The hospital specialist architect - Vilmos Freund was born 175 years ago

Hungarian version of the article: A kórházspecialista építész – Freund Vilmos 175 éve született

Written by: Lívia Blázsovics

August 15, 2021 at 10:00 AM

The architectural versatility of Vilmos Freund, born 175 years ago, is characterized by the fact that in addition to the magnificent tenement houses and villas of Andrássy Avenue, office and sacred buildings, as well as several hospital buildings, are associated with his name. That is why he is also referred to as a hospital specialist. It is interesting to know that the literature knows only one of his work that was not built in the capital: the palace of the Adria Hungarian Shipping Company in Rijeka.

Vilmos Freund was born as a child of a trading family from Paks. His father, Mór Freund, was engaged in the grain trade and supplied flour to the Hungarian army during the 1848-49 revolution and the war of independence. As a result, his financial situation was shaken and he moved to Pest, where he worked as a grain broker and later opened a flour shop. Of his ten children, only Adolf, Antal, Fülöp and Vilmos reached adulthood. Three of the four brothers were engaged in trade and industry, with only Vilmos entering the artistic career. He was a student of the renowned architect Gottfried Semper at the Technical University of Zurich, graduating in 1867. 

When he returned home, he first settled in the office of architect Antal Szkalnitzky, and then, when his project was a success in the competition for the Parliament in 1883, he continued to work as an independent designer. One of his first and significant works is the Budapest National Institute of Deaf-mute Israelites in Bethlen Gábor Square. The Neo-Renaissance style building was built in 1876-1877 and currently houses an American College of Economics.

 Budapest National Institute of Deaf-Mute Israelites on Bethlen Gábor Square in a photo by György Klösz (Source: FSZEK Budapest Collection)

His Neo-Renaissance palaces and villas were built in the 1880s on Andrássy Avenue: a total of nine tenement houses and two villas were designed by Vilmos Freund. We wrote about the buildings in detail in a summary for the 100th anniversary of Freund’s death.

Part of the Chorin villa at 114 Andrássy Avenue (Photo: Balázs Both / pestbuda.hu)  

 Three-storey tenement house at Andrássy Avenue 11 (Photo: Balázs Both / pestbuda.hu)

In addition to the private palaces, the Szabolcs Street Hospital was built between 1886-89 by order of the Pest Jewish Community, according to Freund's plans, the building was recently renovated, today the National Museum Restoration and Storage Center is located here. In addition to the former hospital, the Adél Bródy Children's Hospital was built in the 1890s, also based on the plans of Vilmos Freund.

Szabolcs Street Hospital of the Jewish Community of Pest in a photo by György Klösz (Source: FSZEK Budapest Collection)

In the 1890s, Vilmos Freund was given new assignments to design social and health institutions. The Chevra Kadisa Aggok Menháza [nursing home for the elderly] was built in 1891 on Hungária Boulevard, today it houses the Chronic and Rehabilitation Internal Medicine Departments of Uzsoki Street Hospital. The Ferenc József Commercial Hospital on Bethlen Gábor Square was also built between 1892 and 1895 according to Freund's plans. (The institution was formerly called Commercial Hospital and was located in Hársfa Street.) Today, the building complex operates as part of the Péterfy Sándor Street Hospital.  

The former Ferenc József Commercial Hospital now operates as part of the Péterfy Sándor Street Hospital (Source: FSZEK Budapest Collection)

During this period, notably in 1891, a block of buildings was built at the entrance to the Israelite cemetery on Kozma Street, and the plans for the huge white funeral home were made by Vilmos Freund. The palace of the Lipótváros Casino was also built between 1894 and 1897 in neo-baroque style, based on Freund's plans. The BM Danube Palace currently operates in the building at 5 Zrínyi Street.

The building of the BM Duna Palace originally housed the Lipótváros Casino, the building was designed by Vilmos Freund (Photo: Balázs Both / pestbuda.hu)

Vilmos Freund also designed a villa for his family, which was built at 31 (formerly 13) Bajza Street between 1900-1901. The builder was Adolf Freund, who commissioned his brother, Vilmos, to draw up the plans. Today, the Hungarian Academy of Arts (MMA) operates in the recently renovated building.

The Freund villa in Bajza Street (Photo: Balázs Both / pestbuda.hu)

The villa was built by Adolf Freund for his family (Photo: Balázs Both / pestbuda.hu)

Cover photo: The Freund villa in Bajza street (Photo: Júlia Kozics / pestbuda.hu)

 

 


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