The Pursuit of Low Cost and Good Quality.

The Changing Judgement of Pre-Designed Family Houses in Hungary


Mariann Simon


  • family house
  • standard-recommended-model design
  • politics
  • Hungary

The housing problem was a vital issue for politics during the twentieth century, which modern urbanism proposed to solve with housing estates and apartment buildings. However, family houses survived even in the communist and state-socialist countries, against the fact that they were neither economic nor in line with the community ideal. The only exceptions were the predesigned family houses.

The paper presents the changing perception of the pre-designed family houses in Hungary.

It focuses on the means of how politics and building authorities intended to handle the situation. The fundamental sources of the research are booklets and guides, which published plans – usually as selected results of architectural competitions – of family houses in the last 70 years. The time covers the forty decades of the state-socialist period, during which standard designs and later recommended designs for the builders were prepared, and ends with the recent National Model Design Catalogue, activated in 2021. The paper does not intend to analyze the individual plans, but focuses to the official approach, reflecting on the political and architectural profession’s aspects. Why and how did the terms used for these buildings standard, recommended and model –change? How were the recurrent goals – cheap and good quality – extended with different buzzwords when selling pre-designed plans?