Two names were a symbol for great, innovative architecture at the time: Gustav Hassenpflug, the former Bauhaus student, then working at the Landeskunstschule Hamburg (...) and Sep Ruf. (...) Since Sep Ruf's architectural approach was very much in line with my vision, anyone can imagine how incredible my disappointment was when I was rejected because I did not meet the official requirements for admission: I did not have a degree from a civil engineering school nor the bachelor’s degree of a technical university. This called my boss and sponsor Heinz Thoma to the scene. It was the year 1956 - nobody had any idea of the ICE or cheap airline tickets.
Thoma got into the car outraged about the rejection. The result of his secret mission and his conversation with Sep Ruf in the art studio in Munich still makes me feel the pressure on my shoulders today: Heinz Thoma had to hand in a written statement that my level of training met all admission requirements. In addition, the two had agreed that I had to pass the entrance examination with above-average results. The exam consisted of the planning of a two-room village school in different scales and an essential detail of that design on a scale of 1:20. Following that, I had to prove my artistic talent in a freehand drawing of an object. Pale and with my heart pounding, I set to work.
The fact that Heinz Thoma, who would lose me as a valued employee if I successfully passed the test, gave me psychological support and self-confidence at precisely this moment should be written into the books of all superiors who strive for human greatness and altruistic foresight - that's how it's done!