Ravnikar was born in Ljubljana and spent most of his childhood years in the town of Nova Gorica in western Slovenia. After graduating from the Nova Gorica Grammar School, he attended the University of Ljubljana, graduating with a degree in architecture.
Ravnikar began his architectural career in 1978, and designed a number of well-known buildings in Slovenia. His best-known buildings are in the coastal region of the country, and include the town hall of Sezana, the Piran Hotel in Piran, and the National Theatre in Nova Gorica in a group caled KRAS (Carst).
From 1993 until his death, he worked as a professor at the University of Ljubljana. He worked as a guest professor at the University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy (2002), and the University of Trento, Trento, Italy (2004-2005).
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