The acronym DESSA stands for "Delovna skupnost samostojnih arhitektov", which is the Slovene term for The Association of Freelance Architects. This organisation provides both a business framework and a physical space for the activities of freelance architects who work in various design fields, ranging from urban planning, architecture, interior and graphic design to theatre set design. In 1982, 36 architects founded DESSA with the primary purpose of helping private architects work in a socialist society. Yet DESSA, as a non-profit organisation, has another principle objective--elevating general societal awareness of the cultural value of architecture. It is, therefore, also concerned with publishing and organising

exhibitions, lectures and excursions. The gallery and office of DESSA, located on Zidovska steza 4 in Ljubljana's city centre, opened in Spring 1989. Boris Podrecca, an internationally renown Slovene architect currently working in Vienna, donated his design services for the gallery/office complex.
The gallery since enabled us to prepare some 10 architectural exhibitions each year in our own exhibition space. Besides that we participate in other exhibition activities that promote Slovene architecture abroad. In 1991 DESSA founded Arhé, a design firm that helps members produce and sell architectural designs. In 1996 with 74 founding members, DESSA restructured itself and registered as a non-profit cultural foundation. Thus Arhé has acquired the commerce and financial responsibilities of DESSA, which therefore allows DESSA to concentrate its energies on culture activities pertinent to the field of architecture.