László Hugyecz (Laszlo Hudec), a brilliant Hungarian architect, was born 125 years ago and died 60 years ago. He was a mastermind who was known better by the Chinese than by the Hungarian. Read along to find out why.
Have you ever tried typing #hudec on Instagram? Give it a try, and you will find hundreds of pictures of his works. But if you want to see them personally, you will have to travel far away from Hungary, because László Hugyecz became famous and successful far away from his homeland, in China. Szeretlekmagyarorszag.hu collected some interesting pieces of information about his life and work.
Because his father was a successful architect himself, he had a natural interest towards architecture from a very young age. Later on, he had the most excellent teachers in Hungary and got his diploma in architecture. In World War I, the Russian army held him captive near the Chinese border until he escaped to China. There, he learnt English and Chinese, got a job and, because those around him realised how talented he was, he got more and more orders. However, it has always pained him that he was not able to move back to his homeland, the Felvidék (part of the historical Greater Hungary).
From 1925 to 1941, he designed 37 buildings in Shanghai, that are still standing and functioning today.
One of his best-known works is the 22-story Park Hotel, which was the tallest building in Shanghai up until the 1980′.
In 1942, he was offered the post of honorary consul of Hungary in Shanghai. He accepted the position and during the Second World War, he saved lives giving shelter and papers for Jewish people.
After the war, in communist China, he was seen as a traitor, and this is why he was put in jail. He managed to escape to Switzerland. After that, he lived in Italy as well. Finally, he moved to San Francisco where an earthquake destroyed his house. He rebuilt it, but another quake came during which he died of a heart attack in 1958.
2008 was a Hudec-year in Shanghai, to make a tribute to this talented architect, who played a big role in shaping the city’s look.
Featured image: img.idealshanghai.com