For Debrecen, until recently there was a stark contrast between the unattractive panel blocks, often referred to as commie blocks and the beautiful Art Deco buildings that still dominate the city center, – but things are changing.
The period after the fall of the Berlin Wall, between 1994-2010, this period was a time of neglect and under-investment in public spaces, but since then there has been gradual improvements.
The images below are examples of the Art Deco architecture that dominates the city center.
Post World War II many communist style public and apartment buildings were built.
For many, the panel Commie apartment blocks that dominate the Debrecen skyline, (where most of Debrecen’s population live) evoke mixed feelings, indeed in many other European Countries these types of apartment block were not well built and have long since been demolished. They were built hastily, in the post war times due to urgency, and little consideration was given to the surrounding area or the livability of the apartments.
In contrast these buildings in Debrecen were well spaced out and cared for and in many cases, the people living in them reflect fondly of the communist era, a period that was less stressful, when jobs were safe.
After the fall of the Berlin wall most of these apartments were gifted to the inhabitants and so they were cared for and since 2010, investment has flooded in, resulting in renovation of public shared spaces and facilities like schools.
More recently insulation cladding of the buildings has been undertaken (still ongoing) and subsequently, the buildings are painted in warm colours. Today these buildings are barely recognizable as commie blocks in most of the city.
In recent years (after 2010), utmost care has been taken to select building designs that inspire. In an effort to rejuvenate the city’s image, the 1930s developed recreational urban park including a stadium, zoo, artificial lake, thermal baths and waterpark has been entirely re-developed, taking advantage of the fantastic setting within 300ha of ancient oak forest.
From the 10 international architectural competitions, issued for redevelopment of key sites in Debrecen, the Budapest-headquartered BORD Architectural Studio won four:-
- the stadium between 2012 and 2014, followed by
- Enlargement of the artificial lake
- Renewal of the open-air theatre
- Debrecen’s first international school (2019 completion) to attract business people and their families.
- The competition for the waterpark was launched in 2015 and completed in 2020 when it opened during the pandemic to great success.
Today, Debrecen is one of the greenest and safest cities in Hungary, and with investment flooding in from the EU and international businesses, the city has become an even more desirable place to live, work and visit. Why not visit to learn why Debrecen Won a Financial Times award for FDI in 2018 and was runner up in 2019.