The renovation works are being carried out according to the plans, so the new part of the Sipeki Balás villa, built between 1905 and 1907 according to the plans of Ödön Lechner, is now ready for construction at 47 Hermina road. One of the gems of Lechner's work is the restoration and rescue of the headquarters of the Hungarian Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired, under the restoration supervision that began in the spring of 2021.

The Balás Sipkei Villa  before the renovation (photo: Csilla Halász - Mihály Ludmann - Zsófia Viczián: All Lechner, Látóhatár Publisher)

The listed building was ordered from Ödön Lechner by Béla Sipeki Balás, legal adviser of the Ministry of Justice. After Sipeki retired from politics in 1918, he held positions exclusively in philanthropic institutions. Thus he became the president of the National Association for the Protection of the Blind. After his death in 1944, he left his house to the Hermina Mezei Parish, the Association of the Blind (the legal predecessor of MVGYOSZ) and the National Association for the Protection of the Blind. In 1953, the association merged with the Association of the Blind, which bought the church’s stake.

The villa in 1908, a year after it was completed (source: The House, 1908)

The last renovation of the villa, which contains all the decorative elements used during Lechner's life, took place almost fifty years ago, in 1973, when a new part of the building was added from the back wall of the house, there was a Braille printing house, two libraries, various departments . This part has now been dismantled. Due to the deteriorating condition and corroded roof and gutters, the building was regularly soaked and the façade plaster was spectacularly ruined. In 2014, accident-prone parts were removed, and in 2015, there was a minor, partial restoration that involved the hall’s bronze chandelier, wall painting, and stairwell painting.

The house is now ready for construction (source: Épkar Zrt./Facebook)

During the renovation of HUF 1.94 billion, the 2720 square meters of plaster of the villa will be restored, and the artificial stone elements of the eosin-glazed fireplace, the stairs and the external facade will be renewed under restoration supervision. Its tinsmith structure, exterior and interior doors and windows will also be restored, and many will be remanufactured, with 1,000 square meters of parquet being renovated. The roof will also be renewed. Part of the work is tidying up the garden and creating a new part of the building at the back tract.

The plaster will be restored on 2720 square meters (photo: Épkar Zrt./Facebook)

The works affecting the stairs are also supervised by a restorer (photo: Épkar Zrt./Facebook) 

The new part of the building (photo: Épkar Zrt./Facebook)

Épkar Zrt., Operating in a consortium with Prím Kft. According to information posted on its Facebook page, the new building erected in place of the old annex building is ready for construction. The villa is currently undergoing electrical and mechanical work as well as masonry work.

The renovated Sipeki Balás Villa is expected to be handed over at the end of 2022.

Cover photo: Ödön Lechner's plan, implemented between 1905 and 1907, will be completely renovated on Hermina road (photo: Épkar Zrt./Facebook)