Ryszard Jędrak
He saw the beauty of this World on the 22nd of September, 1927 in Częstochowa, Poland.

His father would make sure that his two sons grew up in the atmosphere of love for fine arts, music, and literature.  Ryszard Jędrak would recall – I can say that I had a happy childhood and youth.

He started his high-school education in clandestine study groups in Nazi-occupied hometown. After the War, he graduated from High School for Adults.

Already during the German occupation, at the age of 16, he was introduced, through the efforts of his father, to an authority on art – Professor Mieczysław Petrycki, who became for him more than a teacher. His free from study hours and days he was allowed to spend in the Professor’s studio. Professor Petrycki was a painter, a portraitist, and a cultivated man who would instruct his pupil that “one should not pray to art, but make it”.

Ryszard Jędrak was convinced that besides his inborn sensitivity to the world of shape and color, meeting the Fine Arts Academy Professor, his first mentor, had a lifelong influence on him.

Although his first master insisted that he should study Fine Arts, in 1947 Ryszard Jędrak became a student at the Department of Architecture of the Technical University of Wrocław. Painting still remained his passion for life. The study of architecture enriched his knowledge of form and focused some of his painting activities on subjects related to his profession.

In 1951, while still a student, he was offered the position of junior assistant at the Department of Architecture of the Technical University of Wroclaw. In 1952 he defended his master’s thesis and continued to work in the Sub-Department of Public Service Buildings as teaching assistant and then as a senior assistant, tutor, and instructor. In 1965, after defending his doctoral dissertation he received his Ph.D. He was appointed to the position of assistant professor in 1968 and to that of professor in 1985.

Professor Ryszard Jędrak left this world on 21 February 1991.

To show more vividly the personality of Professor Ryszard Jędrak I would like to relate several interesting, often amusing episodes as my personal recollection of him.

The Design of Interiors and Industrial Forms course offered by the Wrocław Department of Architecture was conducted in an exceptionally convivial atmosphere which lasted through the break in the company of the Professor, among colleagues, over a mandatory cup of tea. Those breaks were like family gatherings and everybody had so much to say as if the participants had not seen each other for years. I can say without exaggeration that they were intellectual feasts for us. How much richer in ideas we went back to our classes with students.

Here are some samples of the Professor’s wit:

When I was treasurer of the SARP Branch at the Department  of Architecture, on a payday I entered   the Professor’s office (the door of which was always open – this is probably how the idea of the “Open – Door Policy at the Technical University of Wrocław” campaign originated) with the intent of collecting dues . The Professor asked me: Do you know, Tadeusz, why I shall pay you the dues? I answered: Yes, because you are a member of SARP. No!, retorted the Professor, – because if  I didn’t pay you now, I would have to ask myself, why I have been paying so far, and it would be a waste of my time.

In a group of fourth year students of the Department of Architecture taking the Design of Interiors and Industrial Forms course, one of the future architects, who was designing the interior of a shop, would not listen to either the teaching assistant’s suggestions or the Professor’s remarks, and stubbornly kept redrawing his “avant-garde” concept. On the day the students were to receive grades for the course, the Professor, while evaluating his work , said jokingly: My dear friend, the whole semester you have refused to acknowledge the fact that even the most artistic ways of standing on one’s head are no comfort for the brain, therefore you should get a C at the most, however, I enterd a B in your record so that you do not accuse us in the future that we failed to recognize your talent.

Finally, I shall recall the vacation during which the Professor went with his daughters to the Polish seaside. A few weeks before the journey, the Professor showed me a small diameter brass pipe, about one meter long, topped with a finely lathed element which resembled an artistically shaped finial of a miniature fence post. To the Professor’s question: Can you tell me what it is?, I answered that to me it looked like a pointer. Well, Tadeusz, this is – the Professor said triumphantly one of the stakes for the screen behind which my daughters will be sunbathing, when I go with them to the seaside, I would like them from their youngest age to get used to beautiful appearance of the things they encounter.

The personality of Professor Ryszard Jędrak was so colorful and his life so full of events, that I was forced to make a selection of the remembered facts and I chose only those which, in my opinion, describe best the character of the Professor nicknamed “Beautiful Lolo” by all the students.

I hope that what I have written about Ryszard Jędrak, using the available materials and relying on failing memory, renders at least partially his personality, talent, wit, and ability to extricate himself in a masterly manner from any difficult situation in life. Let it be a salute to him and a mark of my respect.

It is necessary to lose a great deal of strength to become a strong man.
Tadeusz Lechicki   |   Architekt

Wydawnictwo: Zarząd Oddziału Wrocławskiego SARP, PW 1997

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