The way from European Youth Center Budapest to the visiting organization, KÉK was not
supported by the weather. We left the Center in a hurry, since we were a little bit late but were still in a good mood since we were looking forward to getting to know the young Budapest architects’ hub and NGO KÉK. KÉK stands for Kortárs Építészeti Központ (Contemporary Architecture Centre) and is an NGO created in 2005 by architects concerned with using architecture to connect the community.
The arrival The first feeling when arriving was “Yeah, these are definitely creative people, Hungarians have a big artists’ community. That’s how an architectural hub should look like”. The office featured an open floor structure with high ceilings, design furniture and passionate people. Through big windows light was shining in from the outside with the impression of bringing the sidewalk inside.
The President, Mr. Bálint Kádár was kind to dedicate some of his working time to meet us. He introduced us to the organization, which activities they organize and what aims they have.
Budapest100 is a large festival organized by KÉK with the help of volunteers, local citizens and townsmen to celebrate the one-hundred- year-old buildings of Budapest. During the event, citizens living in 100-year- old (or older) buildings open their doors for strangers so that they can discover the beautiful old buildings. It has an outstanding community building effect by bringing people of different social background and generations closer. That’s why The Guardian praised the event as one of best cultural events of Europe. For more information, check here.
KÉK is doing a great job in spreading the community gardens movement since 2010 and are
managing several community gardens around Budapest. The main aim of the project is to get people from different social backgrounds and from different age groups to do something together and gain knowledge about topics of concern such as reducing ecological footprint, climate change, citizens’ ownership of public spaces.
We had some pretty cool questions for Mr. Kádár and we were eager to listen to his answers. The topics discussed ranged from housing to social-economic issues. We also covered the topic of gentrification, both in our cities and in Budapest. Mr. Kádár compared the process of gentrification in the 8 th district of Budapest against the 9 th district in Budapest. Whereas the 9 th district had seen the displacement of many of its citizens since they could not afford continuing living in the area (especially the Roma population, who often ended up having to move to villages surrounding Budapest) following the process of gentrification, the 8 th district saw a somewhat ‘lighter’ or ‘kinder’ process of gentrification, since the council actually helped the citizens in the 8 th district pay to buy their housing after the privatization of the housing market after the fall of communism. We were very excited to participate in the discussion and learnt a great deal.
Cool stuff in the end
Has anybody of you ever heard about the architects’ beer before?! Yep, the architects’ beer. Beside selling its own books and publishing, this popular drink is being used by KÉK as an innovative way of self-financing as we are talking about a Non-Profit Organization, running on a voluntary basis.
How cool is this?
Glejdi Floku, participant
Local General Plan coordinator,
National Territorial Planning Agency Albania