The economy of the exotic: The relation of shell architecture and industrialization in Hungary between 1949-1970

Orsolya Gáspár, István Sajtos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The history of shell architecture is closely linked to the rapid industrialization of the first half of the 20th century. The large spans required for industrial buildings were most suitable for the developing structural systems based on reinforced concrete shells. Present paper studies the unique features of the development of shell architecture in Hungary, in comparison to other former socialist states and the West. The significance of individual engineering qualities as opposed to the international trends is studied via the evolution of the shell roofing designed for the KÖFÉM Factory. The different social-political context and the relative isolation of the Soviet Sphere of interest during the second half of the 20th century generated a mild western interest toward the 'exotic', the architectural developments of the eastern block. As the former socialist countries are recently coming to terms with their socialist architectural heritage, this interest is awakened. The short analysis of the western recognition of Hungarian industrial architecture in general and shell architecture in particular helps to understand its global and local relevance freed from the self-affirming interpretation of the contemporary socialist press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-116
Number of pages26
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Mar 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Conservation
  • Architecture
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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