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Back in fall 2014, we spent a long weekend in Budapest, Hungary.  We have a couple more posts on this city before we put up photos from our Malaysian trip.

While strolling along Andrássy út (Budapest’s Fifth Avenue), we came across this building with a rather impressive facade. The combination of art nouveau motifs and dramatic lighting gave the facade a steampunk vibe and later reminded me (Chris) the set design in the movies Dune (1984) and Tyrell Corporation in Blade Runner.

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Inside it, we found a branch of the Alexandra bookstore chain. It is one of Hungary’s biggest bookstore.

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The Alexandra bookstore started off as a casino in 1884, and then become the Párizsi Nagy Áruház (Paris Department Store) in 1911. It was Budapest’s first building which was built specifically for retail purposes.

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Planned and designed by Gustav Petschacher and Sigismund Sziklai, the Neo-Renaissance building – had a billiard and ballrooms on the first floor, playing and reading rooms on the second floor, while the third floor was constructed as luxury apartments.

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It has a very modern-looking atrium but the atrium was in the original design.

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The interior design – including the spectacular art deco fresco’s which have survived to this day. They were done by the “Prince of Hungarian Arts” Karl Lotz.

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It has a high glass-vaulted ceiling, and had a glass-mirrored elevator (which we did not see).

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The building somehow survived World War II and the communist period.

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The Orco Property Group bought the building in 2005 and spent the next 4 years renovating the building.

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When the building reopened on the 10th of November 2009, the first tenant was the Alexandra Bookstore, which took over the ground and first floor.

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Click here to see their online bookshop in Hungarian.

 

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