MAKOVECZ IMRE – ORGANIC ARCHITECT

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MAKOVECZ IMRE INFORMATION

organic architect Imre MakoveczBorn in Budapest in 1935, Makovecz Imre (1935-2011) studied at the Technical University there and received his diploma in 1959. He worked in the Budapest Town-Planning Office, the Design Office of Cooperatives, and the Design Office for Town Planning, all government organizations.

Makovecz Imre became the architect for the Pilis Park and Forest Company in 1977 and set up his own practice in Makona, in 1983. He is a member of the Hungarian Association of Architects, an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, and a member of the International Academy of Architects.

Imre Makovecz’s buildings, which often have an exuberant form and an unexpected combination of surfaces, are difficult to characterize for those brought up on a simple diet of “hot” or “cold,” reactionary or modern.

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He is known as a man who embraces the opportunities offered him, as when he became the architect for a forestry company, and works effectively with local communities and builders. Yet he is also highly sophisticated in his use of geometries and materials.
MAKOVECZ IMREThe spirit of a place—geological conditions, remnants of folk art, local materials, vegetation, and the indigenous people—can be the motifs as well as the motive force of the drama of architecture.”In his own words, Makovecz Imre’s architecture is “an experiment (not a technical one) to see how, given the established social conditions, the present power structure, and the shape of our civilization, and working with my fellow men, I can make the forgotten, archaic World reappear.

Seeking an archaic world might at first seem to contrast wildly with the goals of many other architects, but the built results of this search in fact have much in common with other contemporary work. It is highly spatial, structurally forceful, and extremely inventive.

The sources of Imre Makovecz ‘s invention are to be found perhaps equally in traditional Hungary and in twentieth-century mechanization, and he is clearly more comfortable with this duality than some of his fellow architects in Western Europe. He enjoys the involvement of carpenters and other craftsmen, letting them extemporize and choose the method they feel happiest with.

Imre Makovecz acknowledges influences as diverse as Heidegger, Jung, Steiner, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Celtic mythology and culture, but more particularly that of the Hungarian philosopher Bela Hamvas, who was an expert on ancient religions, myths, and beliefs.

Makovecz Imre against one of his buildings

There is a distinctly religious atmosphere to some of the interiors of Makovecz’s buildings: the roofs of the Courat Center at Jaszapati, the Cultural Center at Sarospatak, and the Nature Education Center at Visegrad follow from his most famous “backbone” roof in the Mortuary Chapel in Budapest of 1977.

Trees are used as pillars, grass is encouraged up and onto the tops of buildings. Windows can be Secessionist in both complexity and detail (as in Sarospatak), deadpan (as in the Community Hall at Joszkiser or orificial (as at Visegrad).

One of Makovecz Imre buildings

In two works, the Roman Catholic Church at Paks and the Cultural Centre for Szigetvar, Makovecz Imre creates an architecture that is exuberant, but in a hierarchical way. The transition from ground to dome in the Cultural Centre is more classically handled than in earlier work, and both buildings display a certain symmetry; these buildings are less organic than his previous ones.

The real key to his work may well be his small constructions for camp facilities and farm buildings, where he is able to achieve a state of knowing bricolage similar to the spirit of both Bruce Goff and Frank Gehry.

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