JLL 03 - 17 - 2010

High on the hill above the Danube River on the Buda side of Budapest is a historical district protected by UNESCO.Most of the architecture in this district has stood for hundreds of years. Historic restaurants and facades fill the street. On the main street stands the oldest building of the district. Quite unassuming, it sports a red and gold painted pattern of hatching and orbs. Partial arches separate the lower level from the second story. The restaurant located on the first floor is recessed back from the street allowing sidewalk seating and flower baskets. Flowers also hang from the second story windows that have simple wooden frames. The building is humble and in need of repair but its history is protected as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Directly across from this historic building sits the newest building in the area. Built during the Socialist days under Soviet rule, this building is starkly different from the building surrounding it. Composed of concrete and glass this building can mostly be described as "gray". Although windows are a pre-dominant feature of the building, it is not inviting. The street level is recessed but remains as a barrier between the building and pedestrians. In scale the building is massive compared to the older structures across the street. It spans the same street front area taken up by seven or eight of the older buildings. Although the building still stands it is not well liked (as noted from our tour guide's comments about it). The relationship of these two buildings is an interesting one. Certainly both have an incredible history. For me, seeing socialist architecture in a historical setting certainly draws attention to its ideology and style. It also highlights its flaws. Hopefully in the future, we can take the best aspects of both of these styles and employ them as we see fit.

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