László Ede Hugyecz (1893-1958) -- later L.E. Hudec -- was a Central European (Hungarian/Slovak) architect who fled the vicissitudes of Europe in the early 20th century, taking with him the style and knowledge of European building design and construction. His work – spanning nearly 30 years of Shanghai’s economic and cultural ‘glory days’ – includes the first skyscraper from London to Tokyo.
In 2008 new archive materials – including original letters, photos and 16mm film – surfaced from his descendants in Hungary and the U.S. These archives paint a complex and thinking man living at the crossroads between Europe and China. The new archive materials reveal the man behind the architect that even his children barely knew.
Through their testimony, through his incredible film footage, and through our research of his footsteps, his story gives an extraordinary inside look at the first rush of Europeans to China, of its first modernization (skyscrapers!), and of the turmoil of the 20th century. A perspective all the more fascinating that, today, once again, China looks like the new El Dorado.