A village in the city
A bold and successful twentieth century venture resulted in the Wekerle estate (part of the 19th district Kispest in Budapest, Hungary) built between 1909 and 1926, and planned by young architects in the Hungarian vernacular secession style. The main square is the work of the famous transivanian architect Károly Kós. The estate, named after the then prime minister, Sándor Wekerle, was intended to solve the housing problems of local workers and clerks. It can also be regarded as a kind of 20th century attempt atsocio-politics. It functions as an independent urban district with its own churches, schools, cinema and police station. Two vast wood and stone gateways, designed by Károly Kós and Dezső Zrumeczky, excellent and influential Hungarian secession architects, lead into the central of the estate.
The young architects gathered their material in rural areas and their inspiration from medieval peasant architecture. The English Arts and Crafts movement and the garden city movement that created Hampstead Garden Suburb were further influential models for them.
Around the central Károly Kós square 16 types of family houses and freehold apartment buildings were built, divided by avenues of trees. Wooden gables and balconies, steep roofs covered with vividly coloured tiles are a characteristic feature of the estate.
The Wekerle housing estate is a unique place to walk around. Like a little village hiding within the city.If you watch the design of houses, you may find the same types of plans repeating even within the same street. (A hundred years ago, between 1908 and 1925 they were actually built by only a few standard plans drawn by genial architects, but the years hided many of those common shapes.)
Although today it is only a few underground stops from downtown, when it was built, the area was far out of the borders of the city, and that’s why it could be built this freely, this creatively: the strict architectural laws and rules of the capital didn’t reach out this far into the outskirts. This now classic garden suburb is most definitely not on the tourist route, although it could be.
You can find pictures of Wekerle estate at the two links below:
You can find paintings and graphics at the link below:
How can you get to Wekerle estate?
Take M3 (blue) underground line to Határ street and walk along Pannónia street (the street that begins aproximately at the entrance of Europark Shopping Center, just behind a tiny place with a bench and a greeting sign.) or take bus 199, 194 that take you to the center of Wekerle, Kós Károly square.