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Filming in Hungary: Blog

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Brutal Budapest: Local Examples of Architecture's Most Divisive Trend

zita kisgergely

The Barbican Center (not in Budapest). via Wikipedia Commons

The Barbican Center (not in Budapest). via Wikipedia Commons

It doesn’t matter if you think it’s an eyesore, or if you think it’s utilitarian beauty for the ages, the brutalist architecture movement is enjoying a huge wave of popularity. Everyone from hipsters to Millennials to architecture mavens have taken up the brutalist cause with brutalist tours, brutalist Facebook pages, and books devoted to nothing but brutalist architecture. We’ll leave it to the more learned people at ssense.com to give a concise definition of brutalism: “Concrete facades. No decoration. Strict social ethics. Low cost and fast effect. In the period between the 1950s and the 1970s, brutalism was the blue pill of urban planning for communities and town councils across five continents. It allowed municipalities to build social housing and public buildings with a limited budget and a cultural blessing. The godfather of all architects, Le Corbusier, explicitly highlighted the beauty of “brutal matter,” and in general terms, colors and shapes that look great on a concrete background. Moreover, erecting structures in concrete was easy, economical, and functional for the large social housing necessities of expanding cities in the golden age of postwar Western industrialization.”

But not all concrete architecture is brutalist, and not all brutalism is made from concrete, as purists on the web are quick to point out. Brutalism is a bit like pornography: you may not be able to say exactly what qualifies, but you know it when you see it.

Detractors, particularly right leaning or libertarian Americans, call the movement either elitist or socialist, depending on their agenda. There is no doubt that the Russians and former satellite states excelled at brutalism.

Surprisingly (or not) when Budapest decided to renovate Moszkva Square, and rename it Széll Kálmán Square, they went with a concrete brutalist look for the metro stop and surrounding structures. Whether this is forward thinking or retro nostalgia is a matter of opinion.

via BKK

via BKK

via BKK

via BKK

Recently torn down Puskás Stadium was much loved for its football games and Metallica concerts but was also derided for its very industrial, hence, cheap, hence, brutalist look. Today’s hyper-modern stadium (not pictured) doesn’t have that problem.

The Budapest Hotel (not to be confused with the Grand Hotel Budapest, which is a different style altogether) is a cylindrical concrete spot for your brutalist Budapest getaway.

via Danubus Hotels

via Danubus Hotels

And if you want to get out of Budapest, there’s the retro-wondrous Ezüstpart Hotel in Siofok on the beautiful (or brut-iful?) Lake Balaton.

via szallas.hu

via szallas.hu

Of course, with its Socialist past, Hungary has some good examples of the brutalist architecture that is so trendy these days (though not as many as one would expect from a post-Bloc country). Above are just a few. If you know of any more drop us a line in the comments.

Flatpack Films is based in Budapest, Hungary. We are a film company that offers an inspiring and professional work atmosphere for our local and international clients. Since our inception, our focus has been providing the best of the best in terms of local production resources, locations, cast, and technical teams to ensure that whatever the production we facilitate, we do to highest standard possible.