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István Sajó – Ambassador of Art Deco Architecture

After graduating from the Budapest University of Technology, where he studied architecture, István Sajó went on to work in Dortmund, Germany for a few years before departing to the United States.

István Sajó

He worked in Miami as a founding member of Mediterranean Architect Studio, and then moved to New York. There, he was involved with Herman Jessor and Springsteen & Goldhammer in the construction of the Alhambra Gardens and The Coops union housing estate.

He returned to Debrecen in 1928 and started to plan tenement houses and villas in the city center, and family houses for larger plots with garden areas. 

In 1934, the world’s first earthworks stadium was built in Debrecen according to his plans. After World War II, he led the restoration work of the Reformed Great Church, designed the  headquarters of the local hospital and clinic and the special concrete shell structure of the Debrecen Railway Station, together with László Kelemen. 

In 1934, an apartment building designed by him was built in Vásáry István Street,  in which the architect designed his own apartment.

Like many of us today, Sajó also had a home office. His design desk was in a separate room, which the family called the green room. The office was open to his children, who often popped in there, but their father could not be disturbed during meetings.

The photos obtained by Fortepan show his Art Deco-style desk,  his round shelves with architectural journals of the period on it, and the hand-painted, glowing globe on the table made according to the architect’s own ideas. 

István Sajó’s office | Source: Fortepan

On the wall there was a portrait of his father, while opposite the desk were cabinets lined with German ceramics and ornaments designed by Sajó. The curtains of the room were made specifically for this apartment by the textile artist Éva Szabó. 

Source: Magyar Építészeti Múzeum