Saša Dev, Architect
The Foundations of Modern Architecture in Maribor
UGM, Strossmayerjeva 6
16 December 2022 ̶ 5 March 2023

Curators: Stojan Skalicky and Simona Vidmar

Expert consultants: Leopold Mikec Avberšek and Sabina Lešnik

UGM is proud to announce a major architecture exhibition of Maribor's most prominent modernist Saša Dev (1903 ̶ 1967). Dev’s presence in Maribor is still felt every day, and alongside his architecture school colleague Jaroslav Černigoj, he modernised the city's appearance in the 1930s, introducing a cosmopolitan spirit with his bold design and refined forms.

Saša Dev's work had a significant influence on the development of architecture in Slovenia, and he was a guiding force in its development. He was one of the first generation of Slovene architects in Maribor who, in the period between the two wars, boldly applied the principles and insights of modern architecture employing his youthful enthusiasm and bringing a modern urban flair to the provincial environment. His architectural works – including the Hutter Blok, the former bank on Tyrševa Street, the Ribnica Chalet on Pohorje, the Medical Centre in Maribor etc. – represent milestones in the urban development of Maribor. They remain as original in their design as when they were built, they retain their quality and they take passersby by surprise time and again with their ingenious form, thought-out design and construction. “Dev stands firmly in the modernist paradigm, he is a modernist in architecture, urbanism and design, not credulously accepting and imitating trends, but rather taking an analytical and constructive approach, and in the treatment of details, revealing that his origins lie in the school of the noble principles of the great master Plečnik, whom he deeply respected throughout his life,” wrote architect Stojan Skalicky, co-curator of the exhibition and researcher of the architect's work and life.

The exhibition will – for the first time – present many of Saša Dev's original architectural plans, the architect's captivating correspondence with clients and craftsmen, as well some parts of his personal archive and archival photographs from the period between the wars. With the help of abundant material from numerous archives and museums – the Regional Archives Maribor, the Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) in Ljubljana, the Plečnik House in Ljubljana, and the Historical Archives Ptuj and Celje – the exhibition will also offer an insight into the dynamic and inspiring architectural and social developments in Maribor in the 1930s and 1940s. 

The exhibition was created in partnership and with the professional support of the Regional Archives Maribor.