Category: Cultural and educational institutions

Architect: Ladislav Bauer
Interior design: Anna Milová, Ladislav Bauer
Works of art interior: Elena Bellušová, Milan Gašpar, Milan Jančovič, Alexander Vika, Ľubomír Jakubčík
Location: Karloveská 64, Bratislava – Karlova Ves
Built in years: 1988

Vďaka svetelnej hre vznikajúcej nepravidelným osvetlením lamiel, nadobúda interiér veľkej divadelnej sály špecifický výtvarný rozmer

The IUVENTA building is the first purpose-built facility for extracurricular youth education residing in a separate, newly constructed building. The leisure centre for children and youth, today’s National Institute of Education and Youth (NIVAM), was formerly known as the “Klement Gottwald Central House of Pioneers and Youth”. The object designed as a pavilion development consists of a complex of rhythmically arranged masses interconnected by staircase modules. The shape-dominant mass with the protruding truncated conical mass of the theatrical rigging system houses the hall spaces still in use today – a large and a small theatre hall. In the past, other areas intended for leisure activities of children and youth were also accessible from the entrance hall leading to the theatre halls. An event room and a dance hall, the “Klement Gottwald Memorial Hall”, summer libresso, ateliers, workshops, laboratories, studios, club rooms, technical game room and other specialised rooms were located in the complex of buildings to the right of the entrance. To the left of the entrance, there is an indoor swimming pool still popular with the public today. 


The extensive IUVENTA Building complex bears the signs of late modernism – a period style used in the territory of then Czechoslovakia. The interiors, influenced by the usage of a prefabricated skeleton, are characterised by primordial simplicity and expressive austerity, which ultimately allows the tectonics and materiality of the interior to shine through. “The entrance hall of the building is well illuminated thanks to the use of Profilit glass blocks, formerly known as Copilit. Copilit is also repeated as a material element in the escape staircase area. The original suspended ceilings were replaced with plasterboard panels in these areas. The diagonally composed large theatre hall located on the 2nd floor of the main mass has a capacity of about 400 spectators. One of the distinctive features of this space is the acoustic wooden suspended ceiling designed by Anna Milová. With its tiered nature and play with light in an irregular grid, the suspended ceiling adds an atmospheric depth to the interior space. Despite the fact that the hall is used often and has been for a long time, the lights, seating furniture, and the acoustic elements have been preserved in their original state. The small theatre hall, with original capacity of 60 children, has also retained its wooden acoustic suspended ceiling. In this case, too, the author worked with the individual wooden parts extending into the space, thus introducing interesting, sculptured elements into the otherwise simple interior. Unlike the suspended ceiling, the other interior furnishings of the hall have not remained original. Another room with an acoustic suspended ceiling preserved to this day is the room originally called the ‘Hall of International Friendship Slavín’. The suspended ceiling here, as in the halls, is based on wooden materials. However, the spatial structure of the suspended ceiling does not extend into the space, rather its cubic pattern stretches in one plane. At present, this space is used only occasionally – for music related purposes, precisely because of its excellent acoustics.” [3]


Another part still used by the public today is the swimming pool. Despite being in operation for many years, the interior building components are still preserved in a very good original condition. The wall near the swimming pool is complemented by a large-scale work ‘The World Around Us’ in coloured enamel by Milan Gašpar. The presence of this work on the sports ground emphasises the message of kalokagathia as an ideal of harmony and balance between physical and mental aspects of a person, which the object itself embodies.” [3]


Other publicly accessible areas are also “interwoven” with works of art. The entrance lobby is complemented by the sculptural group “Girlfriends” by Milan Jančovič and there is a sgraffito named “Tree of Life” by Elena Bellušová on the rounded front wall of the theatre hall. The entrance to the hall was once decorated with the relief “Playfulness of Children” by sculptor Alexander Vika, an artwork referring by its very name to the original message of IUVENTA. The interiors of the former summer libresso used to be complemented by intriguing ceramic sculptures by the artist Ľubomír Jakubčík. For operational reasons, an ordinary visitor can nowadays see only some of the above-mentioned iconic works. [1, 2]


At present, the spatial and functional potential of the interiors is not being fully utilised, and the future of this large, once socially valuable complex situated at the foot of the forest city park is uncertain. Its lasting qualities are documented by the words of Laura Sasváriová: “Nowadays the only partially used IUVENTA Building undoubtedly leaves a deep impression on the visitor. The former investment of architects, designers and artists in the representative interior spaces reflects not only the architectural, but also the social value of the building. For decades, the building’s premises were being used for the development of children and young people. The presence of artistic values in such a versatile complex is just another tool for education and for honouring our national heritage.” [3]

Used sources
  1. Babinská, Mária: IUVENTA – minulosť, súčasnosť, budúcnosť. [IUVENTA – the past, the present, the future.] Website: RTVS. Available at: https://reginazapad.rtvs.sk/relacie-a-rubriky/serial-radia-regina-zapad/325201/iuventa-minulost-sucasnost-a-buducnost
  2. Hajdúchová Andrea: Príbeh Iuventy je dokonalým symbolom našej straty záujmu o deti a mladých. Ako začínala a ako vyzerá dnes? [The story of Iuventa is a perfect symbol of our loss of interest in children and young people. How did it start and what does it look like today?] Website: Denník N. Available at: https://dennikn.sk/blog/3115296/pribeh-iuventy-je-dokonalym-symbolom-nasej-straty-zaujmu-o-deti-a-mladych-ako-zacinala-a-ako-vyzera-dnes/
  3. Sasváriová, Laura: Slovenský inštitút mládeže IUVENTA, Bratislava. [The Slovak Youth Institute IUVENTA, Bratislava.] Seminar paper for the Public Interior course, Faculty of Architecture and Design STU Bratislava, Summer Term 2022–23
Photo documentation

Laura Sasváriová