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Franciska Bettelheim

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Franciska Bettelheim: Old workers' home for the Lowy David es fia (David Lowy & Son) factory, 1936

One of the first practising female architects in Hungary with a university degree, Franciska Bettelheim was born into a well-off Jewish family and graduated around 1934, probably at the Budapest University of Technology. She lived in the industrial town of Ujpest (since 1950 the 4th district of Budapest) with her family, married in 1935 to Laszlo Ledermann, professor of the university of Geneva, and soon after her graduation moved to Switzerland.

Both works known by her were designed and built in the mid-1930s and published soon afterwards in the progressive Hungarian architecture review, Ter es forma - actually, these were the first works by a female architect to be published there. Her first design, a home for old factory workers was designed and built in 1936 for the Lowy David es fia factory, then owned by the Bettelheim family. The apartment building contains 12 one-room living unit, with shared toilets. All apartments had a huge terrace and wide windows to the south. The generally modernist building, which was also published in the Italian Architecttura magazine, still stands in Ujpest (Budapest, District 4) at the Baross utca 63.

Bettelheim's other building, co-designed with the well-known architecture office Deli es Farago, was a villa for the Bettelheim family in Buda, finished in 1937. The modernist villa contained a five-room flat in the ground floor and a four-room apartment in the upper story, the latter was served with a 5,5x20 m long panorama terrace. The reinforced concrete structure was covered with natural stone plates. Unfortunately, this building was destroyed during WW2.

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