Monography of M. Harminc

Ľudovít Hallon

From 1860s to 1960s, the territory of what is now Slovakia experienced several crucial events that had an impact on its constitutional, national, political, social, economic and cultural situation. In the aforementioned period, instead of being a part of the Habsburg monarchy, Slovakia became a part of the democratic Czechoslovakia in the inter-war period, then an independent Slovak State under the control of the Nazi Germany, and then it experienced the totalitarian communist regime of the resurrected Czechoslovak Republic, where periods of supressed political freedom were interspersed with attempts to give people more social and political freedom. These critical changes forced tens of thousands of members of the intellectual elite to either leave Slovakia or withdraw from the forefront of the social life into seclusion. In many a case, the consequences of the changes were rather dramatic, and the public figures ended up in prison or faced the death penalty. Of all the prominent personalities in the history of Slovakia, only a few were able to withstand the whole relevant period and all the aforementioned regimes, whether physically, socially or politically, and come through. They were either sufficiently adaptable with a number of “political personas” in their repertoire or great people who were valued because they were able to create something new and beneficial, regardless of a regime. The small group of prominent personalities capable to endure several regimes of the 19th and 20th century thanks to their creativity and recognized not only in Slovakia, but also in the wider context of Central Europe, including what is currently the Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, Romania or Ukraine, included the doyen of Slovak architecture Michal Milan Harminc. His extraordinary ability to resolutely and pragmatically adopt both traditional and new revolutionary architectonic styles, new technical elements, technological methods and construction materials helped him to resist the pressure of individual regimes in the relevant period. A unique element in the life of Milan Harminc was the fact that despite possible obstacles and disfavour of the government officials prior to 1918, he always openly acknowledged his Slovak origin and was also an activist and organizer of the national movement of Slovaks in various parts of the Hungarian Kingdom. Thus, with respect to his lifework, in addition to the fact that he can be considered to be a top architect in Slovakia and in Central Europe, we can say he was a pioneer of the original national Slovak architecture.

The excellent architectural work and remarkable personality of Milan Harminc has been the object of study of multiple architectural historians, both Slovak and foreign. The opinions of individual authors span a whole spectrum – from marginalizing Harminc’s contribution to Slovak architecture, or referring to his work as that of an epigone, to unilateral emphasis on only some segments of Harminc’s work, especially from the period after 1918, such as the so-called monumental works from the inter-war period or architectural designs influenced by functionalism, whereas his designs of religious objects and the eclectic works inspired by Historicism from the period before 1918 have remained neglected and disparaged. Historiographical papers on Harminc’s work until recently comprised either only partial studies focusing on various segments of the topic or a few chapters in books on the history of architecture, without any comprehensive synthesis covering all the stages in the admirably long and varied, as to the architectural styles, lifework of M. Harminc from his early life in the southern part of the Hungarian Kingdom, through the time he spent in Budapest and the Liptov region, from the end of the 19th century to the start of the First World War, to the period after he had put down his roots in Bratislava after the Czechoslovak Republic was established, with the culmination of his creative work in Bratislava in the course of several decades. The complete and objective picture of Harminc’s plentiful activities in the less-known periods of his creative work, especially from the turn of the 19th and 20th century, could only be created based on extensive study and research of sources.

The demand from both experts and the general public for a synthesis of the life and work of Milan Harminc has been so strong recently, that in the short period from 2014 to 2018, two monographies on the aforementioned topic were published. They have in common one of the authors – a renowned architectural historian of Slovak architecture, professor Jana Pohaničová, who has written both monographies with two co-authors – respected architectural historians, professor Matúš Dulla[1] and professor Peter Vodrážka. Although there are certain differences in the methodological approach, the monographies are linked, and the second publication from 2018 constitutes a significantly more detailed follow-up to the first monography from 2014. In the first monography, J. Pohaničová and M. Dulla concentrated primarily on a comprehensive picture of the work of M. Harminc in the territory of Slovakia, although their work was limited by the status of the research of sources at the time, which only included sources from Slovak archives. The authors followed the genesis of his creative work chronologically throughout the two parts of the book – a more general, mostly theoretical introduction and the main part of the monography. The introduction describes some general characteristics of the stages in the life and in the development of architectural and construction activities of the artist, which are divided into the period of eclectic Historicism, official monumental creations influenced by the beginning of the Modernism and the Functionalist period. The main part of the monography offers analyses of the key examples of Harminc’s work, in chronological order, supplemented with information about the context in which individual architectural designs and buildings originated, with respect to the national, political, social and economic situation and the people involved.

The second monography from 2018, written by J. Pohaničová and P. Vodrážka, which is the subject of this review, primarily has a much wider basis in the heuristic research of sources. The authors of the monography used new sources from archives in other countries and from the Harminc family estate and new information provided by the grand-daughter of the artist Dana Harmincová. The more extensive heuristic research enabled to set the life and stages in the creative development of M. Harminc into a wider historical context, which I definitely appreciate. The authors present a lot of new information about the family of the architect, his professional experience and the early stages in his professional career at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, his involvement in the national movement, contacts with eminent personalities from the history of architecture and the contemporary society, and mainly about his utilization of new stimuli from the developments in modern architecture and engineering. The authors set the synthesis of Harminc’s life and career against the setting of the main events in the history of nations, the political and social and economic milestones for both Slovakia and Central Europe from the last third of the 19th century to the 1960s. In addition to the plentiful results of both older and newer archive research, the authors utilize the assortment of Slovak and foreign architectural historiographic works, and books on political, economic and social history, even books from related areas of science. J. Pohaničová and both co-authors of the monographies about M. Harminc comment on the current status of the research and emphasize the fact that the topic has been explored quite extensively in partial studies and monographies on the history of architecture of the 19th and 20th century, however, without a synthesis focused particularly on .M. Harminc and his lifework.  In the introduction section of the first monography from 2014, J. Pohaničová and M. Dulla assessed the works written on the topic by Harminc’s contemporaries and later by Slovak and foreign architectural historians, art historians, museum experts and historians, including the authors themselves (A. Štefánek, J. Alexy, F. Merényi, E. Toran, M. Kusý, M. Šľachta, P. Buday, K. Kubíčková, A. Zajková, M. Štibrányiová, H. Moravčíková, E. Lukáčová, M. Dulla, J. Pohaničová, J. Krivošová, E. Machajdíková, J. Hlavaj, T. Volková, V. Dlháňová, etc.). In contrast, the second, more extensive monography from 2018 presents a detailed bibliography in the end section and its authors, J. Pohaničová and P. Vodrážka, adopted a new approach to the topic. The introductory chapter with a more detailed description of the family life M. Harminc and an overview of his whole professional career is followed by other chapters in which the authors combine the chronological order with the focus on particular topics. The chapters cover individual periods in Harminc’s life in more detail, with respect to the development of his creative work, and offer an overall assessment of all notable architectural designs and construction projects from the relevant periods.

The first biographical chapter brings several previously unknown facts and information about the family life of M. Harminc after he was born in Kulpín in the territory of what is currently Serbia in a family of Slovak evangelical emigrants in 1869 and about his professional development in the capital of Budapest, where at the turn of the 19th and 20th century, despite his lack of professional education, he gradually turned from an amateur draughtsman into a renowned architect and builder. The authors describe in more detail how his architectural studios were established in Budapest and also this less known activities during his stay in the Liptov region in Liptovský Mikuláš during the First World War at the invitation of Slovak leather manufacturing entrepreneurs for whom he worked. The authors also offer a hypothesis concerning the existence of Harminc’s architectural studio in the High Tatras in Nový Smokovec sometime after 1918, as some of his top architectural works were realized in the Tatras. The biographical chapter gives an account of the life and work of M. Harminc in other regions of the Habsburg Monarchy, his involvement in the Slovak national movement (Slovak Society in Budapest) and the development of his professional career in Bratislava after the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic until the early 1960s, with facts about his personal life and family members in the relevant period. The accompanying commentary of the authors on the sides of individual pages of the monography is particularly valuable, as they explain the wider historical context and offer tid-bits about prominent personalities, institutions, corporations and events relevant to the life-story of M. Harminc. For example, the accompanying commentary in the introductory chapter provides information about the Slovaks in Kulpín, architects J. N. Bobula and A. Schickedanz or about the students and followers of M. Harminc.

One of the most helpful and innovative parts of the monography is the second chapter about the design and construction activities of M. Harminc in Budapest in years 1887 – 1915, the first stage in the development of his creative work, with his characteristic combining of architectural elements of various historical styles, from Romanesque style to Classicism. The authors state that it was also typical of Harminc to pragmatically combine historical styles and construction methods. The second chapter explains the implementation of the aforementioned approach of the architect in designs of a whole range of buildings, from religious objects of various confessions, through urban apartment blocks, family villas and bank buildings to official public buildings. A substantial part of Harminc’s architectural designs from the relevant period were realized outside the territory of Slovakia, therefore, there had been little known about them or nothing at all. With the use of the information established so far, and especially the research of previously unavailable sources, the authors have been able to offer information about these unfamiliar works. As Harminc had his office in Budapest, he created several building designs on the commission from the clients he had there, and such designs were met with success. They primarily included apartment buildings in Neo-Baroque and Neo-Classicist style and family villas, of which the chapter mentions apartment buildings for Budapest’s well-known residents of that era, such as A. Vajdics, Dr. Mihajlovics, D. Malatsová, government advisor A. Bulyovský or villas for L. Lumnitzer, L. Toldi, A. Molnár, etc. At the turn of the 19th and 20th century, Harminc returned to his roots, it means to Vojvodina, and to the friendly Serbians, with the designs of religions buildings and objects. Despite the fact that he himself was of evangelic confession, his designs of religious objects were ecumenical in their nature; the architect designed churches and other objects also for the Roman-Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church. Furthermore, Harminc designed religious objects in the territory of what is currently Hungary; the authors state that his first design of a religious building in the Historicist style was a roman-catholic church for the Hungarian town of Jászszentadrás in an architectural competition in 1898. Although his design that combined Romanesque and Gothic style won the competition, it was not realized. As regards the religious objects and designs for the church that were successfully implemented, the monography points out the construction and reconstruction of a summer retreat of an orthodox bishop in the little town of Szentendre near Budapest, the residence of the bishops of the Orthodox Church in Vršac in Serbia, and the Serbian orthodox cathedrals in Balassagyarmat in Hungary, in Subotica and Novi Sad in Serbia and evangelical churches in Bački Petrovac and Aradac. These were religious buildings mostly in the Baroque and Neo-Baroque style. According to the authors, the typological spectrum of M. Harminc’s buildings in the Historicist style outside of the territory of Slovakia was extended with the design of the Cultural Centre in Nadlak in Romania and the family crypts – Mausoleums in Pomáz near Budapest for the local families of the Luppas and the Mandics in Neo-Romanesque style. Similarly, to the first chapter, the topic is set into a wider context of the developments in construction business in Budapest or the influence of the National Exhibition in 1896, etc. The authors document the success of Harminc’s designs also with the reviews and recommendations from his largest clients.

A special topic in the second chapter is the entry of the work of M. Harminc into the territory of what is current Slovakia in the period from 1900 to 1915, it means during his Budapest period. The topic has been quite extensively covered in partial studies, in the synthesis of the history of Slovak architecture and in the first monography about M. Harminc from 2014. Nevertheless, the authors of the second monography have come up with new data and information. The first works of M. Harminc in the territory of Slovakia included several religious buildings, family villas, provincial bank buildings, with a specific position held by a building design concerning one of the cultural objects of national importance. Harminc’s designs of religious objects in the course of his life supposedly amounted to approximately one hundred churches of several confessions, out of which 36 were successfully realized. Projects in the territory of Slovakia in early 20th century included, for instance, the evangelical church in Neo-Gothic style in Pribylina, the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in Báhoň, a reconstruction of the church in Liptovský Peter (St. Peter’s Church) and the Baroque-Classicist cathedral in Hybe, the Neo-Romanesque church in Prietrž and, definitely also the construction of the Neo-Gothic church in Černová near Ružomberok, whose consecration in 1906 was associated with tragic events and the imprisonment of national activists A. Hlinka and V. Šrobár. The authors remind the readers that besides the creative use of historical styles, Harminc utilized several innovative architectural elements and construction methods in his designs of religious objects, for example in the cross-arched vaulting. The family villa projects from the relevant period are documented in the monography with illustrative examples – a representative residence of a successful layer, a member of the entrepreneur Stodola family and a national activist Emil Stodola in Liptovský Mikuláš and a villa connected with the office of the doctor and dentist Ján Kohút Jr. in Martin. These buildings were already a step out of the shadow of Historicism towards Secession and the utilization of elements of folk architecture. In contrast, the Historicist style was clearly dominant in the design of the building of the Slovak Museum Society, or the first building of the Slovak National Museum in Martin that was realized in the Neo-Classicist style. The authors appreciate the architectural and national and political importance of the work, as Harminc was able to successfully defend this national institution project before the committee of Hungarian architects in 1908 and was granted the master builder certificate as a result. The monography also acknowledges the formation of a new typological phenomenon of a rural bank, which in Harminc’s case implied banks with Slovak national capital. The eclectically mixed historical styles, especially Neo-Baroque and Neo-Classicism, were still dominant there, although combined with innovative methods in the Secession style. In addition to the designs of buildings of financial institutions with really rural character, such as the Credit Bank (Úverná banka) in Ružomberok, Folk Bank (Ľudová banka) in Nové Mesto nad Váhom, Folk Bank (Ľudová banka) in Vrbové or Slovak Bank (Slovenská banka) in Trstená from years 1903 to 1906, Harminc stepped outside of the provincial constraints with the project of the palace building of Tatra Bank (Tatra banka), which was then called Upper-Hungarian Bank Tatra (Hornouhorská banka Tatra) from years 1910 – 1912,. The authors refer to the latter as one of the monumental representative buildings with high proportion of Secession elements and it was a step towards the monumental creations of the subsequent period. Harminc temporarily returned to Historicism in the project of another representative bank building of Economic Bank (Hospodárska banka) in Trnava from years 1913 and 1914, built mostly in Neo-Baroque style. At the end of the second chapter, the authors reiterate the high architectural and artistic value of the Historicist stage of the doyen’s work that had been unjustly overlooked. It is also necessary to appreciate the authors’ knowledge of the historical background of the origins of individual works, mainly the context of the national movement, which is obvious for example from the explanation of the genesis of the designs of the church in Černová, the Slovak National Museum and Tatra Bank in Martin, and also in case of the designs of family villas of prominent figures of the national movement.

The core of the monography by J. Pohaničová and P. Vodrážka is the third chapter about the monumental buildings and objects designed by M. Harminc which connects the last years of the existence of the Habsburg Monarchy during the First World War with the stage in the development of the inter-war Czechoslovakia in the 1920s, specifically in the period from 1916 to 1928. While the war years of 1916 – 1918 are among the least researched and known with respect to the life and work of M. Harminc, the development stage with monumental creations after the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic and after 1920 has already been studied from various points of view by multiple authors. In 1916, Harminc accepted an offer from Slovak leather-manufacturing entrepreneurs from what was then Liptovský Svätý Mikuláš, and agreed to work primarily on their contracts for buildings and structures used for agricultural, housing, social and other purposes. The offer was specifically from the company Lacko a Pálka, for which the architect prepared a project for the reconstruction of industrial facilities. However, the authors claim the architect also closely cooperated with other leather-manufacturing entrepreneurial families with whom he had had close relationships even before 1916, for instance with the Stodola family. As a result of his acceptance of the offer, Harminc moved to Slovakia for good and opened an architectural studio in Liptovský Mikuláš. Unfortunately, the authors were unable to present an analysis of the designs and projects for the new residence of the architect, as most of the projects from the period did not get beyond the preparation stage. Some designs for Liptovský Mikuláš were realized later and some are mentioned in the monography about Harminc from 2014. During the First World War, the quite well known “Tatras” stage in the doyen’s creative work started. The works of importance from the relevant period include primarily the commissions for the designs and construction of a large complex of the tuberculosis sanatorium in Nový Smokovec for a renowned resident of the Tatras, Dr. Mikuláš Szontágh Jr. The work was contracted by another leather-manufacturing entrepreneur from Liptovský Mikuláš, Peter Hubka Sr. in 1916 and the complex was completed in 1924. The construction required Harminc’s long-term stay in Nový Smokovec. The authors refer to this project as a once-in-a-life time contract that substantially changed the dimensions and the nature of Harminc’s works and opened his way to Modern style architecture and, in addition, they offer professional analyses of the architectural and construction aspects of the whole complex of the sanatorium and assessment of the facilities.

The next part of the third chapter takes the readers to Bratislava in the inter-war period, in the 1920s, when the formerly provincial town on the Danube, also thanks to plentiful construction activities, turned into the capital of Slovakia. M. Harminc moved to Bratislava in this period and spent the rest of his life there. He participated in the reconstruction of the town with several widely acknowledged projects, such as the monumental building of the business headquarters of Tatra Bank, the building of the Museum of Agriculture (Zemedelské múzeum), which is the Slovak National Museum these days, and the biggest hotel complex in Slovakia – the Savoy-Carlton hotel. Thanks to the considerable progress made in the study of the genesis of the projects and the construction of the relevant objects, the authors offer a synthesis of information and findings from several authors, including their own previous research, supplemented with some new views. Designs of the large palace of the Tatra Bank from 1922 and 1923 are presented as a typical example of the modern monumental officialness in which several modern and classical styles are combined with elements of Historicism. The authors analyse the construction characteristics of the multi-functional object and call attention to the often-overlooked participation of the architect in the creation of the designs of furniture and other equipment of the building, which was an integral part of the design preparation. With respect to another example of monumental architecture – the museum building of the Agricultural Museum on the bank of the Danube river that was opened in 1927, the authors emphasize the fact that in that particular example, eclecticism was utilized on a smaller scale, with Neo-Classicism, typical for museum objects also in other parts of the world, being the dominant style. The public area of the museum café in the back section of the museum building was a deviation from the Neo-antique style, as it contains elements of historicism combined with the newly arising Modernism. The authors illustrate the special position held by the architect in the society and among experts in the inter-war Czechoslovak Republic with the fact that the lucrative contract for the museum project was offered to M. Harminc without any selection procedure. The role of M. Harminc in the architectonic development and the construction of the hotel complex Savoy-Carlton with a historical tradition dating back to the mediaeval Bratislava included its completion and reconstruction in the second half of the 1920s. The authors of the monography and other historians of Slovak architecture especially appreciate the unique mastery with which the doyen was able to integrate three older objects into a single whole, with respect to their construction development since the 18th century, while preserving the continuity and historical heritage of the older structures. In addition, the authors describe in detail the process of architectural and structural harmonization of both the exterior and interior parts of the complex and remind the readers that almost all the elements of Historicism had then been removed from the homogenous architectural design of the hotel. Monumental buildings designed by the doyen sill belong to the dominants of the centre of Bratislava and constitute an important urban design element. Naturally, Harminc’s work from the 1920s was not limited to three monumental buildings. The monography presents several other works in Bratislava and other Slovak regions that were either realized or were preserved only as designs. They included various types of buildings in both Historicist and Modernist style. Out of the realized designs, the authors assessed the reconstruction of the villa of an attorney and prominent Slovak entrepreneur Pavol Fábry in Bratislava, the design of the YMCA building in Lučenec, the object of the Tatra Bank branch in Bytča or the so-called Tatra-houses, i.e. apartment buildings for bank clerks in Martin. Special attention is paid to the building of the mausoleum of the family of sugar factory owners – the Kuffners in Sládkovičovo (Diószeg), which is compared with the mausoleum in Pomáz. The authors also return to the topic of church designs from the relevant period, such as the reconstruction of the roman-catholic church in Teplička nad Váhom in Neo-Romanesque style and the design of the building of the evangelical church in Pliešovce with innovative geometric design resembling Harminc’s monumental works.

The fourth, final chapter of the monography reflects the paradigm of the doyen’s work, when the architectonic style of his designs and projects suddenly turned towards Functionalism. This sudden change occurred at the turn of 1920s and 1930s, similarly to another doyen of Slovak architecture Dušan Samuel Jurkovič. In case of M. Harminc, it was also a pragmatic response to the social demands and commissions from his clients. The authors covered the Functionalist phase of Harminc’s work during the long period of the years 1929 – 1951 and explained the context of the commencement of functionalism in Slovakia and its main protagonists. Illustrative examples of the utilization of the new style from the first half of the 1930s include the doyen’s projects and buildings, such as the evangelical church at Legionárska ulica in Bratislava, the newest building of the Slovak National Museum in Martin and the House of the Choir of Slovak Teachers (Domov Speváckeho zboru slovenských učiteľov) in Trenčianske Teplice. The authors consider the fact that Harminc was able to win the contract for the third building of the Slovak National Museum, once again in Martin, to be a real triumph in Harminc’s career. His design won in the competition against the designs of D. Jurkovič and the newly rising star – architect Emil Belluš. The monography explains this success with Harminc’s ability to respond to new stimuli and the trend in that period to support innovative approach. Readers learn a lot of information about the genesis and the nature of the discussed Functionalist work, on the construction of which the doyen cooperated with his partner of many years – the construction company Hlavaj, Palkovič and Uličný from Martin. Further development of Harminc’s Functionalist creative work had a characteristic that the authors believe to be typical of Harming – he accepted the influence of the Purist movement only to some extent and instead, he created his own type of moderate Functionalism in which he also responded to other stimuli. An example of pure Functionalist lines and geometric shapes can be found in the aforementioned House of the Choir of Slovak Teachers in Trenčianske Teplice. The real turning point in the development of Harminc’s religious building designs was the evangelical church in Bratislava near the former Stein brewery – the authors consider it to be one of the top Functionalist works of the architect. Similar elements were incorporated also in the design of the evangelical church in Žilina with which Harminc won an anonymous competition in 1934, although the authors believe this to be an example of the moderate Functionalist style. Some architectural historians consider the design of the corner building of General Bank Nitra (Nitrianska všeobecná banka) to be one of the top or even the very top work of Harminc’s Functionalist period. It was another bank building in the doyen’s portfolio in which both traditionalist and constructivist principles were applied. Harminc created the design in cooperation with a member of his architectural studio, Jewish architect Ferdinand Silberstein – Silvan. In some historiographic literature, the main role in the relevant design is attributed to Silberstein. In addition to the discussed top works from the first half of the 1930s, Harminc designed also other typical Functionalist buildings – the monography mentions for example the municipal buildings in Poprad and Šaľa, an orphanage and an old people’s home in Holíč or the secondary grammar school building in Dolný Kubín.

In mid 1930s, Harminc designed another two noticeable Functionalist buildings in which Functionalist construction and building methods were also utilized – the well-known objects of Slovak League (Slovenská liga) with League Arcade (Ligapasáž) in Bratislava and the Palace – the second sanatorium in the High Tatras in Nový Smokovec, in which the construction method with steel structures was used. The authors attach great importance to the innovative construction element, and, furthermore, they give an account of the overall characteristics of the design and construction genesis of both building projects, together with the background. The Slovak League building was where Harminc’s architectural studio had its offices. The authors illustrate his Functionalist works in other regions of Slovakia on examples such as an administrative complex in Spišská Nová Ves, designs of industrial facilities in Liptovský Mikuláš and family villas at various locations from the 1940s. However, only a torso of these designs was actually realized. A competition-winning project called Orava village inspired by folk architecture from 1941 designed for Orava residents that were supposed to be moved to the Trnava region as a result of the construction of the Orava dam was quite interesting. Though, J. Pohaničová deems the transfer of Orava architecture to Western Slovakia to be an inappropriate solution. A special section of the monography is dedicated to the project of the reconstruction of the Lúčky spa from the first half of the 1940s commissioned by the Lacko family of leather manufacturers, of which only a small part was realized due to the war situation. As mentioned above, commissions for work from the leather manufacturers from Liptovský Mikuláš depended on the prosperity of their enterprises. They prospered during both the First and the Second World War, because they worked on government contracts for the army; in contrast, they had serious economic problems in the inter-war period and some of the leather manufacturing plants went out of business. In the final sections, the monography returns to the topic of religious architecture and maps projects for the construction and reconstruction of several churches utilizing Functionalist methodology and historicist styles from the 1940s, specifically several evangelical and roman-catholic churches in Orava, with the focus on the Functionalist church in Novoť, a Neo-gothic church in Bátovce and the roman-catholic church of St. Margita in Bratislava-Lamač in moderate Functionalist style that was consecrated in 1951. The final pages of the monography contain more examples of the doyen’s regional works, specifically in Skalica, where he designed e.g. an object with elements of folk architecture – the Skalica Hut (Skalická búda) and a Functionalist object of the district hospital. In the very last section of the monography, the authors take readers back to the High Tatras where M. Harminc designed the third complex of the sanatorium for treatment of pulmonary diseases in Nová Polianka in the 1940s in the so-called White Functionalist style, with extensive use of natural white travertine. The fourth chapter offers plentiful information on the historical context, with portraits of prominent personalities of the period. The most-detailed portrait was that of Milan Anton Pavol Harminc, one of Harminc’s three children, who went in the footsteps of his father and became an architect with proper university education. The authors present an overview of his work, where the dominant part comprised public buildings, mainly hospitals. The authorship of the projects by the father and the son is undoubtedly often mistaken and mixed up. The authors of the book summarize their assessment of the life and work of Michal Milan Harminc in the conclusion that has been published in the four languages M. Harminc could speak. In conclusion, I would like to state that I consider the synthesizing monography by J. Pohaničová and P. Vodrážka to be a ground-breaking work not only with respect to the study of the prominent architect M. M. Harminc, but also in terms of scholarly historical research of Slovak architecture as a whole. I commend the high-quality graphical and visual presentation of the book and most certainly recommend it to the readers.

POHANIČOVÁ, Jana – VODRÁŽKA, Peter: # Harminc. Bratislava: Trio Publishing, 2018, 204 pages, ISBN (SK) 978-80-81700-62-0.
POHANIČOVÁ, Jana – VODRÁŽKA, Peter (translated into English by: J. Gesty): # Harminc. Praha: Gasset, 2018, 204 pages, ISBN (ENG) 978-80-87079-58-4.


 [1] POHANIČOVÁ, Jana – DULLA, Matúš: Michal Milan Harminc – architect of two centuries 1869 – 1964 [Michal Milan Harminc – architekt dvoch storočí 1869 – 1964]. Bratislava: Trio Publishing, 2014, 184 pages.