Architectural designs


Item level records are available in the register of the Budapest City Archives (BCA) about the overwhelming majority of the researchable series belonging to the Archives of the Architectural Designs. In the databases published on different websites, all the collections and plans once possessed by the archives of designs of Pest, Buda and Óbuda cities (before 1873) and the most of the related documents are accessible. The descriptive data of the designs of Buda, Óbuda and Pest (in case of Pest those which were created before 1861) are even searchable. Only a minor part of the designs created since 1873 are included in the database yet. The most important architectural bequest kept in the BCA is the collection of the designs of Miklós Ybl – searches in the database supplemented by digital images can be carried out in different places.

Item level records are available in the register of the BCA about the overwhelming majority of the researchable series belonging to the Archives of the Architectural Designs. These records describe constructional tasks, constructing or refer for designs and documents related to a given plot depending on the characteristic of the given series. The contents of the records differ from each other crucially. Some series provide detailed descriptions on the designs, while others include only the basic data of the plans.

All the designs of Pest, Buda and Óbuda created before 1873, the year of the unification of the said cities into Budapest, have been digitalized. Only these digital copies are researchable. The process of building permission in a modern sense was emerged during the first decades of the 19th century in Pest and Buda as well, thus the designs of the private buildings have remained since that time. The designs belonging to Buda are available in the series of the Construction Committee (1810-27, 1832-34) and the Beautification and Construction Committee (1851-73). In case of Pest it’s necessary to highlight in the first place the Beautification Committee of Pest City, which was founded by Palatine Joseph in order to coordinate the development, beautification and urban management of the city. This was replaced in 1861 by the Construction Committee of Pest. The Construction Committee of Óbuda was established in 1861. The Committee resided by the captain of the city existed till the unification of Buda and Pest. All of the designs of the BCA which were created before 1873 and the most of the documents related to them are available on the Research of Digital Records of the Digital Archives Portal (you can switch it to English version on the page) as well as inline the archival hierarchy (in line with the reference numbers) they can be browsed through the browser of the search tool.

In case of some parts of the related databases the process of the database creating has been finished, but in some parts it is still in progress. The descriptive data belonging to the designs of Buda and Óbuda (XV.17.a és XV.17.c) have been published in the BCA’s register (Query). These data can be searched in the database: the name of the builder and the designer, the type of the building the address of the site then and now, the topographical number as well as the land register reference. The digital photos of the designs and the related documents can be accessed – through the archival reference number found on the Query – on the Digital Archives Portal. The documents concerned with the constructions took place in Pest before 1861 (XV.17.b.311 – designs of the Beautification Committee) haven’t been processed in the database yet, the digital copies can be studied according to the contemporary guide also on the Digital Archives Portal.

The designs of the constructions carried out in Pest, 1861-73 and the related materials are available on the Hungaricana Cultural Heritage Portal, the Combined Database of the Hungarian Archival Portal and on the Online Research of Digital Records of the Digital Archives Portal as well. The database includes the data of more than 11,000 building permits which were discussed by the Construction Committee of Pest. To this group belong 6,000 contemporary designs and the digital copies of the Committee papers related to them. The collection registered in order of list number/year contains the submitted permit request and the decision of the committee and/or the council. Among the plans documents of tenement blocks, public buildings, industrial buildings, temporary buildings and minor annexes can be found. One can search in accordance with the former and present name of the site of the construction and its topographical number, the name of the architect and the builder as well as the character of the building. The georeferenced versions of the Construction Committee’s designs can be studied on the Hungaricana Cultural Heritage Portal by the help of a map application as well: through navigation on the cadastral map of Pest in the 1870s, or searching for topographical data, the data of the buildings permitted there as well as the digital photos of the designs and the documents are accessible.

The designs and the permissions belonging to the constructions of the capital permitted since the unification of Buda and Pest to the early 2000s are kept in the Archives of the Construction Department (XV.17.d.329), set according to the order of the actual topographical number. The archival collection includes apart from the original architectural designs of the buildings, but the architectural and structural plans related to the further alterations, enlargements, wrecking, portal buildings, etc. Regarding those territories which were annexed to the capital after the formation of Greater Budapest the Archives keeps documents created since 1950, the earlier materials probably can be found among the records of the settlements preceded the said transformation. The processing of these documents into the database has been started. At this moment the data of plots belonging to the topographical numbers 5000-7500 (approx. the lands of Lágymányos, Gellérthegy, Castle, Krisztinaváros) are available with the digital copies of those plans which are important from historical point of view. The database has been published on the Archival Database of the Hungaricana Cultural Heritage Portal and the Combined Database of the Hungarian Archival Portal. On these websites the data concerned with the main phases of buildings on the plots separately displayed, thus typically several records belong to each building. One can search in the database for the former and present name as well as the topographical number of the site, the name of the architect, the contractor and the builder, moreover the type of the building. Aside from the said elements, the records of the database include the reference numbers of the given permissions by which the administrative documents related to the designs can be ordered to the research room.

Miklós Ybl (1814-1891) was a leading Hungarian architect of the second half of the 19th century, whose collection of plans kept at the Budapest City Archives is the largest architectural bequest in Hungary. The database which provides the description per item of about 6,000 plans belonging to the Ybl bequest is available on the Archival Database of the Hungaricana Cultural Heritage Portal, the Combined Database of the Hungarian Archival Portal, the Online Research of Digital Records of the Digital Archives Portal as well. Digital photos of the most of the designs can be found in the database, only those plans mean exception which could not be digitalized because of technical reasons. The database provides a detailed description of each design, containing all the descriptive data of the given plan (caption, signature, size, material, technique), the definition of the object, the site, the time of creation and the persons connected to the construction and the most important references to professional publications.

Archival ReferenceFond/SeriesTime period of the materials located in the databaseTime period of the materials available in digitalized version
XV.17.a.301Designs of Buda Free Royal Capital, Construction Committee (Baucomission)1810–18341810–1834 (full series)
XV.17.a.302Designs of Buda Free Royal Capital, Beautification and Construction Committee (BCC)1850–18731850–1873(full series)
XV.17.a.303Designs of Buda Free Royal Capital, Designs Higlighted from the Council Materials (BT)1853–18741853–1874(full series)
XV.17.b.311Designs of Pest Free Royal City, Beautification Committee (BC, SzBK)1804–18611804–1861(full series)
XV.17.b.312Designs of Pest Free Royal City, Construction Committee (CC)1861–18731861–1873(full series)
XV.17.c.321.Designs of Óbuda market Town, Construction Committee (ÓB)1861–18731861–1873(full series)
XV.17.d.329Designs of Budapest Capital (Residence),  Archives of the Construction DepartmentsRegarding the topographical numbers 5000–7500: 1873–2006 
XV.17.f.331.bDesigns of Architects, contractors, companies, investors. Bequest and Designs of Miklós Ybl1844–18911844–1891(full subseries)