Edvard Ravnikar – The Architect of Cankarjev dom

2023 has been declared the year of the architect Edvard Ravnikar.

Edvard Ravnikar (4 December 1907–23 August 1993) is the leading figure of Slovenian modernist architecture. Eminent art historians, Nace Šumi, Fran Šijanec and Stane Bernik, rank Ravnikar among the most important architects in Slovenia after Jože Plečnik, and his creations have become an indispensable part of Slovenian cultural heritage.

He graduated in architecture in Vienna under architect Jože Plečnik, and briefly attended (1938–1939) the famous French architect Le Corbusier's workshop in Paris. After World War II, he became a professor at the Faculty of Civil Engineering in Ljubljana. In 1979 he became a regular member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Although a student of Jože Plečnik, Ravnikar developed a signature architectural style. Influenced by Le Corbusier, he was among the first to introduce architectural and urban principles of modernism into our environment. He was instrumental in transforming Slovenian and Yugoslav architectural practice through a comprehensive approach to architecture and urban planning. Breaking away from the tradition of socialist realism, Ravnikar was determined to keep Slovenian architecture at the forefront of the modernist movement. His team kept up with the latest trends in the profession and sought to establish the Ljubljana School of Architecture’s primacy in Yugoslavia. He also encouraged the development of Slovenian industrial design and printmaking.

His legacy includes many outstanding projects: the Museum of Modern Art, urban planning of Nova Gorica, the Republic Square, hostage burial ground in Begunje, tower buildings in Republic Square, Cankarjev dom, Maximarket department store, the Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering, Creina hotel in Kranj, Ossuary for the Fallen during World War I at Žale Cemetery, Bokalce retirement home, regulation plan for Ljubljana, university student housing in Ljubljana, Babylon Oberoy Hotel, Baghdad, etc. He was a member of the urban planning project team for New Belgrade, launched the magazine Arhitekt and founded the Architects' Association of Slovenia. In architecture and urban planning, Edvard Ravnikar advocated incorporating the new into the old. Through infrastructure projects, Ravnikar mainly addressed the problems of the city of Ljubljana, while being of the firm opinion that the main task of architects and urban planners was to raise public awareness and promote reflection on urban planning and architecture.

In recognition of his achievements, Ravnikar was presented with the Prešeren, Plečnik and Herder Prizes and the AVNOJ Award.


Sketch by E. Ravnikar about the possible appearance of Cankarjev dom.

Sketch by E. Ravnikar about the possible appearance of Cankarjev dom.

© Cankarjev dom

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