Villa for an opera singer. Renovation, Villa Walter Rozsi by József Fischer

More information

Architects
Author.- József Fischer. (1936).
Renovation.- László Kokas. (2020-2022).
Collaborators
Structural engineer.- Eszter Pécsi (Pollák) (Kecskemét, 1898 - New York, 1975).
Client
Opera singer Rózsi Walter and her husband, the textile merchant Géza Radó.
Dates
Construction permit on February 11th, 1936.
Completion.- Autumn, 1936.
Renovation.- Autum, 2020 - March 2022.
Location
St. Bajza utca, 10. 1071 Budapest. Hungary.
Photography
Zoltán Seidner / HMA MPDC Monument Protection Documentation Center Photographic Archives.

Joseph Fischer

Joseph Fischer (Budapest, April 12, 1901 - Ibid., February 23, 1995) was a Hungarian architect who was a member of the CIAM and one of the leading figures in modern architecture in Hungary. He was also a Social Democratic politician. The son of a printer, Fischer trained at Ármin Krausz's school as an apprentice bricklayer and began studying architecture at the University of Building Trades. In 1926, he obtained his degree as an architect and took charge of the construction of the Császár Baths.

Fischer was the editor of Tér és Forma (Space and Form), a Hungarian modern architecture magazine published between 1928 and 1946. Together with his wife he set up a construction company in 1931. In 1932, he set up an exhibition of Modern Architecture at the Margaret Island, in Budapest.

He participated in World War II and in January 1945, he was appointed Government Commissioner for Reconstruction, he chaired the Budapest Public Works Council, until 1948.

During the 1956 revolution, Fischer's house became a meeting place for Social Democratic politicians, and when the party was re-established, he was elected to its leadership. On November 3, he was appointed Minister of State in the coalition government as the candidate of his party, going underground when the revolution was defeated. He was fired from his job in 1959 and emigrated to the United States in 1965, where he received citizenship in 1969. He worked for various architecture firms there and became a member of the Hungarian group of the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM). He returned to Hungary in 1978 and retired.

Eszter Pécsi

Eszter Pécsi (March 8, 1898 in Kecskemét, Hungary – May 4, 1975 in New York City) Born Eszter Pollák (The family changed its name to Pécsi in 1900) and was the first Hungarian female architect and structural engineer. She designed several landmark buildings in Hungary, Austria, and the United States.

Pécsi attended the Royal College of Technology in Charlottenburg, Berlin, between 1915 and 1919. In 1918, the Hungarian government passed laws allowing women to study at universities. The following year, 1919, Pécsi returned to Hungary to finish her training at the Királyi József Műegyetem (Budapest University of Technology and Economics). She graduated the following year, on March 8, 1920, and was the first Hungarian woman to earn a degree in architecture. Pécsi was one of the first four women to study at the university, along with Marianne Sternberg-Várnay, mechanical engineer Villma Máhrer, and Irma Simonyi-Hajós.

After graduating, Pécsi worked for a decade at the Guth and Gergely architectural engineering offices in Budapest. Her work during this time included the calculation of the articulated reinforced concrete arches of the Alfréd Hajós Pool in Margitsziget. It was the first indoor swimming pool in Hungary and the largest in Europe at the time, covered by five reinforced concrete beams with a span of 31 meters and an internal height of 14 meters. The pool was a project by Alfréd Hajós, a Hungarian architect and Olympic swimmer who described it as “The great hall, surrounded by huge reinforced concrete arches, has an extremely impressive effect on the viewer, these arches span the wide space without intermediate supports. .» Pécsi also worked on the foundation of the central turbine (turbine lake) at Bánhida during those years.

On December 3, 1922, Pécsi married the modern architect József Fischer and had two sons, György and János, who grew up to become architects. The couple was a member of the Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM), which played a key role in the expansion of modern architecture.

From 1931 to 1948, the couple ran their architecture studio. During this period, Pécsi calculated significant reinforced concrete floating slabs and tower foundations, as well as taller-than-usual steel structures, working as a structural engineer with many of the leading Hungarian architects of the day, including Fishcher and Farkas. Molnar. Her work, with original structural solutions, included the Fiumei út emergency hospital and the Kútvölgyi út hospital, the first high-rise buildings in Budapest. She also worked on various modern houses.

After the war, Pécsi inspected the bomb-damaged buildings in the capital and directed the reinforcement work on the cracked roof of the National Theater.

In 1957, Pécsi left Hungary without her husband and lived in Vienna for two years, where she worked for the architecture firm Krapfenbauer and designed the structural plans for the first multi-storey car park in the city center near the Vienna State Opera.

Her husband was fired from her job in 1959 and he applied to emigrate to join her, but was denied for seven years.

Pécsi moved to New York, where one of her sons had settled. She joined the architecture firm Farkas & Barron as a structural engineer, then worked with Marcel Breuer, the Hungarian architect and designer, and one of the leading figures at the Bauhaus. Pécsi later became a member of SOM (Skidmore, Owings and Merrill), one of the largest architecture firms in the United States, and was part of the team that drew up the structural plans for the tallest reinforced concrete frame building in the city at the time, the Hotel America, later known as the Sheraton. She also calculated the structural plans for high-rise buildings at Columbia University.

Her husband was finally able to join her in 1964, after having to wait more than seven years for a passport to be granted.

In 1965, Pécsi was awarded "Best Structural Engineer of the Year" for the special foundation method she invented that allowed skyscrapers to be built on the banks of the Hudson River.

Between 1959 and 1970 she taught at New York University.

In 1970, Pécsi was paralyzed as a result of a severe stroke. Cared for by her husband, she died on May 4, 1975 in New York City.

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