After working as a construction technician for a year, I realized that this was not the job for me. The idea of enrolling in the Faculty of Architecture has matured. As the writer Fran S. Finžgar once wrote – Let him be a student!
But it wasn’t that easy. First I had to pass the entrance exam. Among other things, I had to answer the dimensions of a standard classic brick (25x12x6.5cm).
At the time of application, you also had to hand in a letter addressed to yourself, with which you would be notified of the result of the entrance exam…
In about a week, my friend Spaski calls me, he has been accepted to the university. I have no mail. The next day I went to the mailbox again and lo and behold, there was a letterhead with a stamp – passed!
And so I started studying architecture with everything that goes with it. Moving to Ljubljana, living in a student dormitory, food in the canteen. Looking for any kind of work, to make a living…
Years passed. Studying, exams, lost year, student parties. Not to mention the time of student demonstrations, the occupation of Aškerčeva Street and the Faculty of Philosophy, the confiscation and censorship of the student newspaper Tribuna.
The first sketches of the renovation of Križanke at Bitenec. Drawing demonstrator at Ocvirk. Half a year in the Mihevc seminary. Final decision, move to Ravnikar.
Buffet in the basement. The waitress Marta, who gave us drinks under the table. Professional tours in northern Italy, where boys from Pula sold their drawings to American tourists. The times when third, fourth, and fifth graders sat together in the same drawing room.
And hundreds more stories…
And then came the spring of 76. And the last exam, the history of architecture.
Then I went to the assistant Peter to arrange the thesis. We are agreeing on an urban planning task – Arrangement of a more intensive connection between high education facilities in the south of Ljubljana.
Peter tells me to come to the college every month or two to say something about the thesis. Because if I work at the college and Ravnikar sees my thesis and if he becomes interested, then I won’t graduate for another year.
And fall comes and problems come. Ravnikar suddenly decided not to announce deadlines for thesis defense. They know nothing, nothing will ever come of them, it’s a waste of time, he said.
One day, the head of the faculty, Brezar, comes and announces that he found in the statute that if a professor is retained for any reason, he can replace him. And we went on.
The defense commission was always the same, Bitenc and Valentinčič. Both Plečnik’s students. It occurred to me to officially invite them to become members. Late in the afternoon, already in the dark, I knock on the door of Valentinčič’s studio on the second floor. I enter on cue. They were both sitting at a table, a small light just above the table, a bottle of red wine in the middle between them. I tell them why I came. And Valentinčič says, well, if you don’t have anyone else, we’ll come.
And the day of defense comes. It’s five in the afternoon, Badger, Flower, Andy and me are standing in the corridor. Brezar asks Badger, if his work is a war secret, we haven’t seen anything about it yet?
And then Badger explains the urbanism of Slovenia for an hour. It is no wonder that he later became a politician and even the Minister of Environment and Space.
I’m the last one in line. Everyone is already tired because of the long time, Bitenc turns the papers of my thesis and says, since we know the initial analysis, you just say the conclusion.
And I said it.
The committee deliberated for ten minutes and informed us that because Badger spoke so much, they had to give him ten, the rest of you have eight. Satisfied? We are!
And then we went to the after party in the basement. Badger on the saxophone, half of the famous group Mladi levi, because they were architects, among the guests Marko Brecelj, Vasko Repinc on the piano.
And of course Ravnikar, because he came to the party.
And Badger asks me how long I studied. I tell him, seven years and a few more months. You are good, I studied for sixteen years, he says.
Says Valentinčič (affectionately called Valenson), it’s usually hard to get anything out of candidates, but for Badger, I was afraid we wouldn’t stop him.
And I don’t remember when and how I got home… but it was my first night as an architect…
The names have been changed slightly, but the events are true (based on my memory).