Only few people know that several iconic buildings in Shanghai were designed by a Hungarian architect. The architect, László Hugyecz took an adventurous trip to the remote city from Besztercebánya (now Banská Bystrica).
László Hugyecz was born in the Hungarian city Besztercebánya (now Banska Bystrica, Slovaia) in 1893 as the son of a family of six. At a young age, he moved to Budapest, where he studied architecture at the Budapest University of Technology but was hired as a soldier due to the outbreak of World War I. During World War II, he was captured by the Russian military, where with his exceptional language skills and architectural talent, he quickly gained the recognition of his detainees. Due to his abilities, he was entrusted with managing more and more construction sites during the captivity.
However, during his captivity, he became seriously ill so he was taken to a train wreckage which he escaped with his companions near the Chinese border and headed to Shanghai. Once in town, he began working at the Rowling A. Curry Architecture Bureau, where he quickly climbed the ladder. He had no language problems since he had learned not only Russian but also Chinese since his captivity.
Thanks to his architectural success, he was able to establish his own company by 1925, known as L.E.Hudec, which has become one of the most fruitful architectural firms in the city. He designed 37 buildings in Shanghai himself of which stands out the 24-storey Park Hotel, which has been the tallest building in the city for nearly 50 years.