The history of the building
Less than four years after the Pál Teleki committed suicide at this same place in his despair over the impending war and the future of the nation, a fleet of aircraft approached the Buda Castle district and showered the historic buildings here with a barrage of bombs. All what was left of the Sándor Palace was a miserable heap of stones. Whatever was left of the Sándor Palace that was of value was taken abroad as war bounty. Although the building was not bulldozered, it was disregarded until the change of the political system. It was thanks to a few devoted experts that a roof was erected over it and its walls were supported. The prestigious building housing the Office of the President of the Republic today was renovated in 2002. It has been sitting atop the city with its low-keyed tranquillity.
The palace built in 1806 was commissioned by Count Vince Sándor. It is still contested if its architect was the Vienna-born Johann Aman or Mihály Pollack, the famous designer of the National Museum, the Vígadó Concert Hall in Pest and the Evangelical Church on Deák-square.
In his study Péter Farbaky describes the Palace as “an elegant, fine and puritan building without major accentuated elements”. He suggest that those interested when walking in the Castle-district should spend some time gazing at the buildings standing side-by-side here, portraying a nice timeline of architectural tastes. The puritan elegance of the Sándor Palace is for example the complete opposite of the luxurious grandeur of the Royal Palace, but is quite low-keyed even in comparison with the copf style of the Castle Theatre built few decades earlier: “Reserved dignity, elegance, a low-keyed application of classical ornamentation subordinated to architectural forms” – said Ferenc Dávid and also Ferenc Batári.
Modern convenience in the 1800s
The renovation in 2002 was conducted on the basis of the original blueprints, which were thankfully recovered in 1983 and the detailed illustrations of contemporary maps. One cartographer, Frank Schams was so captivated by the building at the time that he gave a detailed account of it in his diaries, in which he speaks in fine detail about everything, from the magical flowers of the observatory to the rooms finely decorated with silk and gold. We also know from him that at this time already there was steam heating and running water – considered to be rare at the time - for the convenience of those living here.