BUDAPEST ZOO AND BOTANICAL GARDEN, CAVE CINEMA (BARLANG MOZI) IN THE SMALL ROCK (KISSZIKLA), INTERIOR DESIGN 2000
The re-opening of the Zoo in 1912 was reported by the contemporary press as the opening of one of Europe's most modern zoos. The novel arrangement based on taxonomy, the presentation system applying dry-trenches and artificial rocks, and the freshwater and marine aquariums previously never seen in Hungary have all been widely recognized. The success wasn’t smaller among architects and artisans either: the contemporary press applauded it as the most prestigious product of our national culture.
The Small Rock was built between 1909 and 1912 based on the plans of sculptor Gyula Benke and engineer Gyula Végh, and on Urs Eggenschwyler's idea. The concrete structure supported by reinforced concrete beams mimics granite rocks and gneiss slabs; its highest point is 16 meters above the level of the promenades. Inside the smaller rock, an interior room was created for setting up the newest amusement of that time: a “motion picture theatre”, which had been in use until the 1980s. The so-called Cave Cinema had its golden era in the 1960s with nature film screenings, educational presentations, and student competitions following one another. The exhibition/event hall and restaurant created in the spaces of the Cave Cinema during the reconstruction of the Small Rock in 1997-98 were no less popular.
The installations inside the Small Rock provided several useful examples and lessons for the utilization of the Great Rock.
Péter Kis, Balázs Szlabey, Péter Nyitrai
Photo by: Attila Polgár
The Budapest Zoo and Botanical Garden was opened for the public in 1866, and has undergone two dramatic changeovers during the last hundred years. From 1907 to 1912, the completely outdated facility was fundamentally reconstructed; then, after nearly 90 years of “use”, a longer process has started: over an about 25-years period, the Garden had been almost completely renovated, upgraded, and reconstructed according to modern zoo standards.
In the comprehensive renewal program, several architect studios were commissioned for the different projects; our studio’s first task was to prepare the plans for the Katta Monkey House in fall 1993. This first commission was followed by a number of increasingly complex tasks: after designing several pavilions, reconstructions, and renewals, we had the opportunity to prepare the reconstruction plans of the Great Rock, and the plans for the intended Zoological Museum in the interior of the rock. The reconstruction and expansion works of the zoo buildings received the ICOMOS Prize in 2009.
Over this 20-years cooperation period, our studio has prepared reconstruction and renovation plans, and original concepts and designs for the following projects: