Those Who Built Budapest 3.0

The Budapest History Museum presents a selection of architectural drawings, rare books, pattern books and plaster casts from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries from the Schola Graphidis Art Collection of the Secondary School of Visual Arts of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts.  



Adapted to fit the exhibition halls of the Budapest History Museum’s Engravings Department, Those Who Built Budapest 3.0 is the updated version of the exhibitions Those Who Built Budapest, held in 2015 in the FUGA Budapest Architecture Centre and Ceux qui ont construit Budapest, held in 2017 in the Hungarian Institute in Paris. A great addition to the previous installations, the current exhibition also features a wide selection of photographs by György Klösz who documented the construction of the Millennium Underground Railway.


Budapest became a true metropolis during the time of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy (1873–1918). Following the example of other European capitals like Paris or Vienna, its Historicist and Art Nouveau urban landscape was formed during the last decades of the 19th and at the beginning of the 20th century.


The Millennium Underground Railway, built in 1896, was the first of its kind on the European continent. The construction began in 1894; the line was inaugurated on 2 May 1896 by Emperor Franz Joseph as part of the Millennium Celebrations which commemorated the arrival of Hungarian tribes in the Carpathian Basin. This underground railway line connected the inner city of Pest with the City Park, the main venue of the celebrations. It runs directly under the main avenue of the city called Sugárút (renamed Andrássy Avenue in 1885) which was built in the 1870s. Opened in 1876, it is lined with representative urban palaces built in a Neo-Renaissance style as well as a group of the most significant public buildings in Budapest such as the Opera House (1875–1884, Miklós Ybl), the former Music Academy (1877–1879, Adolf Láng), the former Art Hall(1876–1877, Adolf Láng) and the building of the Royal School of Drawing (1875, Lajos Rauscher) – the last two are currently housing the Hungarian University of Fine Arts.


The construction of the underground railway was documented by the atelier of György Klösz (1844–1913), a prolific photographer born in Germany. Today, four versions of the photo series can be found in various public collections in Budapest. The album currently on view contains 15 original paper prints which not only capture Andrássy Avenue, but the since perished buildings of the metro stations, too (Gizella Square, Deák Ferencz Square, Opera House, Octogon Square, Aréna Road).


In the age of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, the urban development plan determining the structure of the city, the style in which both public and private buildings were designed and the architect and artisan training programs were all based on Western European examples. Our exhibition presents this time period in Budapest from the viewpoint of artisans who built the city in the physical sense. The education of a wide range of different artisans all related to architecture (carpenters, joiners, tinsmiths, decorative painters and sculptors, architectural drawers and locksmiths, stone carvers and masons) took place in the Metropolitan Municipal Technical Drawing School (1886–1946). Similarly to the architecture programs, plasters casts, foreign books on architecture and pattern sheets made with different kinds of reproduction techniques (lithography, photomechanical processes) were used during classes.


The exhibited original graphic works were all created between the 1870s and the 1910s; these architectural drawings were glued into uniformly designed albums compiled for exhibition purposes. During this period, several architecture departments were working in the Technical Drawing School whose director at the time was Antal Palóczi, an architect and professor who was primarily known for his works in urban planning. Teaching architectural drawing for more than 30 years, he was the head of the school from 1879 until 1911. Furthermore, we present a selection of 19th century architecture books and prints from the Rare Book Collection of the Schola Graphidis Art Collection, which had been a part of the Metropolitan Municipal Drawing School’s “Library of the Applied Arts and the Education of Craftsmen and Artisans” in the 1920s. These would not be complete without pieces from the Collection of Plaster Casts and Sculptures which were cast in the 1900s. They originally belonged to the educational plaster cast collection of the Technical Drawing School which, at its peak, counted around 1,900 pieces.


For more information on the Schola Graphidis Collection, please click here.



Open from 13 March until 16 September 2018

Budapest History Museum (Buda Castle Building E), 1st floor