Architectural designs are works of art!


18th July  – 26th August 2019

opened by Frigyes Kőnig, The Hungarian University of Fine Arts, Department of Artistic Anatomy, Geometry and Projection, Head of Department

We celebrate FUGA’s 10th birthday in October with a series of programs. The first event marking the occasion is closely linked to FUGA’s core activity, and it is perhaps one of the greatest challenges we have taken on: will we fill all our exhibition halls with architectural drawings and models.

The exhibition promotes the idea that not only the finished building, but also other stages of architectural activity can be regarded as independent works of art as well, including sketches, blueprints, models and animations, which should all be represented on the art market.

In April, we invited architects and their heirs or students, as well as collectors, archives, and educational institutions to submit architectural drawings and models for the exhibition. The result of this open call is a diverse but incomplete compilation of works, with infinite possibilities for future expansion.

The reactions to the open call have been exciting and educational: it wasn’t immediately clear what kind of works the call was aimed at, that we are not interested in clean copies, but we are looking for original drawings even if they were made on tracing paper or on a paper bag.

It is obvious that fewer architects are drawing manually today. However, digital techniques also have “manual” capabilities. Digital drawing, and more and more frequently, animation, should also be considered architectural works of art.

Drawings can be spontaneous or elaborated to the smallest detail. In today’s digital design era, the role of manual drawing is quite different from what it used to be. Works from public collections and educational institutions clearly demonstrate how essential drawing skills were historically for architectural training as well for a variety of other professions (the Schola Graphidis Art Collection contains some fine examples from the turn of the last century). Manual drawing is still a basic requirement in architect education, but its role is not as pronounced as in previous decades.

The exhibition promoted the idea that the exhibited drawings are unique, original works, which deserve to be on the walls of museums, galleries and homes.

The works of 19–20th century greats, including Ignác Alpár, Ödön Lechner, István Janáky, Imre Makovecz or Péter Reimholz, are presented together with that of contemporary architects, such as Ferenc Bán, Zsófia Csomay, László Rajk or Elemér Zalotay, as well as designs by young studios and university students. A separate section contains selected drawings from public collections and educational institutions.

Works that are not stored in collections are often not well protected, and we know of many endangered legacies. We see a need for a fundamental change in attitude: the architects themselves must be persuaded that their drawings and models can be considered independent works of art that, instead of being discarded as worthless by-products, should be preserved in museums and collections.

There are many museums, galleries, collections and internationally acclaimed architectural biennials worldwide that work to protect and preserve architectural products as works of art.

To our knowledge, the only (private) museum dedicated to architectural drawings opened in Berlin in 2013 (Tschoban Foundation – Museum für Architekturzeichnung).

Architectural drawings can also enter the art market, as they will at our auction on October 6th, which will be the first of its kind in Hungary!

We would like to thank all the exhibiting artists and institutes.


Institutions lending works for the exhibition:

BUTE Faculty of Architecture, Department of History of Architecture and Monument Preservation

BUTE Faculty of Architecture, Department of Graphics, Form & Design

Budapest City Archives

The Archives of Győr City

Rómer Flóris Art and Historical Museum

Lechner Knowledge Centre

Hungarian Museum of Architecture and Monument Protection Documentation Center

Hungarian University of Fine Arts Library Archive and Art Collection

Schola Graphidis Art Collection / The Art Collection of the Hungarian University of Fine Arts – High School of Visual Arts, Budapest

SZIU Ybl Miklós Faculty of Architecture and Civil Engineering Library