“Small is beautiful”
In the early stage of globalisation, during the first great
oil crisis in 1973, British economist Ernst F. Schumacher
published his book entitled ”Small Is Beautiful: A Study of
Economics As If People Mattered”. The work went against
the stream; in his essays, Schumacher described a perceivable
and comprehendable, human-scale economic
approach, one that is capable of rejecting the unlimited
progress, as opposed to immoderate expansion controlled
by evergrowing multinational corporations, the latter
ideology best descibed with the catchphrase ”bigger is

”Man is small, and, therefore, small is beautiful.”
One can say that forty years after the first publication, its
title and subject-matter are as relevant as ever. Extents
have only been growing since 1973, power consumption
cuts the record annually and an increasing, almost unimaginable
wealth is concentrated in the hands of certain
groups or individuals. This unlimited growth lacking any
kind of self-restraint resulted in a deepening end everwidening
series of crises.

Architecture is a mirror – this almost cliche-like statement
is valid in every age and situation. As Sigfried Giedion
describes in his book ”Space, Time and Architecture”:
”However much a period may try to disguise itself, its real
nature will still show through in its architecture, whether
this uses original forms of expression or attempts to copy
bygone epochs… It is as an unmistakable index to what
was really going on in a period that architecture is indispensable
when we are seeking to evaluate that period.”
The world of giant MNCs, global unrestriction and astonishing
fortunes is reflected from this mirror in the forms
of record-breaking skyscrapers, fascinatingly enormous
mega-projects and ostentatiously vulgar architectural
shapes, then communicated to us with loyal enthusiasm
through the means of architectural media, re-mirroring
an already mirrored image.

And, as the chain of economical crises unveil the failures
of the economy based on the false illusion of sustainable
growth, the crisis of the architecture rooted in this illusion
becomes clearly visible through the inhuman dimensions,
insubstantial forms and by hasteful and unfinished
architectural experiments. It is increasingly obvious and
recognisable, that the global architecture eulogised in the
media is becoming a more and more abstract and aristocratic
way of self-expression for a rapidly shrinking
group, transforming into something inaccessible and thus
extraneous to larger communities.

”Man is small, and, therefore, small is beautiful.”
Man is small, hence the attraction to small; mankind likes
small. An architect is human, too. It is no coincidence,
that the abstract form-creating experiments of the early
2000s, the enchantment of non-standard architecture and
the world of ”blobitecture” is gradually being replaced in
several architectural schools by social awareness, the
openness towards the building problems of communities
and a certain sensitivity to minor issues.

Our doctoral school belongs to these institutions. Exceeding
the mimicry dictated by fashion, we address these issues
based on the intristic conviction of our students and
tutors. It is obvious and we are aware that the mediated
mainstream architecture is insensible of the increasing
problems evolving in our natural, social, economic and
cultural environment, what more, it seems to further impair
these issues. It is evident that because of that, we
must change our aspects, mehods and our subject of interest.
We bend down to admire a small flower. Renouncing the
role of the aristocratic architect standing on a pedistule,
we too bend down to reach small tasks, and by immersing
in them, we slowly discover their hidden values and the
beauties of small things.


Ferenc Cságoly DLA, DSc, member of HAS,
head of BUTE Doctoral School of Architectural Design