The Housing Crisis Discourse at the Early Stage of the Sovietization of Hungary Cover Image

A lakásválság diskurzusa Magyarország szovjetizálásának kezdeti szakaszában
The Housing Crisis Discourse at the Early Stage of the Sovietization of Hungary

Author(s): Márkus Keller
Subject(s): WW II and following years (1940 - 1949), Post-War period (1950 - 1989)
Published by: AETAS Könyv- és Lapkiadó Egyesület

Summary/Abstract: In the paper, I tried to identify the options architects were considering to solve the housing crisis during the post-WWII general crisis. I investigate the most important problems as well as the set of concepts and the point of view they used to formulate their answers. After 1945, as a result of the devastation of the war, the industrialization and appropriation, taxation, land consolidation and collectivization campaigns, those hundreds of thousands of people who were fleeing from the villages to towns turned the existing housing shortage into an acute crisis. Though the leaders of the state must have realized the problems stemming from the bad quality and the undesirable mix of the housing stock, they did little to solve the issue due to their focus on military and heavy industry. As a result, most houses built between 1945 and 1960 were realized as a result of individual efforts. Examining crisis descriptions it becomes apparent that the dominance of modern architecture, which monopolized the architectural discourse on the housing problem after 1945, could not be broken even by the predominant style of socialist realism. In each case, we find the “condemned” modern content behind the Stalinist categories and socialist realist forms, and even socialist realist constraints were to gradually disappear after 1954. But the way of thematizing the crisis changed. The essentially eschatological crisis concept used right after the war was replaced by a new interpretation of the crisis in the 1950s, which saw it as a permanent, long-lasting state. Naturally, parallel to this interpretation the belief in an ultimate, radical solution started waning. This is one reason why, even though the housing problem did not show signs of improvement, it seems that this search for solutions was concluded after the 1951 “great architectural debate” at the 1952 house building conference, to return to the limelight again at the end of the 1950s only.

  • Issue Year: 2014
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 105-124
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: Hungarian