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1st Forum of Hungarian Architects Held in London

Tom Szigeti 2017.03.13.

On Saturday, March 4th, the 1st Forum of Hungarian Architects Conference series was held at London’s Imperial College.

The program was jointly organized by Katalin André, a Kőrösi Csoma Sándor Program scholarship-holder and certified landscape architect; the Kingston Hungarian Society; and the Új Nemzedék Központ (New Generation Centre). The event series is aimed at young people of Hungarian background living in the UK; one of its core goals is to familiarize those living in the UK with international technical developments, as well as with parallels and points of connection between British and Hungarian architectural practices.

The Forum’s first presenter was Sándor Váci, a Hungarian architect with decades of experience working in Britain. Váci spoke about the 2004 Hungarian Architectural Exhibition held in London. He discussed some of the more important examples of the organic architecture of Imre Makovecz, which was characteristic of the plans displayed at the exhibition. Váci also examined the thematic elements found in other examples of modern Hungarian architecture.

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Luigi Simione (left) and Szilárd Halasi

This was followed by a talk from a Hungarian-Italian duo from Bogle Architects, Luigi Simione and Szilárd Halasi. The two architects compared large architectural investments in the Hungarian and British capitals over the past several years, such as Budapest’s Corvin District and London’s Elephant and Castle area, as well as the regeneration of neighborhoods surrounding the Nyugati and King’s Cross railway stations respectively. The discussion of these similarities placed much emphasis on the development of green belts, as well as on efforts to preserve and integrate historical city areas.

After a short break, Dian Small, London Regional Director of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), spoke to conference attendees about, among other topics, RIBA’s organizational structure, as well as about the possible impacts of Brexit on RIBA members. Small emphasized the fact that RIBA’s international nature means that non-UK citizens also have the opportunity to become full members of the organization.

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Dian Small

Another of the event’s presenters was Györgyi Francsics, founder and president of the Kingston Hungarian Society. Francsics is currently in the final year of her BA architectural studies at Kingston University, and she spoke about her thesis on plans to renovate and revitalize the Thamesmead area of London, located on the south bank of the River Thames. She discussed her examination of the various viewpoints and steps of the planning phase, revitalization of derelict industrial buildings, construction of new community squares, and the development of the Thames riverside.

The final presentation of the forum was held by Adrián Auth and Bálint Bakos from the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. The two discussed the Odoo Project, which won the 2012 Madrid Solar Decathlon. The presentation was unique in that Auth and Bakos discussed not only the architectural side of the Odoo Project, but the project management, business aspects of it as well. The two emphasized the fact that the Odoo Project was a huge team effort, made possible by a 60-person-strong group made up of people from different technical backgrounds. From the very beginning, this diverse group operated as one team, and in fact that was how they submitted their application to the solar decathlon as well.

The forum was organized by Katalin André; Bettina Verbászi, head of RIBA Membership Development, worked with organizers to help make the event a reality.

The majority of conference attendees English-Hungarian architects, but other international participants, university students, and professionals working in other fields were present as well.

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