hu en

Budapest, Giraffe House Restoration 2010

The Bonsai Pavilion received the Piranesi Award in 1998.
Most of the listed buildings of the Zoo were constructed between 1909 and 1912, during the big reconstruction period of the institution around hundred years ago. The stable, designed for the first giraffes of the Zoo in 1868 by Antal Lóhr, was demolished after 1909. Like most of the animal houses built at this time, the new Giraffe House was designed by Károly Kós and Dezső Zrumeczky. However, while most of the two architects’ zoo buildings are reminiscent of the “wooden turret” folk architecture of Kalotaszeg, the architectural style of the Giraffe House referenced the original home of the animals. The animal house combining oriental elements in secessionist style was opened in 1912, initially hosting four giraffes.
The house used to lodge antelopes and other hoofed mammals – e.g. zebras - temporally, but since the 1930s, giraffes had been living in the grand hall and enclosures of the building again. During World War II, the building sustained damage from several bombs and shots; the inhabitant animals died. Demolition of the ruined walls and construction of a new building began in 1964. From the animal house finished in 1965, the giraffes were eventually moved to the Savannah complex in 2008. After that, the building used to provide temporary accommodation for zebras and Southern ground hornbills. The preparatory work for pulling down the old house and rebuilding the Kós-Zrumecky Giraffe House in its original appearance, but with modern construction methods, began during this period.
Our studio prepared the plans using the original drawings of Károly Kós and Dezső Zrumeczky. During the construction, we paid close attention to the details: everything, from the carpenter work, through the fittings, to the eosin ceramic decoration of the building evokes the Art Nouveau style and atmosphere of the beginning of the 20th century. Naturally, the resemblance primarily applies to the exterior appearance of the building; the interior design was prepared and the construction carried out according to modern husbandry standards.

Péter Kis, Orsolya Hőna, Péter Romvári
Visualization by: Péter Romvári

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 From 1907 to 1912, the completely outdated facility was fundamentally reconstructed; then, after nearly 90 years of “use”, a longer process has started: over an about 25-years period, the Garden had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:

  • House of the Katta Monkeys
  • Bonsai Pavilion
  • Night Garden
  • Japanese Garden reconstruction and Meditation Pavilion
  • Cave Cinema and the Small Rock (Kisszikla)
  • Main Entrance Building reconstruction and extension
  • Monkey-house reconstruction (Bambi House, House of Small Rodents, Squirrel House)
  • Giraffe House reconstruction
  • Great Rock (Nagyszikla): plan, model No.1, No.2, No.3
  • Owl Castle, Vivarium, Otter House, Dairy Hall, Bison House