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Villa Bahovec

Ljubljana, Slovenia
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View of the front of the villa.

Villa Bahovec, designed by the Slovene architect Joze Mesar, was built to serve as a home for the family of a then well-known pharmacist, Leon Bahovec. It was built in Ljubljana, specifically on Erjavceva road 11, in 1935, as a modernist villa that showed off the family's status (it was common for the wealthier citizens of that time to show their prosperity through house commissions as well as buying new cars). The villa was part of a new elite neighborhood that arose in-between what is today Tivolska road and Cankar Hall.

The villa was the home of the Bahovec family until 1946. The structure of the house was adjusted to suit its surrounding nature. An example of this was a birch that grew next to the front door and served as a canopy. The interior was designed by the famous Slovene architect Edo Mihevc with consideration of Bahovec's wife Lidija's wishes. While the mezzanine and the first floor of the two-story building served as the living quarters, the basement acted as a space for Bahovec's pharmacy-related work. The house also included a three-level terrace. Another Slovene architect, Katarina Grasselli, designed the garden that featured a pool and fountain; the latter was created by the Italian sculptor Giuseppe Milani and depicted the four seasons through its decorations.

The family had all their belongings confiscated and got forcefully moved out of their house in 1946. These actions served as a way to show the power of the new government that got assembled after the Second World War ended. Due to the same reason, Leon Bahovec also lost his work permit and was even imprisoned. The villa was nationalized and given to the then minister of home affairs, Ivan Macek, who lived there for the next thirty years.

In 1985, the villa got demolished. Many believe the demolition, the reason for which was never strictly explained but is presumed as an action to ensure enough space for the new Cankar Hall, was unjustifiable. In recent years, the lot got denationalized and returned to the Bahovec family heirs. Today, the lot is covered in grass, and the only preserved part of the villa is its low fence wall, which is considered a monument of cultural importance. The owners (along with The Chamber of Architecture and Spatial Planning of Slovenia) recently carried out an open competition in which they chose the best lot renovation ideas.