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Graphisoft Hosts AIA-Europe Conference at Its Headquarters

Semi-annual meeting comes to Budapest; international contingent of architects study city's architectural development over last century

BUDAPEST, September 20, 2001 -- The American Institute of Architects (AIA) European Chapter held its semi-annual conference in Budapest, Hungary, September 14-16. The event drew nearly 100 participants to discuss two critical periods in Budapest's cultural and urban evolution. Lecturers focused on how the political and socio-economic factors at the turns of the 19th and 20th centuries had a significant impact on the city's architecture.

The conference was kicked off by Janet Garvey, Charge D'Affaires of the American Embassy in Budapest, welcoming the architects from all over Europe and the U.S. In addition to presentations of renowned architects like Erick van Egeraat, András Ferkai, János Gerle and Tamás Nagy, the three-day conference program entitled "Budapest 1900-2000: Tradition and Transition" featured exhibitions, a book fair, round-table discussion on Contemporary Architecture and an architectural tour of the Hungarian Parliament.

"The architectural heritage of Budapest is breathtaking, and no architect should miss visiting this fantastic city," said AIA Europe president Lewis Gilbert Koerner. "A highlight of my trip to Budapest included my visit to Graphisoft Park, and the opportunity of participating in the Hungarian, European and American architects' exchange of architectural ideas."

The session on the third day focused on contemporary architecture, and took place at Graphisoft Park, which houses Graphisoft's headquarters and R&D facilities. Interior designer Zoltán Horváth and one of the park's architects, András Vikár, led attendees on a tour of the Park's grounds and buildings, located on the banks of the Danube adjacent to ancient Roman ruins.

"We are honored that the architects from the AIA European Chapter chose Graphisoft Park as a venue for this meeting," said Gábor Bojár, Graphisoft president and CEO, who was invited to speak during the group's evening boat tour on the Danube. "The site fits well into the context of the conference program, as it is home both to preserved historic buildings from the now defunct Budapest Gas Factory, and modern buildings constructed very recently and inhabited by high tech companies."

"The opportunity to organize this conference was a stimulating and exciting challenge. It enabled me to think about the wealth of Budapest's architectural heritage and about the most appropriate buildings to share with our group," stated Architect Nóra Demeter, director of Zoboki, Demeter and Associates who organized the event. "The standard of architecture and environment at Graphisoft is a unique example within the Hungarian context. It was an ideal forum for our discussions, exhibition and insight into the direction of today's architecture. It was a pleasure having this part of the conference here!"

Members of the AIA European Chapter include both American architects based in Europe, as well as European professionals who studied or practiced in the United States. Through these conferences, the AIA European Chapter aims to present an overview of an architectural and cultural context and provide a stimulating discussion forum to its members. Each conference is held in a different European city; the previous meeting took place in Madrid.