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Walking to See Architecture, Budapest

We have a week in Budapest. And we love architecture particularly art nouveau. We will be doing the usual sights. Do any of you Budapest experts have suggestions for streets or buildings we might enjoy on our way too an fro? Or neighborhoods we might like to wander? If it helps, we are staying in an apartment near Central Market, and we tend to spend our evenings just walking. Night time panoramas to walk to would be cool too.

Posted by
1741 posts

I'm not a Budapest expert, but I will recommend visiting the Zeneakademia (Franz Liszt Academy of Music). You can take a guided tour for a small fee, currently showing as 1:30 pm every day. If not a tour, at least go into the lobby. There's always the option of attending a concert! Here's an excerpt from a review on their website: "The building itself is an absolutely stunning work of art - if you like Art Nouveau, you will be completely blown away by the beauty of the building. I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area (centrally located right off Andrassy - Ferenc Liszt Square)." Might as well look into the opera house while you're in the area.

Posted by
20860 posts

Another vote for the Liszt Academy, and do take the tour. Absolutely worth it. My 2018 tour ended with about a 15-minute solo performance by a cellist.

Here are some Art Nouveau places I had in my notes; I see that James E's link reveals many additional possibilities.

  • Former Paris Department Store (then Alexandra Bookstore & Café, which closed March 2017), Andrássy út 39. Supposed to be really lovely, but you couldn't see anything in 2018. Perhaps it has reopened in some other guise.

  • National Archives of Hungary, Becsi Kapu ter 2-4 (I): Large art nouveau building with multi-colored roof. Didn't go inside. Couldn't figure out what days and hours it was supposed to be open. Website seemed to be in Hungarian only.

  • Gellert Hotel, Szent Gellert ter 2 (XI), at Buda end of Szabadsag Bridge. Also the
    Gellert Baths, Kelenhegyi ut 4 (XI)

  • Hungarian National Bank, Liberty Sq (Sabadsag ter) (V)

  • Postatakarekpentzar, Hold Utca, just south of intersection with Aulich utca (V). Can see part of interior; hours not clear. Cannot see roof, which is reportedly beautiful.

  • Thonet House, Vaci utca 11a (V).

  • Caterpillar House (Brudern Ház), Petofi Sandor 2 (V); main entrance at the corner of Petőfi Sándor and Kossuth Lajos streets, : Totally closed for reconstruction at the time of my visit. It's supposed to be beautiful, but I don't know whether it's Art Nouveau.

  • House of Hungarian Art Nouveau (Magyar Szecesszio Haza), Honved utca 3 (V): Decorative art in an art nouveau house; displays are crowded. Mon-Sat 10:00-17:00; closed Sunday (in 2018). They were selling an Art Nouveau map of Budapest; worth getting it early in your stay.

  • Museum of the Hungarian Finance Guards and Taxation History (Schiller Villa), Munkácsy Mihály u. 19/B (VI): Great builing. Look beyond toilets on first floor to see incredible stained glass and ceramic inlay in the metal spindles of the staircase. Guide may not speak English; I tipped him because he must surely have other work he has to stop doing to deal with random tourists. Mon-Thu 8-16:30, Fri 8-14 (in 2018).

  • Lindenbaum House, Izabella utca 94 (VI), right off Podmaniczky u., just east of Nyugati Station

  • Miksa Roth Memorial House, Nefelejcs utca 26 (VII): Former home of glass artist. Stained glass and mosaics from art nouveau period. Small. Tue-Sun 14:00-18:00 (in 2018).

  • Gutenberg House, Gutenberg ter (VIII)

  • Népszínház Street 37 (VIII): Art nouveau building.

  • Voluminous Central Market Hall, aka Great Market Hall (IX), Vámház körút 1-3, Vaci utca and Fovan Square: Open Mon 6:00-17:00, Tue-Fri 6:00-18:00, Sat 6:00-15:00 (in 2018).

  • Museum of Applied Arts (Iparművészeti Múzeum) (IX), Üllői út 33-37. Museum is in an "exuberantly art nouveau” building but seems to still be closed. There may be something to see at the Gyorgy Rath Villa:,Szecesszi%C3%B3s+Akad%C3%A9mia

  • Geological Museum, Stefania ut 14 (XIV): In a bit of an isolated location, as I recall.

  • Teleki Blanka Gymnasium, 37 Ajtósi Dürer sor (XIV): Ditto.

  • Budapest Zoo (XIV)

Posted by
20860 posts

I just started from comments on the forum (some of them yours, I assume). But I guess it didn't occur to me to Google Art Nouveau tour Budapest, because I missed stuff. Rats.

Posted by
646 posts

Wow indeed!

Thank you Acraven. That's quite a list.

Posted by
13424 posts

If you read many of my posts you will see that I tend to rant sometimes. This is no exception.....

Not as romantic, but if you are into architecture is Bauhaus, and Budapest is full of amazing Bauhaus architecture. Walter Gropius started the movement in Weimar in 1919. A fascinating subject. The Nazi's took it to a place called Brutalism which sort of fit who they were, the West took it to something we call Mid Century Modern (another favorite of mine) & many used it as an excuse to do bad architecture. As Gropius lived until 1969 he had the opportunity to see the evolution of what he started. The majority of growth in Budapest being after 1880 and then dying abruptly in 1940 its a pretty good microcosim of the styles of that period; neoclassicism, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bauhaus.

What is missing in the city is Stalinist (or Social) Classicism for that go to Kyiv. Shame too, because it is a very interesting style. Sort of Western Classicism meets the East. The city does have many good examples of Khrushchev's Modernism but more common are the somewhat less austere developments of the Brezhnev period.

Anyway, here are some links to the Bauhaus.

Some of my favorite Walter Gropius quotes:

“Only work which is the product of inner compulsion can have spiritual meaning.”

“If your contribution has been vital there will always be somebody to pick up where you left off, and that will be your claim to immortality.”

“A modern building should derive its architectural significance solely from the vigour and consequence of its own organic proportions. It must be true to itself, logically transparent, and virginal of lies or trivialities.”

“Limitation makes the creative mind inventive.”

“Together let us desire, conceive, and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will one day rise toward heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith.”

“How can we expect our students to become bold and fearless in thought and action if we encase them in sentimental shrines feigning a culture which has long since disappeared?”

“Since art is dead in the actual life of civilized nations, it has been relegated to these grotesque morgues, museums.”

“Children should be introduced right from the start to the potentialities of their environment, to the physical and psychological laws that govern the visual world, and to the supreme enjoyment that comes from participating in the creative process of giving form to one's living space.”

“Our guiding principle was that design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair, but simply an integral part of the stuff of life, necessary for everyone in a civilized society.”

“A modern, harmonic and lively architecture is the visible sign of authentic democracy.”

“The ultimate aim of all artistic activity is building! ... Architects, sculptors, painters, we must all get back to craft! ... The artist is a heightened manifestation of the craftsman. ... Let us form ... a new guild of craftsmen without the class divisions that set out to raise an arrogant barrier between craftsmen and artists! ... Let us together create the new building of the future which will be all in one: architecture and sculpture and painting.”

“We want to create the purely organic building, boldly emanating its inner laws, free of untruths or ornamentation.”

“The mind is like an umbrella. Its most useful when open.”

Posted by
20860 posts

Thanks, James. I'm updating my notes for my next trip to Budapest. I'm trying to wait until the Museum of Applied Arts reopens--though I think I read that it will be in a different building.

Posted by
646 posts

I was raised by an architect educated in Chicago during the late 50s. Like many of his contemporaries he spent his early career littering the west Mountain States with Mid-Century Modern buildings. I lived under this I. M. Pei masterpiece. For me Brutilist architecture is homey with a sinister twist, like looking at your parents in gray funhouse mirror.

Posted by
13424 posts

acraven, you got me. I had no idea they had closed the Museum of Applied Arts. I was there it seems less than 2 years ago and while the building was interesting, beautiful actually, it was in poor shape and the exhibits were a bit sparse and lacking in appeal. Good news they are fixing it. The article i found from late 2017 implied they would be done by 2021 or 2022. But if it goes as well as the Opera, that could be 2025 or 2026.