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5 brilliant Budapest buildings designed by women

Writers

  • Zsanett Fürdős

06/04/2021 2.19pm

Mention ‘women architects’ and you think of the great Zaha Hadid, who also designed a futuristic glass-bubble office in one of Budapest’s iconic squares. Although that particular building didn’t see the light of day, on the fifth anniversary of Hadid's death, we celebrate women architects with this selection of five striking buildings in Budapest.

Photo: Bartha Dorka – We Love Budapest

Balassi Institute

1/5

District I. Somlói út 51

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This was built according to the plans of the only woman architect to be a two-time Ybl-award winner, Margit Pázmándi. Located at Somlói út 51 on the slope of Gellért Hill, it is special in several respects. One of the few Modernist-Brutalist buildings that somehow successfully survived into the 21st century, after a little renovation (the National Police Headquarters also operated here), it managed to find a suitable function, the Balassi Institute for Hungarian culture. We especially love the red-green painting of the concrete building and the colourful little details on the back façade. News of its demolition, however, was announced in 2020, the building going the way of another Pázmándi-designed structure, the inner terraces of the Ifjúsági Park, now part of the Várkert Bazár.

Photo: Polyák Attila - We Love Budapest

Former MSZMP Party HQ

2/5

District XIII. Váci út 71

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Pázmándi also designed this remant from the 1970s. Fans of Brutalism may be familiar with the MSZMP Party headquarters at Váci út 71, District XIII, particularly Váci út, now evokes images of an office corridor. Back then it had ties to the Labour movement, so these Party headquarters had to be given the same emphasis. Pázmándi was sensitive to the trends of the day, so the play of the cantilevered façade and the concrete slats provided for shade was not accidental – it consciously brought elements of Brutalism to Budapest. Incidentally, the building was also selected for the Othernity – Reconditioning our Modern Heritage project of the Hungarian pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale.

Photo: Wikicommons

ING headquarters

3/5

District VI. Dózsa György út 84B

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For a long time, the ING headquarters on György Dózsa út designed by Erick van Egeraat and Judit Z Halmágyi was the most divisive contemporary building around Városliget, but the Ethnographic Museum opposite may have taken the spotlight off it. To this day, the emblematic building makes visitors stop, as it attracts attention not only because of its glass, but also with patterns imitating strange drops of water or perhaps a waterfall with metal strips, a fragmented façade and motifs from textile art. Halmágyi is also actively involved in shaping the image of Budapest, among the jury of the design competition for the new Danube Bridge and the Transport Museum.

Photo: Hirling Bálint - We Love Budapest

MOME Workshop, Studio & Media House

4/5

There has been a huge campus development in recent years at MOME, the Moholy-Nagy University of Art & Design in Buda. This has meant not only renovating existing buildings but also building new ones. The milestone of the development in Zugliget was the completion of the Workshop House designed by Zsófia Csomay, and then the Studio and Media House. The buildings follow the character of the area, and the architect worked with valuable and quality materials instead of trendier ones. In addition, the personality of Katalin Csillag of architectural firm 3h is unmissable in the design of the Zugliget front area of MOME.

Photo: Medgyesi Milán - We Love Budapest

Müpa

5/5

The building of the Müpa Palace of Arts might have turned out quite differently if Nóra Demeter had been alongside chief architect Gábor Zoboki. She is one of Hungary’s most renowned international architects who graduated in the United States, and was previously president of the European section of the American Institute of Architects. She has been involved in many urban planning projects in the capital, working with openness and sensitivity.

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