PÉCS (HU) - In the foothills of the Mecsek range north-west of the city of Pécs, stands the home of a ceramic artist, Márta Nagy, and her husband. The house was designed by their friend, local architect Margit Pelényi. The unique location put the architect in mind of a small fortress. Which is why the facade walls, made from rhyolite, a porous, volcanic stone some 13 million years old, lean slightly inwards. A moat or some kind of water feature is usually de rigueur for castles and fortresses. Here, instead of water encircling the house, the house has been built partially above the water. The lofty living room, with a poured-in-place concrete ceiling and slate floor, is separated from the rest of the house by a wooden passageway or 'bridge' over the water. In summer the water helps cool the house and the timber deck built diagonally above the pond.
Also in the Mecsek foothills, a few kilometres to the east, stands the brick house of contractor/developer Ferenc Csizmadia, who engaged the services of architect Ferenc Keller of Építész Stúdió in Budapest. Csizmadia was already living in a smaller house immediately adjacent to the new site. He chose to position his new house on the higher, northern side of the 1300 m2 plot, leaving space for a large garden on the lower side. The house is a U-shaped composition that encloses an atrium on the north side. This sheltered area, adjoining the kitchen and living room, remains delightfully cool during southern Hungary's warm summer months. The entire sloping roof, which follows the contours of the hills, is overgrown with a variety of plants. Just as Le Corbusier often returned his fifth facade to the city and its inhabitants, so Keller has returned the roof plane to nature. A beautiful and appropriate idea, although it is a pity that no one can enjoy the superb, uninterrupted view of the city that it offers. (Emiel Lamers)