Having lived in Budapest for years before moving to Shanghai, I always felt a special connection to Hudec Laszlo, the Hungarian architect who did the same things about 100 years ago to become one of the leading architect in Shanghai. Hudec was totally unkown when I reached Shanghai in 2004, but his return to fame from 2007-2008 helped me getting back in touch with Hungary. I recently took a trip back to Budapest after a number of years of absence. Having met Hudec great grandniece at the Shanghai World Congress on Art Deco, it was obvious to go and meet her in Budapest and a great opportunity to visit Laszlo Hudec’s alma mater, Budapest Technical University also called Müégyetem.
Csedy Virág, Laszlo Hudec great grandniece has created the Hudec project in Budapest, studying the elements of Laszlo Hudec’s life available in Hungary, including correspondence with his family, in particular with his sister and brother in law. Originally from Bistrica Banya (today Banska Bistrica in Slovakia), Laszlo Hudec went to Budapest for studying at what was the main technical school of Hungary at the time, and one of the most advanced in the world. He lived in a place owned by the reformed church in Budapest VIII district and studied at Müégyetem. In this period before WWI, Budapest was a vibrant city, full of people from all corners of the empire. Art and crafts were celebrated and a massive transformation of the city had taken place in the previous 30 years until that time. As an architect student, Hudec surely walked around these buildings, along with Gresham Palace, the chain bridge, taking the tram 47 -49 over the Danube to city center.
As shown in Hudec marks book, his teachers at the university were the best at the time in the country, many of them designed architecture wonders that still make the city beautiful today. Amongst many was Karoly Kos, who designed the Budapest Zoo. Another graduate of the same university was Imre Steindl who designed the Budapest parliament house. Being taught by the bests of his time, Hudec carried this heritage and skills to Shanghai, creating some the iconic buildings of the city including the Park Hotel, Grand Theater and many more. Having made it in Shanghai, he brought his younger brother from Hungary to help him, who unfortunately died after a few years. Hudec was planning of returning at some point in Hungary, purchasing land and a ranch in the area surrounding Budapest. Leaving China after World War 2, he never went back as it was occupied by Soviet troups and became part of the East European bloc.
Visiting Müegyetem was a great experience, as I had passed in front many time but never went into it during my time living in Budapest. Hudec Laszlo story of traveling so far and being one of the main architects in Shanghai, to be forgotten for decades is still a fascinating story, strongly linked to both Hungary and China. Hudec and his work are now famous again in Shanghai, unfortunately few people know about him in his homeland of Hungary. I hope this will change in the future.
11 thoughts on “Laszlo Hudec alma mater”
Representing the Hudec Cultural Foundation of Hungaty it was an honor to be the guide for a kind French man speaking Hungarian andas a knowing so much about Art Deco, Shanghai and Budapest . And I am quite optimistic about our inspering idea too: How wonderful would be to organise an Art Deco World Congress in Budapest in the future!
I find it very racist and insulting by calling Laszlo Hudec Hungarian. Such traces of Hungarian nationalism is very unethical. Ladislav Hudec was Slovak at heart and is from the city of Banska Bystrica, Slovakia.
Thanks for your comment. Among people interested in Old Shanghai, I am probably the best placed to understand your comment, as I lived in Central Europe for many years before coming to Shanghai. My first post about Hudec was about the very fact that he is claimed by both Hungary and Slovakia: https://shanghailander.net/2008/03/looking-for-hudec/
The fact remains that Hudec went to University in Budapest. He spoke and wrote in Hungarian, as shown by his personal notes. The country he lived in and left never to return included Banska Bistrica,as well as a large territory of what is now Slovakia. Part of his family actually moved to Hungary after 1921.History has moved on and his genius has no border anyway.
Personally I have great memories with many people from Central Europe… who tend to have much more in common that what they think, or what politicians on both sides tell them.