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  • Stroking a House

    Text: János Gerle

    Zalotay-ház, Ziegelried, Fotó: Nagy Bálint

    In 2002 a French broadcasting company shot a film about buildings of certain European countries selected by themselves. Switzerland would have been represented by the house designed by Elemér Zalotay, but the Swiss were so much astonished at this choice that they managed to talk the team out of shooting, which in turn reignited the conflict between Zalotay and his enemies intending to wipe out the house completely which had been left off for years. This second attack is still going on with success: the architect (who is otherwise a member of the Chamber of Swiss Architects) was given a deadline till the end of last year to leave the house he designed and built himself, but which had been marketed by the crediting banks due to his debts, but the most recent decision prolonged this deadline by ten months. Besides social reasons this measure is also explained by the fact that the house has been rated by the state of Switzerland as an architectural value to be protected after prestigious international periodicals and specialist books on alternative architecture had published reviews about it. Although he has been specialized in megastructures for almost 50 years now, Zalotay’s name is not really familiar for the younger generations of architects. He left Hungary in the 1970s after having tried in vain to have his house designs of urban scale approved and realized here.