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Lajos Hartvig (1961)

Béla Bánáti

Béla Bánáti:
...I'm not feeling too bad. Compared to what I imagined twenty-five years ago, I'm just fine.

...On one hand there's a social, economical and cultural product evolution which goes hand in hand with consumerism. Actually, consumerism is what generates this evolution, because it's the only way thoughts can work their way into the process again and again, and that's a very important thing, that the space before us is cleared. In other words, products we had ten years ago disappear, they receive new wrapping, and a new thought is defined in a new product, naturally along with all of its technical and design aspects. On the other hand, there is a huge price to pay for this development in terms of environmental issues. It is precisely between these two factors that harmony must be found, which ensures the development of the world at an appropriate rate, but doesn't exhaust all our resources.

...I think we still have not come to accept the fact that our activity is transitory, that it will become temporary art, and we have not prepared ourselves accordingly, emotionally or technically. There are no building-storages, buildings are torn down, and at best some kind of documentation is prepared beforehand, and that's it, it's over.

Lajos Hartvig:
...I'm fine, thanks. For one thing I find the world we live in extremely exciting, and for another I am experienced in learning to feel good even when circumstances dictate otherwise. I think that one needs to take time once in a while to stop and look back on what they've done, to give oneself a pat on the back. And I'm not talking only about those in my profession.

...As to what the goal of an architect is, I think it can be defined in a Renaissance way: one makes buildings for his and the world's glory. That's it. Another important thing is to spend our little lives happily and to leave some successors behind.

...In the present Hungarian reality one must try to build houses that carry cultural values that interest not only ourselves. If we want to be a part of the cultural circulation that is characteristic of all of Europe, then we have to be able to produce buildings here or anywhere that are important not only in Budapest or Hungary, but to the entire European culture.

...If you cannot make things that live up to your own most daring inner creativity, it's mainly because after a few years of experience you begin to censor yourself: this isn't going to go over, it's not worth trying. Many grandiose, bold, creative plans are slammed against the wall like that, and after a while you just shrug your shoulder and think nothing's going to come of it anyway. That's the worst that can happen. Is this ever going to change? I am sure it will. Sooner or later Budapest will be just as important part of the architectural scene as Paris, Geneva, Zurich or Graz.



German School of Budapest
Budapest, XII., Cinege utca
Planners: Lajos Hartvig, István Matus, Brigitte Scheffler, Ulrich Scheffler

In September, 2001, students were finally able to take possession of the 7,900 square meter new German school, built at the cost of 2.3 billion HUF. Despite the grand scale of the building, it does not clash with its natural environment. On the contrary: it exploits its advantages. The planners managed to avoid rigidity that modern architecture is so often accused of. The friendliness of the building is due primarily to the materials used, as well as the simple yet sophisticated spatial structures. It is obvious that children are taken seriously here. The environment and the system within which they work and study is clear, transparent and open. The building offers exemplary proof of the fact that good architecture is capable of grasping and conveying the essence of even the most complicated of concepts without words - often empty ones at that - and misunderstandings. Stepping into the new German School of Budapest and imagining what it must be like to be a teenager here, all this is palpable and understandable within moments.



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