The National Office of Cultural Heritage of Hungury is the body responsible for heritage protection in the country. The origins of a sensitivity towards and respect of historic monuments date back to the end of the 19th century. Since 1997, and after the social and political changes that began in 1988, it has been regulated by laws that take into account not only artistic or historic monuments but also their surroundings.
The building is a unique masterpiece of Art Nouveau architecture, a prime example of the endeavours of late 19th-century architecture to create a distinctive Hungarian style. The museum, founded by the Hungarian parliament in 1872, was the third museum of applied art in the world. The building, designed by Ödön LECHNER and Gyula PÁRTOS, opened to the public in 1896 as the closing event of the millennium celebrations of Hungarian state foundation. Its solutions clearly reflect Lechner´s effort to create an unmistakably Hungarian style of architecture by incorporating features of Oriental architecture and Hungarian folk arts into the dominant European style.
The magnificent green and yellow ZSOLNAY tiles of its roof and dome make the Museum of Applied Arts a popular and striking landmark on Budapest´s skyline. (Source: Szabó Virág: Szeretettel vár az Iparmüvészeti Múzeum, 2010)
© Horváth Edina, KÖH
Sándor BAUMGARTEN, as architect of the Cultural Ministry, designed and built hundreds of school buildings throughout the country. Following his collaboration with Ödön LECHNER, Baumgarten carried out projects in the manner of his master, using sinuous and decorative brick columns and divisions.
Consequently Baumgarten became the most prolific adherent and propagator of Lechner´s architectural style. Among his most significant buildings in Budapest is the School for the Blinds (1899-1904), which represents a transition between Neo-Gothic architecture and Lechner´s style. The interior design, especially the assembly hall and its stained-glass windows which numbers amonst the largest continuous painted glass surfaces in Hungary, are certainly worth a closer look. (Source: Budapest Architectural guide - 20th century, 6Bt, 1997)
© Papp Tímea, KÖH
The Palace of the Gresham Insurance Company (the latter Apartment and Retail Complex) was the most luxurious apartment development in the capital, built with the utmost precision and level of luxury directly upon the axis of the Lánchíd (Chain Bridge). The designers were Zsigmond QUITTNER and József VÁGÓ; the sculptural ornamentation is the work of Géza MARÓTI, Ede TELCS, Miklós LIGETI, Ede MARGÓ and Szigfrid PONGRÁCZ. The stain-glass windows of the staircase opening from sky-lit passages were designed and carried out by Miksa RÓTH. The whole building is characterised by the three dimensional, sculptural handling of novelly formed elements. (Source: Budapest Architectural guide - 20th century, 6Bt, 1997)
Today it functions as a Four Seasons Hotel.
© Hack Róbert, KÖH
Centuries ago thermal springs gushing forth at the foot of Gellért Hill created a muddy hollow where today´s baths are located. The first the open-air bath was named, for its muddy waters, Sárosfürdö (Muddy Bath).
In 1894, when construction of the Francis Joseph, later Szabadság (Liberty) Bridge commenced, the government expropriated and subsequently demolished the bath building. In 1902 the municipality of Budapest acquired ownership of the springs from the treasury and started to prepare a project for the construction of a new baths.
The actual construction of today´s Gellért Baths began in 1911 and the building, named St Gellért Medicinal Baths and Hotel, was inaugurated on 26 September 1918. The architects were Artúr SEBESTYÉN, Ármin HEGEDÜS and Izidor STERK.
The real attraction of this building, considering the many alterations undergone by the hotel, is the thermal bath still capable of evoking the milieu of the Hotel´s construction. Alongside those baths remaining from the Turkish period, the Saint Gellért Baths is one of the most internationally well known and most popular medicinal baths in Budapest. The exotic splendour, the glazed tiles and mosaics glittering with magnificent colour effects in a fabulous atmosphere heightened by the clouds of steam render the building a peerless gem of the bath architecture fashionable of the turn of the century. Although the architects began their careers under Ödön LECHNER´s influence, the master´s presence can no longer be discerned in this work. The main entrance, the corners and the bath entrance are crowned by baroque-like domes. Floral folk art motives decorate the entire building and reflect the geometricising tendencies of the ?Wiener Werkstätte?. The colourful and imposing 74-metre-long entrance hall covered by an arched glass roof - the transversal axis of the symmetrical ground-plan - evokes the atmosphere of Roman thermal baths. The whole complex is characterised by the abundance of a highly varied detail: the amazingly exquisite world of late Art Nouveau blends with the Neo-Baroque.(Sources: Csaba Meskó: Thermal baths, Our Budapest, 1998 and Budapest Architectural guide - 20th century, 6Bt, 1997)
© Horváth Edina, KÖH