Kálvin tér Station is one of the stunning achievements of experimenting with space, structure and light in designing the new metro line M4, Budapest, Hungary. Kálvin tér is one of the largest stations of the line, due to its position as an interchange station with line M3 under a busy inner city square. The complex functional requirements have resulted in a rather complex spatial arrangement. Since the initial decision was to use cut-and-cover construction technologies to create station structures, the basic architectural idea was to use the advantages of this system, and create large open spaces over the platforms. The main spatial attractions of the station are the structural elements with their characteristic curved forms. Approaching passengers can feel the drama of movement in space as the escalators are placed freely in the void of the huge open concrete box. Arriving by the elevators through the strata of space holds a similar surprise. The roughness of the surfaces of the large structural elements and the perimeter walls is balanced by the fine finishes of elements closer to the passengers. The interconnection tunnel between the two underground lines has a vivid colour scheme which creates a link between two epochs of urban infrastructure. The decoration of the station is much more modest: the idea was to give priority to pure architectural elements and the sign and wayfinding system. The pixels of a mosaic tile add up to create a graphic composition, echoing the scores and words of a psalm of the protestant church on the square above. Light as a functional and decorating device has an important role here as well. The spatial structure is redefined by direct and reflective lights, emphasizing certain platform and other areas and obscuring others.
Metro line M4 in Budapest, Hungary has been the largest infrastructure project of the city for the last decades. Following a national competition in 2004, Palatium Stúdió Ltd. created a network of architectural offices to work on the new metro line. Palatium Stúdió had a primary role in defining the architectural tasks and the design background; however, architects from various offices worked out a common architectural language together. Thus, similar gestures of handling spaces, functions and materials inform the world of the stations, and at the same time, each station became unique, based on the artistic intentions of the designer. The line with its ten stations therefore can be regarded as a ‘building with ten wings’, where each wing has its own atmosphere, while they clearly belong together.
The ten stations (including Kálvin tér Station) of the new metro line M4, Budapest, Hungary were nominated for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture – Mies van der Rohe Award 2015.