Dušan Jurkovič (August 23, 1868 – December 21, 1947) was a Slovak architect, ethnographer and artist. One of the best-known promoters of Slovak art in 20th century Czechoslovakia, he is remembered mostly due to his projects of numerous World War I cemeteries in Galicia. Jurkovič repeatedly stressed: “The work of art is rooted in the time. I also have always cautiously listened to its voice.” Jurkovič was born on 23 August 1886 in Turá Lúka (then Austro-Hungarian Empire, now Slovakia), to two local folk artists. He graduated from a local school in Sopron and moved to Vienna, where between 1884 and 1889 he studied at the National School of Industry under Camillo Sitte.
He briefly worked in Martin, where he became fascinated with folk carpenters and their works in wood. Then he moved to Vsetín (eastern Moravia), where he continued his studies at the atelier of Michal Urbánek. Together with his bureau he co-authored the buildings of the 1895 Czech-Slavonic Ethnographic Exhibition in Prague and also authored numerous other buildings in Bohemia.
In 1899 he moved to Brno, where he designed his own house and a new lodging house for the local school. During his stay in Brno he became friends with local Czech writers Jiří Mahen, Mrštík brothers and Josef Merhaut. Among his best-known designs realized in Brno was a villa in Žabovřesky, combining local folk art with the state-of-the-art modernist trends of Vienna. He also authored the design of the Society of Friends of Arts building, a distant cousin to Viennese Wiener Werkstätte and the geometric school. He also prepared a project of reconstruction of the castle in Nové Město nad Metují.
Mobilized by the Austro-Hungarian Army during the World War I, he became one of the most notable members of the War Graves Unit. He authored approximately 35 war cemeteries near Nowy Żmigród in Galicia (now Poland), most of them heavily influenced by local Lemko (Rusyn) folk art and carpentry.
After the war he returned to newly founded Czechoslovakia and settled in Bratislava. Among the best known of his later works is the tombs of Jozef Miloslav Hurban and Milan Rastislav Štefánik, monument to Slovak National Uprising, and the cable car station at Lomnický štít in the High Tatras mountains. He died on 21 December 1947.
Architecture in Pustevny designed by Dušan Jurkovič:
The mountain range Beskydy has been a famous tourist area since the middle of the nineteenth century. The terrain which is suitable for summer walks and winter sports have been attracting a growing number of visitors. The tourist club Pohorská jednota Radhošť which was founded in Frenštát pod Radhoštěm in 1884 contributed to popularize the mountains.
The members of the club bought a conveniently located lot in the district of Prostřední Bečva where the first refuge was built in 1891 that was named Pústevňa in memory of the original hermitage which had been closed in 1784.
Very soon, however, the refuge was not able to cope with the increasing interest of the tourists and a new one, named Šumná, was built three years later. In the nineties of the nineteenth century Pustevny became a popular tourist centre. Pohorská jednota asked the Slovakian architect Dušan Jurkovič, who worked in Vsetín at that time, for co-operation in creating other buildings.
He designed and realized two more refuges in the style much influenced by the folk timbered architecture that might be named “folk secession”. In 1898 Maměnka was built and one year later Libušín came into existence.
The interiors designed by Dušan Jurkovič were greatly impressive owing to the composition and the colour scale inspired by the folk art. It also contains pictures depicting historical scenes that were designed by Mikoláš Aleš. The nearby belfry also forms part of the set of buildings.
The houses had been functioning till the beginning of the nineties of the twentieth century, however, after the Second World War their technical condition started to deteriorate continually.
Demolition seemed to be the only solution, but in 1995 the declaration of the set of houses for a national monument was put through and the Wallachian open-air museum was charged with its management. The museum initiated a general repair and reconstruction of the buildings, arranged for the restoration of the interior decorations and provided replicas of the original furniture and lighting installations. As early as 1998 the restorers made an intervention in the decoration of the belfry and a year later Libušín and Pustevenka, and in 2003 still Maměnka, were opened to the public.Demolition seemed to be the only solution, but in 1995 the declaration of the set of houses for a national monument was put through and the Wallachian open-air museum was charged with its management. The museum initiated a general repair and reconstruction of the buildings, arranged for the restoration of the interior decorations and provided replicas of the original furniture and lighting installations. As early as 1998 the restorers made an intervention in the decoration of the belfry and a year later Libušín and Pustevenka, and in 2003 still Maměnka, were opened to the public.
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