2020. February 25. Our Favourite Programs from the First 9 Years

Gergely Kiss

2011-2012 project coordinator of Budapest100

In 2011, Gergely Kiss coordinated the guided tours related to the brand new Budapest100 event, then in 2012, he was the project coordinator of the festival of hundred-year-old buildings in Budapest. Gergő remembers the first years of the program: “I got involved with the project through a lucky coincidence: I was asked, as the Guided City Tours coordinator of KÉK (Contemporary Architecture Centre) to organize tours connecting the participant houses. I became part of the small organizing team where everyone suddenly found themselves responsible for a lot of other tasks besides their own field of expertise. The tasks multiplied overnight, as did the ideas and the program kept evolving. A very exciting process has started then, and we had no idea how it was going to turn out. There were moments when it seemed to be a hopelessly tall order wanting to realize such an event in Budapest, the ‘city of closed gates’. And still, we have encountered such wonderful, positive surprises thanks to the enthusiastic residents and representatives of institutions. These first programs have definitely decided, even in a decade’s hindsight, that Budapest100 was going to be an awesome event.

One of these early treasures was Mr. Laci Juhász at Király street 67, an old resident and resident representative of the house, he took our call so seriously that he became an active (creative, pro-active, motivating and loud) participant of our organizational resident meetings and ended up organizing a fantastic event. Guests were welcomed on several floors and several apartments: comic poem recital performances in the basement, glass sculpture exhibition, introduction tableaus to the house, lots of visitors, stories and more stories – and I also believe that the Budapest100 program has also entered the house’s legend collection as an important anecdote.”

Évi Tornyánszki

2011-2013 project coordinator of Budapest100
since 2014 member of the Budapest100 communication team

I started my first internship at KÉK in 2010 as a design manager. After having successfully coordinated volunteers at the Model Festival, Nóri Somlyódy called me to join the launch team of Budapest100. The tiny group of organizers was soon joined by a dozen of enthusiastic volunteers, which suggested that there was indeed a need to discover the hidden treasures of the city and to create communities around it. The exciting development process was characterized by conscious experimentation and naïve optimism. Over the ten years I had countless favorite moments: from grumpy residents becoming friendly and welcoming to the glow of enthusiasm in our volunteers’ eyes; but if I had to choose one, it would be the celebration of Attila út 29. in 2014. The 100th anniversary of the house coincided with the 100th birthday of one of the residents, Adél Könyves Tóth. We celebrated both of them on that beautiful spring day with a garden party, birthday cake and balloons. It was a very emotional moment, which reflected perfectly the honest nature of the program. Dadi néni had been living in the house since 1946 and used to be a tennis player in her youth at the Tabán Spartacus SE. She told us about how the house was hit by a bomb in 1944-45, which completely demolished the left corner of the building. Which is why there are no windows on that side today.” – remembers the early years Éva Tornyánszki who has been a member of the Budapest100 team since the beginning; she has been volunteer coordinator, project coordinator, and is currently responsible for the communication and branding of the program.

 

Zsuzsi Horváth

2013 Budapest100 volunteer
2014 Budapest100 organizer
2015 Budapest100 project coordinator
2016-2019 Budapest100 volunteer

“I participated in Budapest100 as a zone coordinator in 2014, but there was a house at Dózsa György street 102 where I got involved as program organizer as well.

At the first local residents’ meeting, there were only three residents present, all three of them were very supportive but also very mistrustful. We tried to dissolve their skepticism with a fellow volunteer in the dark, ground-floor corridor of the former villa building. The mission was accomplished: we planned a garden make-over program for the Budapest100 weekend, going against the opinion of elder residents claiming that it was completely pointless since everything perished in their garden for years. In the end, even the grumpiest resident was digging the garden with us, even the local children joined in to plant flowers. The climax of the weekend was the concert of the band Esti Kornél, who gathered at the garden stairs of the villa and gave an acoustic concert. It was live and ‘low-cost’, but it created an incredible atmosphere. We’ve implemented the weekend from our own resources and with an immense volunteer help and favors, and all our invested energy payed off. We still go back sometimes to check on the plants through the gates.” – Zsuzsa Horváth was a member of the Budapest100 team as a zone coordinator in 2014, and a project coordinator in 2015.

 

Rita Szerencsés

2012-2013 Budapest100 organizer
2014, 2016 project coordinator of Budapest100
since 2017 responsible for the international relationships of Budapest100

That balcony concert! In 2014, there was a house at Gogol street 22, which opened for the Budpaest100 weekend, where “coincidentally” lived an opera singer, a musician and a director; and they came up with an unforgettable and extremely professional show for the visitors. Even they would never have thought that one can sing opera on the hanging corridors of a 100-year-old building, let alone us, or the visitors for that matter. It was nonetheless the most memorable program of 2014. As organizer, I was proud because a community effort of the residents was realized, and resulted in a program drawing from the residents’ skills. And as a private person, this was a happy day because it was the second time that me and my colleague Juli Libárdi have adopted Juli Ránki, communication director of Budapest100, as our second mom and so we could all feel that our parents finally understood what and why we did when we worked on Budapest100.” – Rita Szerencsés, member of the Budapest100 team since 2012, one of the program coordinators in 2014 and 2016.

 

Juli Libárdi

2013 Budapest100 volunteer
2014 Budapest100 organizer
2016-2019 Budapest100 project coordinator

Over the years, from volunteer I have become a project coordinator. The organizing team of Budapest100 has become part of my family, and my family has become part of the Budapest100 volunteer helpers in the background: they walked from one venue to the other with bags packed with program brochures to back up the empty supply. It’s the job, the lines between work and private life get blurred because you do it with such enthusiasm and dedication that you can’t put it down and your family doesn’t have a choice. Every year, I passed the weekend of the event zigzagging between venues, helping to solve arising problems. I had rarely time to actually attend programs, but I did sometimes catch a glimpse of those magical moments when the people living in the buildings were able to give something from their everyday life to the visitors: to share their talent, whether in music, baking or reading out loud. In 2019, I had the chance to visit the Gyöngyház street where one of our core members, Juli Ránki, being a resident of the street, was able to convince three houses to participate. It was a Sunday afternoon and – as it did throughout the entire weekend – it was raining, so people were taking shelter under the gates of the buildings, but one could still hear cheerful chatter and music coming from all three houses. Every volunteer and resident has contributed as much as they could to the program. They baked cookies, painted the doorways, decorated the street, played music. Everyone was happy about the result of the joined efforts, and I had a little time to listen to the accordion performance of one of the residents and a sibling of our volunteer. It was a beautiful ending to the weekend, and also to my work as an organizer.” – Julianna Libárdi, Budapest100 volunteer, then project coordinator between 2016-2019.

Nóri Németh

2011-2012 Budapest100 volunteer
2013-2014, 2016 head of research of Budapest100

“I was never a real program organizer, but the house at Szív street 42 has really grown close to my heart. Not only because the building is so special, or the program was so extraordinary (although they featured such amazing people like Noémi Saly, Vera Jónás and András Dés); it was rather because it was here that I realized how important it was for the right information to find the right person. The first time around, I delivered the invites myself, it was in 2012, but I received a completely deaf welcome; then in 2014 – entirely independently from me, I wasn’t even on the archival research project for this – an ingenious program was organized here. From the stories hung in the stairways we learned, for instance, how one of the residents saved the life of the neighbor family from a potential fire hazard when they fell asleep next to the lit stove. The house even had a blog created, which unfortunately has not been updated since, but the posts are like actual short stories and I still visit the page sometimes to read them again. (http://szivnegyvenketto.blogspot.com).” – Nóra Németh, art historian, returning member of the Budapest100 team.

Jani Klaniczay

2017 Budapest100 volunteer
since 2018 Budapest100 project coordinator

“For the 2017 Budapest100, they have asked me to do a guided tour about the architecture of the Víziváros district, and I was happy to do it. At that time, I only had a vague idea of what this event really was. I might have wandered into one or two houses in previous years, but I had never really dived deep into the program before. After the guided tour, however, I spent the rest of the day visiting all the participant buildings on the bank of the Danube. I visited a very worn-down house on the Bem quay, it was quite dilapidated but I thought: every house is interesting. This is where I had my firs ‘a-ha’ moment, or let’s just call it ‘Budapest100-moment’: I was on the hanging corridor over the courtyard when a band of residents consisting of an accordion, percussions and a guitar, started to play in the courtyard. And it was there that I realized that those guys were going to greet each other afterwards whenever they would meet in the stairway.

In 2018, I participated in the program as one of the project coordinators; it is difficult to highlight the ‘best’ program of all. However, my favorite story from last year, the year of the Bauhaus, happened in the Dugattyús house. The residents presented the house enthusiastically to the visitors throughout the entire weekend, some of them even invited the visitors inside their apartments to show the unique windows from inside. The extremely popular house had its typical Budapest100-moment after the program ended on Sunday: the residents organized a guided building tour for themselves, one of our researcher volunteer told them all about their house. There were more than twenty residents at the tour; they have agreed upon how to use the common areas to benefit more the community, they created their own Facebook group, they even invited their ‘sister house’ on the other side of the river, the Dunapark house (also designed by the Domány-Hofstädter architect duo) for a visit. I’m sure that they as well will greet each other in the hallway after that weekend, and we still follow the fate of the buildings.” – János Klaniczay, one of the project coordinators of Budapest100 since 2018.