The Life of László Hudec (the man who built Shanghai)

László Ede Hugyecz (1893-1958) – later L.E. Hudec – was a Central Eruopean 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 in Asia.

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 whom even his children barely knew.

Through their testimony, through his incredible film footage, and through our research of his footsteps, his story gives and extraordinary inside look at the first rush of Europeans to China, of its first modernization, and of the turmoil of the 20th century. A perspective all the more fascinating since today, once again, China looks like the new El Dorado.

Final film version, 2011, with Hungarian narration and English subtitles.

Documentary Short

2010, 26 min., SD


English and Hungarian versions




Réka Pigniczky


Barnabás Gerő


Gergő Kiss


László Hargittai

Sound Editor

Csaba Major

Archive Coordinator

Virág Csejdy

English Narrator

Ákos Fóty

Premiered at the Shanghai World Expo, Hungarian Exhibit, 2010

With support from the EU Media Fund and The Hudec Heritage Project