hu en

Budapest, Listed Building Reconstruction 2004

Originally built in romantic style based on the designs of Henrik Koch and Antal Szkalnitzky, the Monkey House counted as the most expensive building of the zoo at the time of the opening (1866). The house received its final form between 1909 and 1912 based on the design of Károly Kós and Dezső Zrumetzky, and was extended in 1936 with the glass roofed northern wing and the semicircular eastern cage. After World War II, the building went through some minor interior modifications: the installation of a goldfish pool in the glass roofed hall, and a glass separating wall between the visitor area and the inner cages. Reflecting an outdated attitude, the reconstruction of the building had been long overdue. Over the 1990s, two spacious, grassy enclosures were built next to the house; in 2003, they were extended to a complex.

The fact that the building is listed as a heritage asset was an important factor during the planning process: we aimed to adhere to the original design of the architect duo Kós-Zrumetzky. The conformity applies primarily to the exterior appearance of the building; the construction methods and interior design were carried out in accordance with the current standards for husbandry of zoo animals. The internal reconstruction of the building took place in 2004: fewer, but more spacious interiors were created, allowing more natural light and the opportunity to link the large visitor area with the spaces of the Great Rock, at that time also waiting for reconstruction. In the glass roofed wing, we created a room with rich vegetation, allowing visitors to walk among the smaller marmosets and tranquil sloths. Nowadays, the habitants of the Monkey House are golden bellied mangabeys, patas monkeys, and red ruffed lemurs in the southern interior rooms; and siamanags in the large eastern cage.

Péter Kis, Péter Nyitrai
Photo by: Péter Kis

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 From 1907 to 1912, the completely outdated facility was fundamentally reconstructed; then, after nearly 90 years of “use”, a longer process has started: over an about 25-years period, the Garden had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