On the plot facing the Danube in central Budapest stands a house erected in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in 1897, originally a barrack. At the outburst of the 1956 Revolution the main demonstration took place on the square, in front of the building – making the facade an icon of the revolt, and part of our common recollection – therefore it become a partly scheduled monument. Later on the house served as a political party’s hall, school, restaurant, office building & fitness centre among others.
In November 2007 the new owner invited entries for a two stage restricted competition, which took place till April 2008 to design an A+ category office building while preserving the protected parts. T2a won the competition.
Our aim was to make a building which fits the 21st century expectations of functions, structures and also creates a new, separate unit. It involves the old part, building it in the new texture, expressly not making it a scenery or framing the protected parts. Hence we keep the whole first row of premises on Bem square (not just the facade) and integrate the old granary’s structure and the cast-iron pillars on Fekte Sas street side.
We formed the ground floor as a vivid and ample public space, where restaurants, retail and other public service activities can take place. The shops are accessible from the two inner yards and from the surrounding streets, too.
The six storey tall elliptic yards create a stirring spatial-experience both for the urbanites and for the office workers. These weather-protected courts are directly connected to each other and also to the urban spaces around – squares, streets – making the whole block permeable. Beyond functional roles the yards are playing part in amending the energetics of the house.
Minimal, together 3 vertical transportation cores are serving the building - panorama elevators facing yards – where numerous versatile rental units can be moulded from 300 m2 upwards, leaving the possibility of adaptable units. The shape of the building promotes mixed-system furnishing, as present-day trends require.
The shape of the building is both rational and emotional, in it prevails the optimization of vertical and horizontal extent and also the claim of a dynamic volume.