88. szám // 2022. Építészet – képzőművészet – társadalom
A magyar építészek és az „imperialista nyugat dekadens építészetének romboló hatása” 1945 és 1958 között
Hungarian Architects and the “Destructive Influence of the Decadent Architecture of the Imperialist West” between 1945 and 1957
The phrase in the title comes from a text entitled “Dear Comrade Rákosi!”, originally published in 1952 as the editorial of the first issue of the first volume of the journal Hungarian Architectural Art. The phrasing indicates that any interest in Western architecture and embracing its influence were undesirable in the dictatorship. Since the freedom of information is fundamental to any intellectual profession, this paper will examine how the direction of the architects’ opportunities in this domain was affected by the political turns of 1947-1949 and 1954-1956.
To this end, the study opens with an overview of articles on Western architecture in the architectural press after 1945 and then look at how the directions and methods of information acquisition changed in this period.
Based on the articles published in four of the most important architectural journals of the period, Tér és Forma (1928-1948), Új Építészet, the supplement to Magyar Technika: Műszaki és Gazdaságtudományi Folyóirat (1946-1949), Építés-Építészet: Az Építőművészet, Tudomány és Gyakorlat Lapja (1949-1951) and Magyar Építőművészet (1952-), the study describes reports on both Western architecture exhibitions held in Hungary (1946: American and British; 1947 French; 1957: international; 1958: UIA) and exhibitions abroad (1947: Paris, Milan; 1957: Berlin). This is followed by the discussion of study trips (1947, 1948 Belgium, Switzerland, etc.; 1955 France), lectures by Western architects (1949, 1953, André Lurçat; 1950, Ulf Bjuggren; 1956, Pierre Vago), and international cooperation with professional organisations such as the Congrès Technique International in 1946, the Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) in 1947, and the Union Internationale des Architectes (UIA) in 1948 and 1955.
The second part of the paper deals with the availability of journals and the proportion of Western architectural publications in the Hungarian professional press. Between 1945 and 1958, more than 200 extracts were obtained from some 30 Western journals. The distribution over time shows that the presentation of Western literature began to decline in 1949, with no Western sources cited at all between 1951 and 1953, and the opening of 1954 continued this decline in the following year. Edit Lantos points out that from 1949 onwards, in addition to accessing information through extracts in the Hungarian press, Western architectural journals themselves were available for architects in Hungary at their workplaces, in specialist libraries such as the Association of Hungarian Architects (MÉSz), National Monument Inspectorate (OMF), the Library of Budapest University of Technology, as well as personal subscription.
While the patterns of Western exhibitions, study tours, organizational contacts, and number of references in the literature mirror the stages of the rise of the dictatorship and the degrees of losing freedom in the Rákosi era and in the period after Stalin’s death, they shed light on the reasons for the tightening control, too.