Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Werkele Estate

A few days ago, we took the metro out into the hinterlands of Budapest to visit the Werkele Housing Estate,  This was meant to be a self-contained garden city big enough to hold 20,000 people but still retaining a village-like rural atmosphere.  It was the brain child of Karoly Koss (1883-1977) who came from that part of Transylvania that was then Hungary (now Romania--actually Temesvar or Timisoara where Tony and I did Fulbrights).  Like Lechner, he wanted a "national style," but instead of looking to the far East, he turned to Transylvanian villages, which were, he thought, the closest to what Hungary actually began as.  Medieval gables, peasant designs, folk art: full scale revivial for the middle class,

Now, of course, these houses, with their large gardens, are highly sought after and well beyond the ordinary person's price-range.

They are also much nicer--larger, better kept--than the original village buildings we saw in Romania.  Another utopian vision that escaped its builders' intentions.


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