Friday, March 25, 2016

Recovered or Replaced? Repairing Historical Buildings in Budapest.

I recently read that there are approximately 1000 Art Nouveau buildings in Budapest, These buildings are in various states of repair.  Some are beautifully restored.  Others are to one degree or another repaired.  And some are in total states of disrepair. But what constitutes "repair" when dealing with buildings that are privately owned and serve different purposes?

Ferenciak tere, in the historical center of Budapest, is one of the most beautiful squares in the city.  It sits off Kossuth Lajos utca, just before it enters the Freedom Bridge.  Just before the bridge are the famous Klotild Towers (one renovated by Buddha Bar that retains the original outside appearance but not the inside; the other waiting for renovation).  At the entrance to the square are three large buildings, including the famous Parisi Udvar, each facing a corner, with entrace to the square at the fourth corner.  One of the buildings that makes up Ferenciak ter is called the Kiralyi Bazaar--two joined buildings that open to a shopping arcade.

When we were here last year the Kiraly Bazaar looked like this.

It was obviously in need of repair, but nevertheless a distinctive building.  Now it looks like this:

It has not only been repaired but has been painted in various shades of beige/orange.  The problem is not just the colors look odd (was orange and beige truly a 1900 shade of paint?) but that the sculptural details are difficult to discern under the layers of paint.

(Everytime I pass this building I get annoyed.)

Obviously Budapest's buildings need care and attention.  But to paint an otherwise unpainted building and to paint it in such odd colors begs the question of the degree to which this still is the original Kiraly Bazaar.

This questions also arises with the famous Parisi Udvar, which is now covered up while renovation proceeds.  The Mellow Mood Hotel Chain is promising a 2017 re-opening

(Stay tuned to see what's at stake.)


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