Inside Budapest’s Forgotten Temple Of Sewage

Inside Budapest’s Forgotten Temple Of Sewage

Here at Gizmodo, we’re obsessed with beautiful old factories, captivating control rooms and fascinating scientific machinery. (Yes, that’s me.) A few weeks ago, I showed you the 99-year-old Kelenföld Power Plant, one of most beautiful industrial places on earth. This time, I’d like to show you another industrial pearl — in a rather hideous place.

A few days ago, Hungarian historian Balázs Maczó and his urban exploration initiative, Miénk A Ház, took me to the smelly site of Budapest Sewage Works Ltd. The Sewage Works is the largest environmental management company in Hungary, with wastewater collection and treatment among its core activities.

As I learned, the Vizafogó street plant in the 13th district of Budapest has a neat secret. Inside its well-preserved 70-year-old sewage pumping building, you’ll find an elegant engine room and magnificent control board, each done up in classic Bauhaus and Art Deco style from the gorgeous 1930s. It’s more than a little bizarre to find such magnificence in a place devoted to churning through sewage.

The station was built between 1937 and 1939 to serve the increased needs of the outer districts of Pest. Interestingly enough, the creator of this spacious beauty is still unknown. Why? Because in the age of blooming Budapest, a city rife with new palaces and mansions, architects felt so ashamed of working on mundane projects that they would refuse to sign their plans.

However, I’d like to salute this Unknown Architect. And here is why.

Pictures: Attila Nagy/Gizmodo