The unbuilt synagogue in Buda is an almost forgotten chapter in Hungarian architectural history which drew great attention between 1911 and 1914. It was discussed extensively by the contemporary press in the early 20th century and by architects in the Hungarian capital of Austria–Hungary. Between 1912 and 1914 three tenders for the design of the synagogue of Buda were announced, with the participation of well-known (synagogue) architects of Hungary, who represented the diverse architectural styles of the period. The efforts to build the synagogue, including the three failed tenders, the 30 competition designs and the opinions of contemporaries raised, and continue to raise, many provocative questions. The present study is based on the analysis of the designs submitted and criticisms published in official architecture magazines between 1912 and 1914, but not yet studied and published elsewhere. Through these, the study showcases the controversial architectural decisions that could have changed the appearance of a neighbourhood but failed to do so. The study puts the townscape of Széll Kálmán Square in Buda in a new context, revealing another layer of architecture, urban design and architectural-sociology and perception of the capital’s synagogue on the eve of World War I and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
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