Panelgrau

platform. Instagram

date. 2018 -

country. Hungary

architecture ● photography ● urban storytelling

In Hungary, still over 3 million people lives in prefabricated residential blocs ('panelház') built as a part of the state socialist system's effort to tackle post-world war housing shortage and improve the quality of living of the masses. The rushed and negligent construction, the use of cheap materials resulted in problems and annoyances that every person who has lived in a 'panel' could complain about for ages. 

No matter the bad public perception and the downsides of living in a panel, housing estates have become an inherent part of our life and their sight remains a dominant visual element anywhere you go in the country. In spite of their disadvantages, they are representations of something bigger than themselves . A modernist vision to create private and public spaces, communal facilities in a way that fit the need of a Modern Man the best. They carry a promise of a brighter future, a more equal society. 

 

In our time, there is no place for visions. Today's residential blocs are built arbitrarily, according to investors' interest without a long-term concept. Without kindergartens, schools, playgrounds or good transport connections. Luckily, the often cursed housing estates will remain with us for the foreseeable future to satisfy these needs. 

 

Nowadays housing estates are undergoing large-scale - and much needed -  renovations. Living conditions are being improved which makes residents happy and panel apartments more appealing. When the new arises from the old, however, loss is inevitable. The concrete facades are painted in all the colors of the rainbow, while communal facilities sometimes get demolished. As a result, the estates lose their uniformity, the buildings their identity, and the idea behind them falls into oblivion.    

'Grey is the color'. My projects aims to document the buildings in their original form and capture something from their beauty and the genius of loci their surroundings. Before it would be too late.