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Budapest added to the Unbound Collection: the history of the “Parisian Court”

Párisi udvar (The Parisian Court) used to be a magnificent shopping arcade in Budapest. It was built in the early twentieth century in an eclectic style and boasts a grandiose glass roof and plenty of sculptural decorations. The arcade occupied the first two levels of the Brudern House, an attractive seven-story building accentuated by two small ornate towers. You might find the building familiar from the movie Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth and also Benedict Cumberbatch. Now you can see it unveiled, the facade has been hidden due to a renovation.

The building will be reborn as Párisi Udvar Hotel in Budapest in the 20th-century Brudern House, as the amazing features and its eclectic design offers a rich history and sense of place in the heart of Budapest. The Art Deco and Neo Gothic building is located on Ferenciek Square on the Pest side of the city and has escaped major reconstructions making it a unique treasure from Budapest’s past.

Párisi udvar’s main entrance lies at a central location along Ferenciek tere, being one of Budapest’s oldest squares. In 1817, at a time when the area was probably one of the busiest in the city, József Brudern decided to build a large store here. The building, known as “Brudern-has” (Brudern House), was designed by the talented Hungarian architect Mihály Pollack. Inside was a shopping arcade that was modeled after the Passage des Panoramas, a glass-covered passage in Paris. This was probably the reason why the house was also known as Párisi-haz (Paris House). In 1907 the Belváros Savings Bank acquired the property and organized a competition for the construction of its new, prestigious headquarters. They received forty-three submissions and a design by Flóris Korb and Kálmán Griegl was chosen as the winner. The bank’s board of directors however decided to select a different architect, German-born Henrik Schmahl.

Construction started in 1909 and the building was completed in 1913, one year after Schmahl’s death. The new building, also called Brudern House, was mixed-use, with a sumptuous shopping arcade on the two lower levels and room for offices on the upper levels. The arcade was named Párisi udvar (Parisian Court) as a reference to the original arcade.

Henrik Schmal created an unusual building in a mixture of different architectural styles, including Venetian Gothic and Renaissance, decorated with Art Nouveau and Oriental elements. The palatial exterior, clad with colorful Majolica tiles, is decorated with numerous ornaments and motifs. Sparkling white reliefs of figures set in neo-Gothic niches adorn the rooftop, while fifty statues protrude from the third floor. The two main towers, which reach a height of forty meters, are richly decorated with neo-Gothic sculptures and even grotesques.

The Parisian Court inside was even more impressive. The arcade, two levels high, had a vaulted roof made of colored glass and a striking hexagonal glass dome, designed by Miksa Róth. The arcade was decorated with cast-iron and sculpted wooden ornaments. The floors had beautiful mosaic tiles.

The building was completed in 1931 and remained relatively undamaged during the second World War after which the upper floors were converted into apartments. It has so far escaped major renovations, making it a unique treasure from the past. The future hotel incorporates elements from Moorish, Art Deco and Neo Gothic styles, representing the best of Hungary’s architecture. It has been home to shops, apartments and offices, as well as the Jégbufe ice-cream parlor fondly remembered by many local residents and is within a stone’s throw from the famous pedestrian area of Váci Street, bustling with cafés, theatres and shops.

The food and beverage outlets will be situated within the Párisi Udvar arcade, under the splendour of the building’s colored glass ceiling and hexagonal cupolas, offering guests a truly unique place to socialize and relax.


Text via aviewoncities.com and Hyatt, photo by Miroslav Petrasko/Flickr

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