Workplaces – Károly Kós Association Vagabond School


Károly Kós Association Vagabond School


A Vagabond School is an unofficial postgraduate training where newly graduated architects can learn about the practicalities of the profession, on the job, under the supervision of a teacher (or “master”). A vagabond architect has a chance to glimpse into the work and operation of 6 different studios in six semesters - somewhat similar to apprenticeship in medieval guilds. Vagabonds can also participate in class room trainings, plan competitions, or attend trips. The training is finished by graduation, where the graduated vagabond presents a finished or unfinished building to the board of the masters.

I first heard about the Association in 2005, even before I chose architecture for a career. I visited Sándor Dévényi, a well-known architect, with whom I had a chat about topics like profession, vocation, and even religion. This was the first time I could glimpse into the operation of a studio, and its atmosphere certainly caught me. I wanted to remember the name of this association well, as I thought it might come in handy in the future.

I was finished my undergraduate studies 8 years later, in the middle of the financial crisis. Being just out of university, I didn’t manage to find a job within my profession even after a long search. That’s when I first thought of joining the Vagabond School. It was the last month of the summer, and the entrance exams were due at the beginning of September. So I had one month to prepare my project. My task was to plan a farm with a territory of more than an acre (4135 m2). Having little experience I needed the time to immerse myself into the topic: to draw the plans by hand and computer. Ádám Kovács Paládi, my BSc consultant offered a lot of help, so I was able to create 4 pieces of A4 high quality panels.


On the day of the entrance exam, there were 11 candidates. Usually, 3-4 people are admitted to the Vagabond School of the association. The exams lasted the whole day long. The masters made a unanimous decision: and I was among the admitted. This was a huge relief, as it meant 3 years of employment, at the time of the crisis, in 6 different studios of my choice. As a benefit of the entrance project, I learnt a lot about how farms are built up, how they operate, and how the cooperation within them enables their survival.

It was then that I got admitted to the postgraduate course of the University of Pécs, Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, Design Field. In other words, from September on, I was simultaneously back in school and starting a career - this transformed my life fundamentally.

The next one and a half years (the duration of this MSc course) were spent with hard work and study, as a result of which I successfully graduated. The Vagabond School, on the other hand, went on. Now I had more time for the events, outings and lectures they organised biweekly. In the process of the next 3 semesters, I turned into an independent designer and an entrepreneur. I now confidently manage co-architects, liaise with clients, as well as design buildings.