Robert Grimshaw.

Journal of the American Institute of Architects (February 1918):67.

During the twenty years or so preceding the war there has been in Budapest--as in many other great European cities--a deplorable lack of houses; and in all cases for the same reason--a greater increase in the number of inhabitants than the birth-rate would account for. Houses and apartments, and especially small ones, had been built to keep step with the increase in population. In this particular the lower and middle grades of employees have suffered the most. Increases of wages and salaries have not helped, for the reason that there were not enough dwellings.

In order to solve the dwelling problem for the workmen and low-salaried employees of the city of Budapest, the Hungarian Government decided in 1908 to erect "colonies" on the edge of the city, at Government expense, so as to afford housing accommodations for 8,000 to 10,000 workmen's families. In Kispest (which being interpreted means "little Pest") about 47,000 klafters 16,920,000 square feet), and in Ohegy about 214,000 (7,704,000 square feet) were bought at a cost of nearly 5,000,000 crowns (say $2,000,000). The Finance Minister was accorded a credit of 12,000,000 crowns ($4,800,000), and in 1909 the Kispest group was commenced. Sixty competitive designs were handed in, among them many versatile, artistic, and valuable ideas.

The Colony is crossed by two diagonal streets, each 26 meters (85.28 feet) wide and surrounded by a ring street with an electric railway (see illustration). Streets having a width of 12, 15 or 20 meters (39.36, 48.70, or 65.60 feet) divide the district into blocks, which are broken at intervals by side streets 6 meters (19.68 feet) wide. In the center there was reserved a "square" of about 11,500,000 klafters (414,000 square feet) for a park, sport-grounds, and workmen's casino. The streets and squares take up about 30 per cent of the total area.

To each dwelling is accorded 70 to go klafters (2,520 to 3,240 square feet), of which 20 (720 square feet) are built over.

Of the 4,140 dwellings in the 920 buildings erected, 3,770 have two rooms and 440 three rooms. In all there are 48 different types. As a general principle, the entrances are separated, being on different sides of the building. Each has either an anteroom or an open front room, in the latter case the kitchen giving on an open corridor, in order to protect it against the cold, provided with an outer and an inner door.

All the dwellings have sinks with running water. The floors of the kitchen, bedrooms, and outer closets, as well as of the front rooms, are of portland cement and all floors are insulated by tar paper. The foundations and
walls are protected against moisture by asphalt sheets. The roofs are partly of overlapping tiles, partly of double tiles. The rooms are whitewashed. The bedroom stoves are of cast iron; the kitchens have "economy" stoves of fire-brick. The Government built its own fire-brick works.

The cost per two-room dwelling (before the war) was about 4,100 crowns (ST,640); per three-room dwelling, 5,200 crowns ($2,080). The sewer system, which cost about 680,000 crowns ($272,000), discharges in to the main municipal collecting reservoir. Temporarily the Colony was provided with a branch track of the Budapest-Szent Loerinez local railway in connection with the municipal electric railway system.

These dwellings were intended primarily for Budapest workmen, next for other employees of the Royal Hungarian Machine Works and the main workshops of the State Railways, as well as for the employees of the post and telegraphic departments.

The annual rent (before the war) was set at 260 crowns ($104) for two-room, and 330 crowns ($132) for a three-room flat, this including water-rent.

Fig. 1 shows the ground plan of the Kispest colony; Fig. 2, two dwellings of two rooms each; Figs. 3 and 4, four of two rooms each. Fig. 5 represents six two-room dwellings; Fig. 6, twelve of two rooms each; Fig. 7, the establishment for taking care of small children; Fig. 8, the Zsigmondstreet; Fig. 9, an end view and ground-plan of the Police building (covering 1,058 square metres--1,265 square yards). 

Selected, scanned, edited, provided with headnotes, and formatted as a web document by John W. Reps, Professor Emeritus, Department of City and Regional Planning, West Sibley Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA. Tel: (607) 255-5391, Fax: (607) 255-6681, E-mail: 
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