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Istvan Szabo

Budapest, Hungary
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Istvan Szabo (20 June 1914 - 13 October 1988) studied at the Royal Academy of Applied Arts in Budapest in 1929-1935, and opened his own office in 1936. As most of the alumni of the Academy, initially Szabo defined himself as an interior and furniture designer. Exhibition interiors and pavilion architecture soon became his specialty. In 1942 he married piano artist Ilona Laszlodi.

In 1949 Szabo joined a state-owned architecture office. His first permanent building, an entrance pavilion for the Hungarian Radio headquarters constructed with light steel and glass structure, was finished this year. In 1949-1952 he worked as a lecturer at the University of Technology. In the early 50s Szabo worked on the never realized plans of the new Budapest underground railways. In 1954 he joined IPARTERV, the state design office specialised on industrial buildings and later, in 1963 moved to its biggest rival, KOZTI. In the sixties he designed numerous exhibition pavilions both in Hungary and abroad, and participated in KOZTI's African missions, namely, he designed to stadiums in Algeria, in Mostagenem and El-Asnam (today Chlef). From 1968 he's been chief architect of the Budapest International Fair, which was moved under his supervision to a new location.

After retirement Szabo continued his experiences as a visual artist, and started to design churches. His first sacral work was a new church for his own parish in the Farkasret area of Budapest. Without access to serious construction materials and proper workforce, Szabo designed his churches with unusual materials: concrete slabs, metal spatial grid structures usually seen in exhibition pavilions, or industrial glass. Nine churches were built by his designs in Budapest, Tatabanya, Erd, Dunaujvaros, Markhaza and Fertod. In 1978, he received the Miklos Ybl Prize for his lifetime achievements and the Farkasret church.

Budapest, Hungary