Monday, July 4, 2016

Budapest Art Nouveau: Janos Bach's Schmal Udvar

Since not much is happening in Lake Life, I am returning to Budapest for a bit.  I turn, in particular, to a relatively unknown but nevertheless but remarkably beautiful building: Schmalz Udvar, built by Janos Bach on Raday utca 26 between 1909 and 1910.

This building, like so many grand Art Nouveau constructions, was oriented to the corner with two flanking sides on the diagonal.  Corner orientation was a favored site because the intersection of two streets with their respective two facades makes the building more visible, and hence more “important.” It also allows for a dome, one of the most visible and typical features of Hungarian turn-of-the century architecture.

 The colorful decoration, which consists of ceramics tiles by the famous manufacturer Zsolnay, provide both symmetry and variety.

The house is entered by a beautiful glass door with stained glass insets.

Upon entering the door one sees a remarkable stained glass window with art nouveau motifs, surrounded by ornaments. 

The stained glass is above a doorway into the courtyard (udvar) with ornamental wrought iron railings

Tile work and figural (plaster) ornamentation continue in the entrance hall. 

As with most large buildings, such as Schmalz Udvar, the first story is designated for shops and the higher stories for apartments surrounding an interior courtyard.  Schmalz Udvar is not unusual for a large imposing building (though it is in unusually good shape), and Janos Bach is not a particularly well-known Budapest architect.  His building, though, illustrates the degree to which Art Nouveau values can become incorporated in an organic and cohesive manner.


1 comment :

  1. Really interesting. I'm particularly taken with the idea of siting diagonally. In Aspen, there were a number of houses (NOT Art Nouveau), and it allowed for privacy, more garden beds, and generally made the buildings more interesting.