I imagine a Matrioska. Here’s one of Budapest’s biggest district, number 8, which hosts a gorgeous portion named “The Palace Quarter” (Palota Negyed). Within this up-and-coming area flooded with students and artsy locations, there’s a cute street with a hard-to-pronounce name. Every time I give a tour of the area, guests spontaneously stop to take pictures.
Let’s get back inside the Matrioska, to its core. Where it lays a yellow courtyard and garden covered with ivy, decorated by baroque statues and covered by a cobblestone pavement, resides the Chamber of Architects.
Since 1954 the headquarters of the Association of Hungarian Architects, this structure, called Almássy Palace, was built in 1877 and designed by Antal Gottgéb. It’s described as “an open house” where different branches of art can meet architecture & where architects can meet the society – they also organise expositions.
Since 1958 the courtyard and its basement has been occupied by the “Architect Cellar” bistrò where it is possible to order lunch or drinks and consume them in the courtyard. This is a place where I bring people who I want to impress with some of the finest hidden gems this city is keeping. Rarely crowded, it’s secluded but buzzy at lunch time, when it’s easy to meet architects of the association.
A special one that I like to greet every time is always there: it’s Ödön Lechner (1845-1914) in a relief dedicated to him as founder of the Hungarian Art Nouveau style (Secession), as a revolutionary genius & a leader for the architects of this country.