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The subject of family home design has been lowered to that of football and cars - everyone's an expert on these matters. Family homes are indeed thought of as cars. People build one, then sell it and build or buy another. Family homes have become consumables. Due to their young age, their field of work and a lack of life experience, most clients have little or no idea about how to make function a building that is called a family home. They bring a cartload of home design magazines and point from one image to another - 'that's the bathroom we want', 'we need a kitchen like that', 'that tiled roof looks fabulous'. Needless to say, each picture shows a different house. If the plans were to follow all their desires, the result would be quite of a mix, which is entirely disregarded as the house is looked upon as a fashion item that should fit in the trends of colour and style: newly rich, Mediterranean, American, Neo-Bauhaus. Location is not a factor at all. The notion of genius loci doesn't exist. 'I got the money, I build whatever I want', they say.
The outskirts of Budapest suffer the most from this attitude as this city attracts the highest proportion of foreign capital that rules the financial world in Hungary. The banking and financial sectors breed uniform people who dress, behave and think the very same way and have the same amount of money. They are the belated descendants of Huxley's Brave New World. Unsatisfied with Budapest, they infest the outskirts. Subdivisions and gated communities spring from the ground to be guarded by high walls, barriers and security staff with close-cropped hair, while people moving in have nothing in common with the town that receives them. They are international and global.
The current situation has elevated the subject of family home design well beyond the matter of architecture. There is a value system and a tradition of several hundred years that have to be preserved and passed on to future generations.
The longest and most crucial phase is the completion of a study sketch. This is where everyone should take their time. It takes two, three, or even more sessions to come to a final decision and clarify all details in question. It is best to arrange the furniture in mind well in advance as this brings the plan closest to everyday life. At this phase, historical costs already have an approximate outline, which allows alterations to be made in due time.
The second phase has to produce the building permit drawing. It is still common practice in Hungary to build family homes without a final construction drawing, relying solely on the building permit drawing and the contractor's improvisational skills. The results are more than visible.
As for me, I only take an assignment if I am also entrusted with the final construction drawing. This ensures that the house is going to be built as was desired in every detail.