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Csepely-Knorr, L., 2014.

Connections between the United Kingdom and Hungary in the field of urban design with a particular emphasis on the work of Thomas H. Mawson and Béla Rerrich

Output Type:Thesis or dissertation

Architectural and urban design connections between England and Hungary were particularly
significant in the 19th and early 20th century, evident in Hungarian landscape architecture as well as
in the evolution of the architecture of the capital, Budapest. Despite these well-known
correspondences, little academic or critical attention has been given to the relationship between the
theories and principles of the English civic designer and landscape architect Thomas H. Mawson
(1861-1933) and Béla Rerrich (1881-1932), a key figure in Hungarian urban design theory of the
20th century.
The turn of the 19th century marked a significant moment in European urban design history.
In response to industrialization the role of green spaces changed from being an "island of
landscape in a sea of houses" to becoming an essential component of the urban structure
(Steenbergen 1995, 120). Theoretical writings dealing with the questions of different aspects of
green spaces in cities started to appear more frequently, and the design of park systems became an
"international phenomenon" (Dümpelmann 2005, 75).
This was the period when Rerrich went on a study tour to Western Europe, and unusually
for Hungarian architects at the time, he worked in Mawson's office for a period of time between
1906 and 1908. This dissertation will argue that Mawson's seminal role in the development of
English urban design, located in his aim to integrate landscape architecture into town planning, was
also strongly influential on Rerrich's theory, informing the Hungarian urban landscape at the
beginning of the 20th century.
Key urban design writings will be comparatively analysed in an international context to
identify forerunners and precedents of theories by Mawson and Rerrich. Correspondences between
their theoretical writings will be closely investigated, through analysis of primary and archival
material, in order to explore how the former's urban design principles manifested themselves in
Hungarian design theory.