From the 1850s to the 1880s several young Hungarians went to Berlin to study at the Baukadamie. The Technical University in Budapest was not yet in the position to offer the kind of education available in western Europe, besides travelling to the Prussian capital provided a welcome alternative to Vienna, whose cultural and political dominance in Hungary was for many too overwhelming. At the Berlin Bauakademie the teachers of the post-Schinkelian period, such as August Stüler, Johann Strack and Richard Lucae, inculcated in their students a form of Neorenaissance which would be later termed as “Berlin Renaissance” by contemporaries in Hungary. This variant was characterized by restrained forms and a somewhat dry approach, a trend which for some time remained distinctive and distinguishable within the spectrum of revived styles in Hungarian architecture. The Hungarian representatives of the “Berlin Renaissance”, e.g. Antal Szkalnitzky, Emil Unger, Ferenc Kolbenheyer and Alajos Hauszmann gained important positions in their profession, thus brought the trend to prominence. Yet architects trained elsewhere, chiefly in Vienna and at other cultural centres of the German-speaking world, brought similar impulses and soon a general language of Neorenaissance architecture, typical of most Central European countries, evolved.
Country house building in Hungary in the decades between 1840 and 1914, the age of architectural historicism, flourished. Even if cities were the main arena for building activities, the country house managed to maintain a considerable degree of its former prestige and had a fair share of the building boom of the period. The basically conservative social setup and mentality of agrarian Hungary continued to favour the realization of sumptuous residences in the countryside, which involved not only a specific form of architecture but also a unique lifestyle. This paper sets out to examine the complexities of the Hungarian country house of the period, primarily aspects of building, but also issues which exceed the realm of architecture per se. Thus the main themes include patronage, planning, construction, the style, the configuration, the layout, the interior, the park and the environment, life in the country house, the arts and sciences, the display of glory and aspects of publicity. (This paper is a condensed version of the author's book Kastélyépítészet és kastélykultúra Magyarországon – a historizmus kora [Country house building and country house culture in Hungary – the age of historicism], Budapest, 2007)
Besides a great number of public and private buildings in cities, in the course of his long career Ybl designed several country houses. Their number is ten, but the authorship of many more structures of this kind were traditionally attributed to him. In this article attempt has been made to establish the substantiated attributions. Ybl designed country houses mostly at the beginning of his career, and primarily for a group of patriotic-liberal aristocrats. These patrons and the location of their houses are the following: Count Lajos Batthyány, Ikervár; Count Pál Zichy, Nagyhörcsök; Count Ede Károlyi, Füzérradvány; Count Béla Wenckheim, Fás; Count János Waldstein, Várpalota; Baron József Csekonics, Zsombolya; Count Ödön Lónyay, Bodrogolaszi; István Bittó, Drávafok; Count Frigyes Wenckheim, Szabadkígyós; Count Gyula Károlyi, Parádsasvár. In this field Ybl resorted to styles that he otherwise seldom cultivated, such as Neo-Gothic and German Neo-Renaissance, and for the shape of the buildings, he preferred the elongated oblong.
Architecture, art and industry – institutions and education in Hungary in the age of dualism. After the Austro-Hungarian compromise of 1867, Hungary launched a programme of modernisation and nation building, which included the improvement of education in the areas of architecture and the applied arts. The government made efforts to achieve this by radically transforming the institutional framework, reforming existing establishments, and setting up new ones. In 1871 the Joseph Polytechnic, which had been in operation since 1856, was accorded the status of a university (Joseph Technical University). In 1872 the School of Drawing was launched. Within it the School of Applied Arts was established in 1880, the institution becoming independent in 1896. In 1888 the Municipal School of Industrial Drawing of Budapest, the successor of earlier lower level schools of drawing, was established, now as a new centre for the training of artisans. The State High School of Industry opened its school at the end of 1879. Teachers and students had access to an increasing number of French, German, English and Hungarian books and pattern sheets acquired systematically by the institutions, which also used plaster casts and models as teaching aids. Some newly-founded schools operated in conjunction with museums of their respective disciplines.
The Hungarian Parliament – construction, decoration, ideology. The Hungarian Parliament in Budapest (1885–1902) was one of the largest buildings of its time in Europe. As home to the nation’s legislature, it also had to serve as a veritable monument glorifying the country’s history and its newly-acquired status within the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. Following an architectural competition, Imre Steindl, a professor at the Budapest Technical University, received the commission to realise his plan. In fact, Count Gyula Andrássy, a highly influential aristocrat and statesman, had picked his entry due to its style, analogous to the Neo-Gothic style of the London Houses of Parliament. Though historicist in appearance and opulent in terms of materials and decoration, modern technology also played a considerable role in its construction. The statues in the rotunda and on the exterior of the building were meant to immortalise Hungary’s great historical personalities, even if their moderate size, uniform style and subordinated position curtailed artistic expression. The relatively small number of mural paintings, highlighting outstanding events of Hungarian history, were virtually overwhelmed by the wealth of colourful decoration. All in all, Steindl wanted the whole structure to be a single work of art bearing his mark. The Hungarian Parliament ranks high among parliament buildings on the international scene.
2014 was declared Memorial Ybl Year in honour of the outstanding 19th century architect of Hungary, Miklós Ybl for the bicentenary of his birth. From among the related scientific programs the below paper summarizes the conference entitled “His Life-style: Architect”, introduces a small exhibition of Ybl plans connected to the buildings of the Academy and preserved in the Art Collection of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences as well as his oeuvre exhibition. It also reports on the restoration of the Castle Garden Bazaar, a row of edifices along the Danube at the foot of the Royal Castle. Following this account, Acta Historiae Artium carries the texts of five presentations at the conference.