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Société Budapest

The listed building designed by Jakab Pollack is located near Szent István tér, in the center of the downtown of Budapest, in a district that is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Over the last 150 years, the building has been renovated and reconstructed several times. The earliest known reconstruction plans were made by József Hübner in 1923. In 2016, the new owner decided the complete renovation of the building and the conversion of the attic space. The intended spaces will accommodate an especially complex function: as a “quasi club”, the Société House offers diverse programs - fashion shows, auctions, interactive contemporary exhibitions and workshops - throughout the year. The initiative provides opportunities for the most promising talents of the Central and Eastern European region to launch an international career. While making the best of the possibilities offered and limited by the regulation, we aimed to create a design worthy of a listed heritage asset. The result is a multifunctional building: the ground floor will accommodate hospitality facilities; the first floor a set of event rooms (in close cooperation with the ground floor areas), mainly for hosting fashion shows. The second and third floors offer rentable offices; the fourth floor together with the new loft will accommodate the office of the investor company. The intervention has 3 major components: The first and most important move is the complete architectural and mechanical renewal of the building. In addition to the necessary structural changes, complete door and window replacement and complete reconstruction of the entire mechanical and electrical system is needed. The second important element is the reconstruction of the roof structure to create the new loft level. Because of its significant width and to ensure natural illumination for the office spaces on the fourth and the loft floor, the street section of the building will be furnished with a glass shed roof; above the sections looking at the courtyard, a flat roof will be constructed. External screening is provided by a fixed stainless steel net, contributing to a coherent façade appearance and to the characteristic image of the building. The attic space allows the construction of a full height level; above the new flat roof, a terrace will be created. The third major element of the intervention is the modification and reconstruction of the courtyard’s glass cover. The cover will be elevated from its current position above the first floor to the fourth, changing the proportions of the airspace above the courtyard to more favorable; protecting the balcony corridors of the upper floors; and contributing to a more harmonious appearance of the rooftop level. With the planned interventions, our main intention is to recreate the solid elegance once the building had; the fine shaping and modern, timeless details of the modified roof can further enhance this atmosphere. 

Péter Kis, Zsolt Krausz, Éva Joó, Gábor Rantal, Anikó Tóth 

Physical model by Jeronimo Fanelli

Photo by Péter Kis