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Pest Vigadó

Frigyes Feszl

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(detail)1864 | construction


Frigyes Feszl |main architect


The construction of the Vigadó began in 1859 and was finished in 1864, by the plan of  Frigyes Feszl (1821-1884) Hungarian architect, in  National-Romantic style. The middle of the XIX. Century for Hungary was the period of the search for national identity, which also had strong effects on the architecture of the times. After the failure of the war for independence in 1948-1949 the aim of Feszl was to create this building as the symbol of the Hungarian nation.

Frigyes Feszl was born in a noble family of German origin. During his education in Munich, he became acquainted with the architecture of Gottfried Semper and Leo von Klenze which had influenced him a lot. During this years matured the idea of necessity to create the Hungarian national style.

The Vigadó was built on the ruins of former classicist style Redoute and The German Theatre of Pest, which burnt down in 1849. Hence the contour of the new building were given. The Vigadó building from three sides stands alone; the main facade looks in the direction of the Danube. This spatial element has an important role in the Classicist style. Contrary to Pollack’s middle projection building in Feszl’s design  the middle projection disappeared, he designed pylons like angle projections where the staircase was placed.

From the entrance the audience is directed straight to the stairs and therefore they can easily leave the building. The middle section situated between one-axle pilons has five axles. The pylons are articulated into three parts by the full height columns at two edges ended in a corolla, those in the middle in statues.

Above the ground floor arcade two-stories-high arched openings are placed, which illuminate the large hall. The pilasters between the openings have been minimized evoking the atmosphere of the Renaissance loggias. Above the row of windows a frieze is running around with sculptured king heads. Slightly backwards in the middle section raises the body of the main hall articulated by row of rosette windows.

The side facades do not have the similar large-scale architecture as the main facade. They have simpler three-story building architecture; on the ground floor with straight enclosure and on the floors arched enclosure openings.

Frigyes Feszl harmonized the Eastern Moorish, Byzantine and Romanesque style with the decorative elements of Hungarian folk art in the building. The facade arcade was built in a semi-circular Bavarian style, built according to e rundbogenstil. Feszl used valiant bandage of the Hungarian cavalryman’s uniform as decoration and placed on the facade statues dressed in Hungarian costumes. In his opinion the national taste is best preserved in clothes.

The ground plan layout has already at Pollack evolved the Danube side representative row of halls. These can be opened and they can serve different functions. Interesting layout solution is the balcony in the middle axis which completes the internal architecture of the main hall. Feszl instead of a middle axial entrance to the building, he planned on the side facades a charioteer across the building. It was like a covered street between real streets. Guests could immediately reach the representative fleet of stairs placed in the transport centre of gravity of the building, into a roofed forefront.



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