My Design Inspirations: The Architecture of Budapest

Get ready for a bit of personal post...

Goodbye, Budapest...Hello, London

Yes, I am moving from Budapest, Hungary, after living here for 4 ½ years. I was in Delhi, India, for 2 years before that, so it will be fun to live in a place where the primary language is English! In fact, earlier this month, when I was flat hunting in London, I felt guilty because I found myself eavesdropping on so many conversations.😂 

The reason I am such a nomad is that my husband's work takes him to these countries. So instead of an always-commuting husband, I go along for the ride. It's perfect for me because I love a good adventure! We have 3 children who have lived all over the world during this time, as well. It isn't always easy to get together, but we make it a priority and often find ourselves meeting in new countries to explore.

As I get ready to leave on a new journey to London, I feel like I am looking at everything the way I did when I first arrived. One of my favorite surprises when I moved here was the incredible architecture! I had visited Budapest in 1988 to 1989, when it was still Communist, and because many things were not maintained, the architecture didn't stick in my mind. I had been living in Florence, Italy, at the time and remember taking the train here and being surprised by the dilapidated buildings. There were really no hotels, so we had to find a place by reading the Let's Go Europe recommendations and placing a call at the Post Office. Does anyone else remember those days? I digress.

Back to the incredible architecture...and if you've been here, you understand how awe-inspiring it is. At the turn of the 20th century, Budapest flourished as the center of art and learning and took inspiration from Vienna (as they were both part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire) and Paris. This period is known as the Belle Epoque, or golden age. The Parliament Building, the Opera House, and many others were built at that time.

I want to share a few - to entice you to visit Budapest yourself! 

St. George Serbian Orthodox Church

Of course, many stunning places were built before the Belle Epoque, including the Baroque St. George Serbian Orthodox Church, built in 1733 over an existing medieval church. I chose my flat because I can see the church from almost every window in the house! The warm yellow ochre color changes all year round. I probably have 7,504 photos of it.😂 Do you notice that the clock is missing? I always wonder when they are going to put a new one in...

Hungarian Parliament

Another favorite building is the Hungarian Parliament built 1885-1904 to commemorate three cities coming together - Buda, Obuda and Pest - to become Budapest. It's built in the Gothic Revival style and the interiors are unreal, as well. The exterior is clad in limestone and would you believe it, they have actually replaced the stone, as it literally started crumbling within years of completing the building! As we designers know, limestone is so porous and in 2002, 100 years after the inauguration, they replaced ALL of the limestone with a more durable one. I hope it lasts!

I love looking at the view of the Parliament when walking on the other side of the Danube River. Can you imagine cruising the Danube and checking this out?It's so large that you can see Parliament from many parts of the city.

Párisi Udvar

Over the past 4 years I have watched the construction of the Párisi Udvar. Loads of artisans have brought back to life original tiles, stone work, and glass. I wanted to peek in SOOOO many times! After diligent restoration, the space finally opened back up about a year ago.

A little history...Párisi Udvar was originally built in 1817 as a Neoclassical shopping arcade, reminiscent of the Parisian Passage des Panoramas. The name comes from its Parisian reference. Párisi Udvar = Parisian Court. In 1906 it was redesigned and became Budapest’s Central Savings Bank. However, despite evading damage during WWII, it fell into disrepair during the Communist regime, along with most buildings in the city.

Now, the building is back and better than ever. The architectural style is a mix of Arabic, Moorish, and Gothic elements - a Kaleidoscope representing Hungary’s history. You walk in and are transported. 

 You can check out the interiors I posted on Instagram. Prepare to be awed!

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A post shared by Kathleen DiPaolo (@kathdipaolo)

I hope you have enjoyed your architectural history lesson for the day! 😂 I had so much trouble narrowing the post down. I could have written for hours. Good thing the movers have been packing ALL day! My poor flat is in boxes now. 

You know what that means though...Almost time to decorate again! 

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