The outline of characteristics and the connections of present works
(Extract from Article Henrieta H. Moravčíková: Abstraction as a working method)

architect Ľubomír Závodný The works by architect Ľubomír Závodný can be truthfully characterised by the term "abstraction". His works involve abstraction within a leitmotif that is the sign of architecture where he reflects the work's characteristics that he finds less substantial. Abstraction can be also found in his work with basic geometric figures and in his register of the simple means of expression. Závodný's architecture tries to distract from traditional metaphors as much as possible and prefers the artistic features of the geometric abstraction of De Stijl as well as the monumentality of the simple Brancusio shape. In the works of Závodný, this artistic concept is immediately tied with strict rationality and pragmatism.

His favourite means of expression include long straight walls or walls slightly bent in a gentle curve. The walls divide the inner space or enter the surroundings in order to delimit them. In addition, the walls are probably supposed to violate orthogonal building schemes in accordance with a restrained and shy but still deconstructive gesture. This fact is evident in the building of the Convent of the Clare nuns in Kopernica (1991-1998) where an imaginary straight line passes from the building of the original church through the entire composition rotating its particular elements in the spirit of its own motion. The compact body of the pavilion of the IRB Bank in Bratislava (1992-1994) is similar. Its diagonal pictured in the skylight influences all the relationships within the building. The branch of the NBS building in Lučenec (1997) has a long curve of the wing before the building's mass that is the only form moving out of rectangular relationships. In the interiors of the Creditanstalt building in Bratislava (1998), Závodný inserts expressive wall elements into the original mass violating and determining this inner space at the same time.

Závodný's architecture involves traditional building elements (windows, roofs, and doors) in his abstract artistic intention. Obviously the roof cannot be the traditional saddle one or the simple flat one. Závodný breaks, raises the roof, or moves it out in a console-like shape. Sometimes he transforms it into a form of a picturesque roof superstructure. This all takes place in the background of an inner order that eliminates excessive freedom of shapes. Although Ľubomír Závodný strictly avoids historical quotations, some style-creating features of functionalism, such as circular windows, band windows, or French windows with horizontal pipe railings, or a console-like marquise, regularly find their scope in his works. These elements, however, have the status of generally valid non-historic architecture here.

In terms of his work with basic geometric or archetype shapes, Ľubomír Závodný finds compositional solutions that are monumental. This monumentality, however, is not related with the dimensions of the particular work but with the contrast of shapes. It is probably caused by the mentioned purposeful shift out of the generally valid scheme and the author's interest in primal simplicity. The design for the competition for the New Town Hall in Bratislava's Old Town (1998), the latest work of the studio, is perhaps the best example. The design's monumentality is built upon a massive organic shape of the meeting hall on the background of a rectangular structure of the rest of the composition. In addition, several furniture elements are created using the same concept. The greenroom board in front of the café in the VÚB Centre (1996) and the bar and the greenroom board in the Café Metropol (1995) are monumental with their shocking simplicity of shapes different from the simplicity of their surroundings or backgrounds.

The works of Ľubomír Závodný are also interesting for their conception of architectural detail. The detail is neither trivial nor decorative and never serves as the reason for complexity or filigree-like artistic concepts. Závodný perceives a detail as a perfectly working connection of elements and a mediator of relationships that need not to be specifically emphasised.

While creating spatial relationships, an open free-flowing space is Závodný's ambition. Galleries or long one-armed staircases interconnect its parts. The basis of the relationships is the network of a regular skeleton entered by small breaks or specialities in form of the already mentioned curved and diagonal walls. Závodný leaves this Corbusier-inspired concept only when is being confronted with the powerful relationships of traditional use, e.g., in the building of the Convent in Kopernica. This confrontation results in utilitarian spatial solutions in accordance with client's requirements. This procedure is normal and fully natural.

The post-modern experiences of Ľubomír Závodný are evident mostly in his relationship with the environment and its connections. While entering the town's area, he establishes relationships similar to particular traditional town-planning situation (square, street, or yard). The conviction that something must be done emerges in the everyday confrontation with the devastated environment affected by megalomaniacal socialistic urbanism or by the recent production pleasant to the falling public taste. Thus, an architect tries to capture the genius loci and insert his conception of order into it. However, he does it within the limits of existing urban relationships. The building of the VÚB Centre, which has entered the chaotic network of existing streets in Mlynské Nivy and finished it, behaves in a different way than the Protestant Church in Nitra (1995) that has cured the wound in the corner of a compact urban block. Finally, the NBS office in Lučenec appears to be completely different, responding to the loosened modern housing of the 70s. None of these constructions violates the original environment or pleases it in a pseudo-nostalgic way. These houses enter the existing structure with the appropriate self-confidence of modern houses bringing different and maybe new values.


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