Szilágyi András (szerk.): Ars Decorativa 28. (Budapest, 2012)

Magdolna ZIMÁNYI (GYÖRGYI): The Hungarian Room Designed by Dénes Györgyi at the University of Pittsburgh

MAGDOLNA ZIMÁNYI (GYÖRGYI) THE HUNGARIAN ROOM DESIGNED BY DÉNES GYÖRGYI AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH A prominent Hungarian architect of the 20th century, Dénes Györgyi (1886-1961) came of a middle-class family who moved from the Tyrol to Hungary. From the on­set of the 19th century more and more members went into the arts, some as gold­smiths, card painters, glass artists. The grandfather Alajos Györgyi (1821-1863) was a known portraitist. He adopted the name "Györgyi" in place of the original German (Giergl). Dénes Györgyi's father, Kálmán Györgyi was a teacher and art writer, editor of the periodical Magyar Iparművészet [Hungarian decorative arts]. Two of his uncles, Géza Györgyi and Kálmán Giergl were noted architects. As architect and interior designer, Dénes Györgyi continued valuable family tradi­tions. He began his career as a member of the architects' group called "The Young Ones" working in the Hungarian folkloris­tic style spearheaded by Károly Kós. 1 His works of the 1920s are mostly in art deco style, and he designed several museum buildings and cottages in the then fashion­able "neo-baroque" style. In the 1930s his works displayed the impact of modernism. He planned several successful Hungarian pavilions at world fairs, such as at Paris in 1937. His interior design was also consider­able; he designed, for example, the rustic furnishings of the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture in Budapest. In her papers published in 1913 and 1914 Amelia Sarah Levetus introduced Györgyi's plans for room interiors. 2 Not only the world fair pavilions, but partly or wholly their fur­nishings were also designed by him. From his graduation, he taught at the National School of Decorative Arts of which he was the director in 1945^16. His buildings in any style - as well as his interiors - are characterized by the arrangement of forms in good taste and proportions, harmony between details and the whole, the careful selection of the materials and execution at a high level of quality. In 2010 the oeuvre of Dénes Györgyi was honoured with the posthumous Ybl Prize, together with another sixteen Hun­garian architects 3 who were undeservedly neglected earlier. In 2011 the 125th anni­versary of his birth and 50th anniversary of his death were commemorated. Among Dénes Györgyi's works abroad, the exhibition pavilions did not survive, as they were pulled down. What stands to this day is the so-called Hungarian Nationality Room at the University of Pittsburgh. The 70th anniversary of the dedication of the room took place on 29 September 2009. The history of this room was described in Hungarian in an article in 2007. 4 The present article carries additions based on further research and corrects the earlier statements at some point. 23