The Légrády brothers (Károly and Tivadar) purchased the 2675 sqm corner plot on Váci Avenue, Klotild Street and Sólyom Street for 216,105 forints and 33 deniers. The Pesti Hírlap editorial office, publishing house and print house was constructed on this site – at the intersection of the current Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Road, Stollár Béla Street and Bihari János Street – according to the architectural concepts of Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giergl. Built in line with the owners’ vision of high functionality and exquisite aesthetics, this palace truly reflected the significance of the prominent daily gazette – Pesti Hírlap publishing and print house – that moved to its new headquarters in 1894.
The corner dome facing the Nyugati Railway Station was complemented with a tower on each side, earning the ’three tower palace’ nickname for the building. The floating genius, positioned on top of the corner dome above the Pesti Hírlap sign, held a gas torch that lit up on festive evenings. Later, during the siege of Budapest in 1944-1945, the corner dome was completely destroyed and the roof structure lost its character. The majority of the facade and the 4th floor also became seriously damaged in the shootings.
Shops overlooking the neighboring streets were situated on the ground floor of the triple-facade building. The publishing house was accessible via the corner entrance; the expedition room was located in the back, while the covered atrium was home to the arched pressroom. The case room moved to the mezzanine, complemented with the two meter wide gallery of slugs. The same floor accommodated the bindery, the plate production room and the foundry. The row of editorial rooms was situated on the 1st floor, on the Klotild Street side of the building. The owners’ apartments were fitted out in the exclusive corner section overlooking Váci Avenue. More street-view residential units of high comfort were also created on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th floors of the originally 4.5 story building.
Chiseled cast iron railings, with double columns, ran along the interior courtyard corridor. The wrought iron columns were decorated with spheres and wheel motifs; the unicorn theme from the family coat of arms appeared on the 2nd floor capitals. The main stairway’s cast iron structure and railing, as well as the majolica ornamentation spanning under the parapet, further enriched the building’s architectural complexity.
The press palace was erected in less than a year, allowing the first issue of Pesti Hírlap (previously printed in the Nádor Street printshop) to be published here on 29 June 1894. The authors of Pesti Hírlap and its special Sunday edition were renowned writers such as Kálmán Mikszáth (who was also a resident of the building for years), Mór Jókai, Jenő Rákosi, Ferenc Herczeg, Dezső Kosztolányi, Endre Ady, Lola Réz (Mrs. Kosáry), Lajos Nagy, Zoltán Zelk, Géza Gárdonyi, Jenő Heltai, Gyula Krúdy, Zsigmond Móricz, Lajos Tolnay, Margit Gáspár, Ferenc Molnár, Zsolt Harsányi and Sándor Márai.
During the 2013 redevelopment of the building, the facade regained its former 1893 character, based on the original drawings redesigned by architect and artist Kornél Baliga. The internal structure and superstructure that comply with the highest 21st century technical and sustainability standards were designed by Ybl-prize winning architect András Gelesz.
The real estate developer, Horizon Development, made it a top priority to authentically restore the unique architectural and aesthetic details and fit them into the unity of the building. The facade elements, as well as the main interior courtyard and the impressive wrought iron structure of the main stairway – originally designed by Gustav Eiffel’s firm – were all restored to their one-time beauty and reinstalled at their original spot. Today, they are the true gems of the new building.
The foundation stone of the building – now named Eiffel Palace – was laid on 12 March 2013, and the office building was completed by the end of the same year. The palace was reborn with the utmost speed and precision thanks to the efforts of the general contractor, DVM group.
Eiffel Palace is the first office development in Central and Eastern Europe that was awarded with a double environmental certificate, having met the strict criteria of both the BREEAM and the LEED international green building rating systems.