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  • Under the spell of towers

    Dénes Györgyi’s Plans for the City Hall of Debrecen

    Text: Fanni Izabella Magyaróvári
    Photos: Magyar Építészeti Múzeum és Műemlékvédelmi Dokumentációs Központ

    This year, 90 years ago, in the spring of 1931, the large-scale design competition of the Debrecen town hall was completed. In many cases, the outstanding architectural works of the period between the two world wars could only be made in the form of plans, mainly due to the economic crisis and then the outbreak of the Second World War. The new building of the Debrecen City Hall also reached this fate, although some of the construction plans were completed for the winning tender. In addition to the fact that the design competition occupies a special place in the oeuvre of the architect Dénes Györgyi (1886–1961), the creator of the winning design, it was also an important moment in Hungarian architectural public life. The visual design of the Debrecen town hall in 1931 is considered to be one of the unrealized, monumental examples of Hungarian Art Deco architecture. However, from the point of view of spatial organization and mass formation, the building does not bring innovation, as the tradition of representative buildings is reflected in it. In its details, however, we can speak of a building with an innovative spirit.