November 21, 2010

Péter Császár, Failakok és tornyok/Treehouses and wooden towers

picture (Failak 2001) by József Rosta

 How many young people didn't dream of building a hut in a tree? And how many of them actually did this?

Life and works

Peter Császár (b. 1974) built tree-huts indeed, not just one, but lots of them, altogether some thirty tree huts and a number of wooden towers.

Born in Budapest, the capital of Hungary, at age ten he began experimenting with the construction of a tree-hut, at an altitude of some four or five meters. In 1989, at age fifteen, he actually made his first tree-house, at an altitude of some fifteen meters. 

Following his passion, Peter Császár in the 1990s constructed some thirty tree-houses in the woods around Budapest. Once his talent had been noticed, he also made tree-houses on commission, like one on behalf of the Bárka Theatre which was realized in the Orczy Garden, a park in Budapest.

picture (1999) by Eva Bársony

His constructions are rather robust, like the one in the picture above, which has a surface of 5 x 5 m, walls and a roof and is situated at an altitude of 12 meters. It is rather a house then a cabin..

this picture and the next one from a webpage by Császár
tower 15 m high, constructed 1990/91, 
meanwhile demolished by unknown people

In the same period Peter Császár also constructed wooden towers, but up to now I could not trace information about the whereabouts of these constructions.

another tower, 25 m high, constructed 1994/96, 
burnt down by unknown people

Császár had a great respect for nature. In the interview with Ágnes Veronika Tóth (see documentation) he says: "The proximity of the tree calms me. When I build, I still ensure that the trees remain intact (....) What I do is rooted in a great love of nature. The natural environment always has attracted me very much, it is no coincidence that I long for the forest, (to be) between the trees"..

What happened to the tree houses and the towers?

Local authorities were not amused to discover illegally built wooden structures in the public area and  destroyed them. The structures also have been vandalized by unknown people. So most constructions have disappeared and Császár's creations mainly survive via pictures

The one in the Orczy Garden however, as far as I know, is currently still extant.

From autodidact to professional artist

As a young man Császár had no training in construction work or making art (he studied communication sciences). His artistic talent was noticed by a friend of the family when he was in his early twenties and in this way he got the opportunity to follow art classes and to join (in 2002) the Hungarian union of sculptors.

As far as I know, currently Császár is active in making visual art. 


 * Császár's wooden structures got attention in some expositions, like Unframed Landscapes (Dunaújváros, Zagreb, London, 2004) 
* An exposition (Székesfehérvár, June 2008) was reported on the freshwindow weblog (which however is not available anymore on the internet)

picture courtesy of the hungarian freshwindow weblog
(not available anymore)

* Interview (in Hungarian) with Péter Császár by Ágnes Veronika Tóth on Balkon website

Péter Császár
Treehouses and wooden towers
around Budapest, Hungary
most constructions have been demolished


  1. Hi Henk,
    So are you off to Hungary to see if you can find a tree house to camp in for a month or two ? Ah, but do they have electricity and an internet connection ? Maybe with solar power and sattelite dish ?

  2. What an extraordinary Post dear Henk. And as for your first retoric question, well, yes, indeed i have been one of those who have dremt with building a hut there in the middle of the nature, maybe not for running away from the noisiness of civilization but maybe rather as a failed and naive attempt to try to get melted again into the arms of nature and the shelter it offers.
    Not a surprise to see the blind and short sight attitude of the "authorities" who has clearly proved across the time an unsurpassable bunch of skills for destruction and demolition and a clumpsy if not non existant capability for build, whatever, but build. And it also makes me feel glad that destiny found and praised the talent of Mr. Császár who received then the opportuniy to fully develop and blossom all his artistic expression lying within them as a bomb about to burst out.
    Thanks for sharing this dear friend, and who knows? maybe one day i manage to find the enough motivation for accomplishing such dream and wish of my youth, to build a house among the branches of a tree, to try to melt with the nature again, where we all belong.
    All the best for you Henk