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  • Master School 1953–2023

    Text: János Golda

    With its existence of seven decades, the Master School falls within the grey zone between the contemporary present and canonized past. It is not yet part of the official history, and we hardly remember it. Since 1970 it is its 16th cycle coming to an end in the summer of 2022, including the three courses in the 1950s it is already a difficult and hard period of seven decades. More than 600 architects completing the Master School, a large number of contests and tenders, five decades of study tours both in Hungary and abroad, visits in buildings, lectures and conferences mark its course. Besides, conditions have been changing at an ever quickening pace meanwhile. The school actually works much in the same way it used to, 10, 30, 50 or even 69 years ago: a free school of architects self-organizing and having its own laws and principles, always adjusting to its potentials. Its impacts are impossible to detect in an exact way, its position is defined by an automatic professional consensus as of today. In every cycle a total of appr. 20 students and 15 masters take part in its activities. In the 1950s it was meant to be a training centre of cadres (people screened as politically reliable) for the prevailing culture policy, but the broad-minded architect masters socialized in the former middle-class system and recognized in the state-run practice have maintained it as a free school with some extent of liberty from the very beginning. All of a sudden, in the early 1960s the Master School was almost closed down and then restarted in 1970, now not by nomination but a nationwide open contets of entrance exams which activated every professional. The golden era of the 1970s and 80s saw 5-6 times as many applicants as the training capacity could allow, which in turn enhanced the prestige of the school. It might be due to these minor corrections that it could survive till now. At the end of the academic cycle students get a certificate of attendance which does not actually prove any sort of training and involves no formal degree of whatsoever training. However, it is ackowledged by everyone professional in architecture. The strict and honest system of entrance is the most significant guarantee of high standards.