central park, the beresford, architecture

Hungary may be a small country in the heart of Europe, but Hungarians have certainly done a lot of significant things, on an international level as well. Many talented architects contributed, for example, to Budapest becoming a top tourist attraction with its amazing architecture. However, less attention is dedicated to those Hungarian-born architects who moved abroad for one reason or another but still created amazing masterpieces.

1. László Ede Hugyecz

László Ede Hugyecz, otherwise known as Ladislav Hudec, has Hungarian-Slovakian origins. He studied at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics and graduated in 1914. Unfortunately, the first world war stopped his career in Hungary in its tracks, and he had to go to war. He ended up in Siberia where, luckily, his skills and knowledge allowed him to do serious architectural works as the country struggled with a shortage of skilled workers.

architecture, shanghai, theatre
The Grand Theatre in Shanghai, now another iconic building, was also designed by László Hugyecz Hungarian-born architect
Photo: facebook.com/monicacitywalk

In 1917, he contracted typhoid and had to get on a Red Cross train, but the war hindered the progression of the train. So, Hugyecz and a few others got off the train, and he ended up in Shanghai where he joined the team of an American architecture company. His knowledge of several different artistic trends made him a valued member of the company, although he later started his own business.


He designed numerous buildings in Shanghai that shaped the image of the city in the 20th century but that are still symbolic today. One of these is Shanghai’s very own Flatiron Building, usually referred to as the Normandie Apartments or the Wukang Mansion. Today, it is one of Shanghai’s symbolic buildings, and many celebrities choose to stay here when visiting the city. However, it also has a fascinating history, as in the 1960s and ’70s, locals called it ‘The Diving Board” because of the many suicides committed by intellectuals and others persecuted there as state enemies.

CNN: iconic buildings in Budapest designed by the ‘Hungarian Gaudi’

2. Emery Roth

Emery Roth was born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in a town that now belongs to Slovakia. He was only 13 when his family emigrated to the United States. His architectural career started in Chicago, where he worked on the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. However, he later moved to New York, and his most famous works link him to the Big Apple.


Roth designed the famous Beresford overlooking Central Park. The building appears in many shots of the famous New York park and can boast of several famous guests, including singer Diana Ross, actress Glenn Close or tennis player John McEnroe.


Another iconic building designed by Roth is The Eldorado. This building was built in an art deco style and now serves as a luxury housing cooperative. Just like The Beresford, it also overlooks Central Park and thus dominates many photos capturing this gem of New York City. Numerous celebrities have lived here, including Alec Baldwin or Tuesday Weld.

3. Ernő Goldfinger

Ernő Goldfinger was born in Budapest but moved to the United Kingdom in the 1930s. He became a key figure of the Modernist architectural movement, even though his designs were initially rather unpopular among the public as well as other architects. Now, many of his residential tower blocks are listed buildings, and he also designed a number of school buildings and even a building on the Swansea University campus.

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This is how Balfron Tower looked before @egretwest, @abrogersdesign, @poplar.harca and @londonewcastle – aided and abetted by @historicengland and Tower Hamlets London Borough Council – conspired to mutilate and vandalise it. You see, on 22 October 2015 Historic England – “in order to safeguard the special architectural or historic interest of the building” – prepared a set of conditions which were supposed to be met during the "refurbishment" of Balfron Tower. Two conditions were especially important. Firstly: “A mock-up section of the proposed fenestration system comprising glazing, framing and perforated panelling which should be prepared and presented on site.” And secondly: “A sample panel for the patching of the external bush hammered concrete showing the proposed proportions of mix, colour and texture shall be provided on site at low level.” Four years ago things were clear. But at what point did somebody authorise this shocking travesty of any known conservation policy, a litany of extensive material changes that has caused such grotesque damage to a Grade II*-listed building? I think it's time to start a campaign to strip the "refurbished" Balfron Tower of its listing and, since we can't really expect a return to the status quo ante, urgently reform Historic England. Because really: who is guarding the guardians? Balfron Tower, Brownfield Estate, by Ernő Goldfinger; designed in 1963-64 for the LCC, built in 1965-68 for the GLC. Listed at Grade II*. #ernőgoldfinger #ernogoldfinger #goldfingerstudio #balfrontower #brutalism #newbrutalism #brutalist #brutalistarchitecture #brutalist_architecture #brutal_architecture #betonbrut #concrete #rawconcrete #modernism #modernist #modernmovement #modernistarchitecture #architecture #housing #socialhousing #housingestate #councilestate #estate #balfrontowerconservationarea #brownfieldestate #poplar #towerhamlets #london #nofilter

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Balfron Tower was completed in 1967, designed in the Brutalist style of the ’60s. An interesting tidbit about it is that the elevator serves only every third floor (visible on the image above), so those living on the 4th or 5th floor, for example, have to walk a bit to get to their apartments. Goldfinger himself lived in the building for a while, and the building appeared in several movies and music videos, too, including the video for “Morning Glory” by Oasis, as well as the movie called “For Queen and Country”, starring Denzel Washington.

In memory of Goldfinger, there is a scholarship awarded to Hungarian architectural students to study, work and travel in the UK, strengthening the ties between Hungary and the United Kingdom, the two significant locations in Goldfinger’s life.

For more news, check out this article about the iconic buildings that will shape the future look of Budapest, according to CNN.

Featured image: facebook.com/BeresfordFamilySociety

Source: Daily News Hungary

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