Thursday, April 11, 2019

Marcell Komor and Dezso Jakob: The Liget Sanatorium and Its Dazzling Interior

I first discovered the architecture of Marcell Komor and Dezso Jakab in 2009, when I was in Timisoara Romania accompanying Tony on his Fulbright at the University of the West.  That spring, I saw their relatively simply but stunning bank in Timisoara, as well as the Cultural Palace and City Hall they built in Targu Mures and the homes and shopping arcade, the Black Eagle, they built in Oradea.  Later I saw their beautiful synagogue in Subotica in Serbia, as well as the town hall and other buildings in that city.  All of these are on my blog, as are most of their buildings in Budapest.

Komor and Jakab worked first with Odon Lechner before opening their own architectural firm.  And you can see how much they absorbed from Lechner.  They are perhaps the "sons" who most closely worked in Lechner's tradition.  I thought I had seen most of their important buildings but just on this trip I discovered another:  the Liget Sanatorium built in 1909 on Benczur uta.  This was my last great get, because I was again welcomed inside.

The Liget Sanatorium is a kind of luxury hospital retreat--the sort of builing that became more and more popular across Europe at the turn of the century.  It is adjacent to City Park, Varosliget, and is where Ady Endre, one of Hungary's most famous poets died.  It is thus a monument in several senses.

The entrance to the building is decorated to an extraordinary degree in some of the most beautiful (and expensive) Zsolnay tiles to be seen in the city.  Komor and Jakab use Lechner's tradition of lining the edges and filling in spaces with decorations.   The details are extraordinary.  Also beautiful is the wrought iron staircase with its cascading feathers and peacock feathers.  The Liget Sanatorium was the last building we saw on this Budapest visit.  It was a fabulous finale. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Emil Vidor: The Villa Egger--Inside and Out

The Egger Villa, at Varosligeti fasor 24, was built by Emil Vidor (1867-1952) in 1902.  It has been described as "among the purest--and most extravagant--examples of Art Nouveau architecture in the city."  It was the first building Vidor's designed and executed on his own.

The exterior of the Egger Villa reflects Belgian and French Art Nouveau, particularly that of Victor Horty.  It's notable for its asymmetry, its subdued yet evocative floral imagery, and its spectacular use of the Art Nouveau curvilinear and organic line.  You have to look carefully to catch its details.

Some are obvious on the street-facing fa├žade.

Others can be seen only by walking around the sides of the house.

 I was able to see the sides and back of the exterior because someone had left the usually locked gate open.

But as I walked around the side, I noticed someone walking in a door, and she kindly let me come in with her.  So I saw something I never expected to see:  the interior of this famous and beautiful building.  

Its beauty was totally unexpected.  Particularly the use of wood as ornament, probably reflecting Vidor's interest also in Finnish architecture.  Here are the fruits of my getting inside: