Our building

13-15 Reáltanoda Street

The building is a two-story edifice with an inner yard and has a ground plan of six axes. The entrance gate is situated on the second axis from the West, and the decorative staircase forms an organic whole with the inner areas of the building.

History of the Building

The area occupied by the present building housed two separate lots and houses until 1887. It was baron Béla Rédl who purchased the lot of 13 Reáltanoda Street in 1868. In the same year, he received permission to construct a single-story palace. It is likely that the palace was completed in 1868; it is certain that it was finished by 1873.

In 1886 baron Béla Rédl acquired the neighbouring lot and house of number 15 from its owner, Károly Willasin, planning further construction there, expanding his palace. He asked for a permission to unite the two lots in 1886 by building a new wing facing the street replacing the house of lot no. 15. The modification would have entailed only minor alterations of sections of the building situated in the yard.The proprietor himself declared in his request that the façade should be constructed in a way that "its architecture be equal to that of my old house of number 13". The plans of 1886 were modified twice in 1887. "Not long after the commencement of the works it proved necessary to demolish the parts of the building in the yard and make new foundations — although I wished to retain and modify them only as far as my aims would require it —, for they were built of inferior material (bricks of above) and had defective and inferior foundations; thus it was made possible to build a fully one-story house in the future." According to the second modification, "I wish to demolish one of the wings and to merge the two yards", because "I have realized" that, by conversing old sections of the building, "my home would have the appearance of two small conjoined houses with two cramped narrow yards instead of a larger, more luminous and orderly one; these yards, whenever my neighbours build their houses higher, would not provide me with enough light and air." As the note of the clerk who had granted the request stated,"essentially, the modification consists of the erection of a one-story wing in lieu of the ground-floor wing that was conceived to be on the left-hand side of the lot; furthermore, the inner architectural apportioning is somewhat modified and the construction of an open corridor on the first floor is being planned."

Since the abundant blueprints that have existed according to the documents are missing, we can only reconstruct the history of the construction from the text of the requests. Presumably there was a three-axes house raised in the lot 13 Reáltanoda Street in 1868, with the gate on the middle axis. There is unfortunately no evidence that would help one to assert the position of the yard wing. By repeating the original structure in the wing facing the street three new axes were built in 1887. A part of the building on the edge of lot no. 15, on the border of the two lots was torn down to form the unified yard that can be seen today. Neither is there any data that would show whether the entire outer construction was ready as soon as 1887, or is the result of later development. The two stages in the building of the section facing the street are attested by the slight difference of size between the third and second window axes in contrast with the regularity of other measurements as well as the vertical crack in the plaster in the very same place that can be traced up to the second story. A reconstruction of the façade could reveal if there is a difference in the texture of the wall at this area.

János Wagner was commissioned with the construction of 1886-87. Possibly a statement by Alajos Hauszmann (or plans that were accessible at that time) who mentioned this fact in his handwritten autobiography has given rise to the tradition in the literature that the building was designed by Theofil Hansen from Vienna. The documents that are available today contain no confirmation of this supposition. If the two phases of the construction are confirmed, it is conceivable that the plans of the three-axes building were executed by Hansen, whilst the alterations and the adaptation of the architecture of the façade in 1886 and 1887 have been realised as designed by János Wagner.

Baron Richard Hammerstein inherited the palace in 1907 and filed a request to extend the palace to a two-story edifice. However, before the works began, he had sold the building to the Hungarian Engineering and Architecture Association. Alajos Hauszmann, the president of the Hungarian Engineering and Architecture Association at that time, recommended buying the Rédl palace after having been informed that it was for sale. Hauszmann himself designed the seat. The alteration essentially consisted of the building of a second story and the formation of an impressive conference hall.

The present state of the building conforms to the alterations designed by Hauszmann. The Department of Development of the Technical University elaborated plans for the formation of a mansard; this, however, has not been realized during the last reconstruction.

The Façade

The wall-surface of the ground story is rusticated. The red marble pedestal has a simple ledge end which runs across the whole façade just like the simple parapet; they are interrupted only by the pair of pilaster strips that encircles the gate.

The gate is situated along the second axis from the West. The square ended, simple looped string framed gate is accompanied on both sides by a pair of pilasters. The inner, wider pilasters protrude in front of the plane of the wall and that of the other pilaster strips. The crown of the pilasters is ovolo styled with spurs; the necking is decorated by a rosette. A lintel with triglyph decorates the gate above the string frame, which appears at the same height as the crown of the pilasters. The pilaster chapters support the string-course that is situated above the ground floor. The motif of the pilasters that encircle the gate is symmetrically repeated in the fifth axis from the West. However, in this axis coupled windows appear between the pair of pilasters -- similarly to other axes of the ground floor --, and the rusticated wall-surface can be observed among the motifs decorating the gate as well.

There are five coupled windows on the ground floor. The square ended windows form pairs with the help of a simple string frame; the coupled windows themselves are separated by pilasters with simple crowns and pedestals.

The openings of the cellar, which appear in the pedestal below the windows are closed by partitioned glass windows. On photographs taken after 1907 it can be seen that the aperture have been closed by iron plates decorated with foliage roses at that time.

The ground floor ends in a strongly protruding biarticulate string-course with triglyphs. Below the triglyphs triple gutta can be observed. The corona of the string-course, contrary to the customary, has a slanting plane, with a decoration of plates with dense gutta. To emphasize the second and fifth axes, the string-course echoes the crowns of the pilaster strips that slightly protrude.

Above the string-course, a breast fillet runs along the first story. The breast fillet also protrudes above the pilaster strips. The architecture of the gates is completely identical on the ground floor, but on the first story the second and the fifth axes differ. In the second axis, the mounting that also appears below the windows is repeated twice above the gate, while in the fifth axis, in place of mounting, flat diamond-shaped ashlars appear.

Above the breast fillet there are six pairs of windows of identical decoration on the main story. The coupled windows end in a common triangular pediment. The ledge of the pediment is decorated by a dentil course, and escutcheon of the tympanum is flanked by a matting of leaves on both sides. The common pediment of each pair of windows is supported by three Corinthian engaged columns, where the lower third of the shank has a floral ornament, and the upper part has flutes. The engaged columns stand on postaments in the breast fillet; the same breast fillet bears a mounting decoration under the windows.

Ashlars are defined by light lines on the wall-surface of the first and second stories. On the second story, designed by Hauszmann, the characteristic motif of the façade, the coupled window, is repeated; but this time the pairs of windows have no frames and they are separated by pilasters that lack pedestals.

The inscription Hungarian Engineering and Architecture Association can be read on the wide frieze of the tripartite main ledge of the building. A foliage-decorated console supports the corona with a rose in each of its panels.