialties: Instructional design, elearning, teaching, open education resources, professional development, collaborative learning, Connectivism.