Joze Plecnik is a native of Ljubljana, Carniola, Austria-Hungary, present-day Slovenia, born in 1872 the third child of Helena and Andrej Plecnik. He was a poor student and his father took him out of school to work in his factory. His father was impressed with Plecnik’s design and drawing capabilities. This capability eventually led him to Vienna where he studied architecture.
He worked as an architect for various firms in Vienna and Prague before returning to Ljubljana in 1921 where was asked to become a founding member of the Ljubljana School of Architecture. There was no Ljubljana School of Architecture connected to the University of Ljubljana so his first job was to design the structure for the School of Architecture. The result was that Plecnik designed several buildings for the university including Slovene National and University Library.
Plecnik’s other projects in Slovenia include: additions to the Triple Bridge, the embankments along the Ljubljanica River, the Ljubljana open market buildings, the Ljubljana cemetery, the Prešeren Theater, the Plečnik Arcades stairway and fountain, the Kranj reconstruction of churches, the design of the Pavilion on Brijuni Islands at Tito's summer state residence, National Liberation War monuments and several parks and general open spaces.
Plecnik’s design was in the Vienna Secession school, an art school founded in 1897 consisting of painters, sculptors and architects. He loved pillars reminiscent of the Greek and Roman architecture. We see them everywhere throughout Ljubljana, even in his own house entryway where they do not have a structural purpose.
There were two known women in Plecnik’s life. Both thought their relationships would flourish and both desired marriage. In essence Plecnik turned both of the down. As he wrote to one who had proposed he had two loves in his life, architecture and mathematics. Like a true workaholic the two together left room for no other love.
Plecnik died of pneumonia in 1957. Walking through his house we saw the penicillin sitting on the table in his bedroom. The prescription which might have saved his life was never touched. Plecnik had an aversion to taking medications.