BUDAPEST, RÁCZ THERMAL BATH RECONSTRUCTION AND EXPANSION 2007
The Rácz Thermal Bath is one of the old baths of Buda, with a history going back to hundreds of years: the oldest parts of the complex were constructed during the Turkish occupation in the 16th century. The structure and shape of the building has been transformed continuously through the reconstructions and extensions of different eras.
Most of the current building complex was built between 1864 and 1870; initially in Romantic, then in Historicist style; based on plans by renowned architect Miklós Ybl. The core of the reconstructions and expansions were the Baroque-style buildings of the former era. During World War II, the building complex sustained larger damages, renovation was necessary.
During the planning process, we successfully defended our concept against the archeological approach (conservation of the ruins and finds by applying a protective concrete layer, and using only new materials in the spaces of the bath): today, the centuries-old, restored spaces of the Turkish bath can be partially used in their original material reality, with identical functions; offering visitors a truly unique experience.
The area of the bath has grown fourfold (8000 square meters). On a same size area next to the bath, a 67-room, five-star boutique hotel was built; the on average 50 m² suites overlook the park of Tabán and the Royal Palace of the Castle.
Creating long-term sustainable solutions was a primary consideration in our design. The environmentally-conscious mechanical systems of the buildings can meet the sometimes unusual needs arising from the size and function of the facility. In accordance with conscious energy and heat management, the heat of the effluent waters of the pools operates heat pumps, and most of the non-accessible roof areas are passive green roofs.
In 2011, the reconstruction and expansion of the Rácz Thermal Bath received the ICOMOS Prize.
Tamás Dévényi, Péter Kis, Anikó Varga, Csaba Valkai
Visualisation by: Anikó Varga, Donát Rohonczi