founder Janez Hacin, architect 

1931 -2021

Born: 20 June 1931 in Celje
1949-1951, Studied at University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Architecture

1951-1954, Studied in Vienna and Stockholm, worked in arhitecture offices with H. Sekler and H. Asplund

1954-1958, Studied at Princeton University, USA

1959-1968, partner in arhitecture office Gampert, Hacin and Oberson in Geneva, Switzerland

1968-1978, partner in arhitecture office Hacin in Geneva, Switzerland

1978-1983, director of organisation Optimum Habitat Ltd in London

1982-1986, board member at Cryophysics SA in Geneva, Switzerland

1985-1998, director of Landengardi SA in Geneva, Switzerland

1990-1998, director of filantrophic fundation in Boston, USA

1991-1997, director of Illyrco Holding SA in Geneva and Ljubljana

1994-1998, director and founder of Real Engineering d.o.o. in Ljubljana


Janez Hacin has not only made a career as world-class architect, but his philanthropic work is also helping future generations of talented Slovenians to follow in his footsteps.

Hacin was born in the town of Celje in 1931. Because his father was a bank manager, the family frequently moved from one Yugoslav city to another. In his youth, Hacin discovered that he was an exceptionally good draftsman; he was also captivated by what he saw as the romance of architecture. In 1949, he enrolled in the University of Ljubljana to study architecture.

Hacin was a restless spirit, however, and in 1951, he used family connections to obtain an exit visa, which was then still a requirement for anyone wishing to leave Yugoslavia. For the next three years, he moved around Europe and continued to study of architecture in Vienna and Stockholm. Finally, he settled in the U.S. and graduated from Berkley, where he also went on to obtain a Master’s degree in architecture.

Returning to Europe, Hacin moved to Geneva, Switzerland, where he opened his own architectural office and began working on a series of remarkable modernist buildings. Among other projects, he designed the regional headquarters for the computer giant Hewlett-Packard in Paris and Geneva, an innovative complex of terraced apartments in the Geneva’s Champel neighborhood, and private residences throughout the French-speaking part of Switzerland. In 1983, he won a competition to design the Saudi Arabian mission in Geneva; the resulting design masterfully blended traditional Arabic influences with modernist and post-modernist elements.

In the course of his career, Hacin designed dozens of buildings, primarily in Switzerland but also in France, the U.S., and Canada. He also received a number of prestigious awards, including one for an urban planning project in Montreux, and the first prize in the competition for Ljubljana’s new railway station – a project that remains unrealized.

In addition to his architectural work, Hacin is an active investor and has helped to finance a number of construction projects in Switzerland. However, he is best-known in Slovenia for his humanitarian work. He has donated funds for conservation projects in the Triglav National Park and helped to finance a maternity ward in Ljubljana, in addition to funding humanitarian work in India and Africa. He has also set up the Hacin Foundation, which provides scholarships to talented students of architecture in Slovenia, helping to ensure that a new generation of promising Slovenian architects will one day be able to follow in his footsteps -- and share their skills with the world.

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