The architect, graphic artist, writer, editor, and teacher Károly Kós is an outstanding figure of 20th century Hungarian architecture. He worked in Budapest at the beginning of his career, until the end of the First World War. At that time, he returned to and remained in the place of his birth, Transylvania, which by then had become a part of Romania. There he continued his varied activities until his death. He received significant commissions even as a young man, such as the design of the Városmajor Street school building, the Budapest Municipal Zoo and Botanical Gardens, and the main square of the Wekerle Workers’ and Officials’ Housing Estate. He made study trips to the Székely Land and Kalotaszeg regions in Transylvania as well as to Turkey, preserving and utilizing the lessons he learned from these journeys throughout his decades of artistic production. After the First World War, he performed significant literary and editorial work, while also engaging in the surveying and rehabilitation of historic properties in Transylvania. He designed numerous churches and parsonages for the Reformed church, particularly in the Kalotaszeg region and the surrounding areas. He also designed several public buildings for Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfântu Gheorghe) and Kolozsvár (Cluj-Napoca), such as hospitals, town halls, and schools. His residential architecture deserves particular attention, and Crow Castle, which he built for his own family in Sztána (Stana), stands out amongst this work. For Kós, every design task was of equal importance, whether it was a church, a culture center, or an agricultural building. He was involved with the latter topic in particular after the Second World War, not only as a designer, but also as a teacher and an academic author.
The constantly expanding database of architectural works from Károly Kós’s career in the Károly Kós Virtual Archive integrates well in to the series of virtual archives created and maintained by the Budapest Municipal Archives. The basis of the content that provides the framework for this is comprised of the several decades of research by the architect and architectural historian Anthony Gall. This virtual archive is a collaborative work between Budapest Municipal Archives and the Hungarian Museum of Architecture and Monument Protection Documentation Center. The published digitized materials have been compiled from the collections of the Budapest Municipal Archives, the Hungarian Museum of Architecture and Monument Protection Documentation Center, and the Székely National Museum. The Virtual Archive provides an overview of the entire stock of buildings that can be linked to Károly Kós, which numbers more than two hundred structures. It is our goal to publish a continuously expanding collection of sources related to his architectural career, which are often held at a variety of locations.