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  • Post-Modernist Apollon

    The Newly-Born Movie Theatre of Fórum, Salgótarján

    Text: Vilmos Katona


    Salgótarján is known as a typical mining town of the 20th century when hard industries flourished. The town was ranked as the centre of the county in 1950, only 28 years after it was given a town status. The local management approved of the scheme drafted by Géza Magyar to develop the town centre which also integrated the construction of a cultural forum with two apartment houses of studio flats, a movie theatre, a museum and the town hall building. The movie was opened in 1976 followed by the inauguration of the building to house the museum in 1980. As a final stage of the forum project, the town’s council hall was finished on the same site. The movie theatre was placed in the focus of the string of coordinated buildings standing next to each other with a facade wrapped in a facework of architectural ceramics, unglazed pyrogranite manufactured by Zsolnay.
    The cultural forum of Salgótarján has evolved into one of the most significant urbanistic investments of the Kádár era, and may be interpreted as its later extension as such. The movie theatre standing here housed the functions of an integral pogramme including public erudition and social education along with the neighboring museum and the previously built town centre. Viewed from a distance of 40 years now, as the ideology of the era has weakened and fell into oblivion, we may have a more realistic picture of public life then. Much in the same way as culture which is advertised now as a product for consumers instead of conveying ideological message, cinematography also had to recreate its environment to adjust to the conditions, the awareness and imitation of post-Modernist society. The building housing the movie theatre has evolved in two directions since then: the settlement’s context has been fulfilled and accomplished thanks to the formal reserves hidden in transparency and structural modulation, whilst the interior has evolved along the lines of complexity and contradictions.