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Buda Castle, Dísz Tér 17. Competition 2004

buda castle, disz ter 17. reconstruction - competition

The existing block of the Army Headquarters (Honvéd Főparancsnokság) has to be comprehended and considered from two aspects: it is a remaining fragment of a former palace and an individual unit in itself at the same time. The construction parameters specified in the competition announcement do not allow the restoration of the original bulk of the building; and we must also discard the idea of completing the fragment by complementing it in its own style, creating a building that - compared to the original proportions coded and present in the fragment - can only be considered as a “dwarf”. This endeavor would show an eternal imprint of the longing after the original dimensions and proportions, and the pain of the inevitable renunciation.
What we have to ponder is the relation of the fragment and the whole. Contemplating the new addition and the remnant separately, then together; when, from which aspect do they act as a part, or as a whole? The stages of passing lengthwise through the building and the related dramaturgy are very important aspects.
The relationship between the two segments of the building is finely balanced, not allowing for any of the two to surmount the other. The fragment is standing “with both feet" on the ground; the new addition is floating above ground, rising higher. The fragment takes advantage of the horizontal panel protruding from the bulk of the new segment: it provides protection from the rain for the public on the terrace, and dissolves the impossible problem of extending the fragment vertically.
Together they compose a monolithic block, but they are distinct from each other at the same time. The new segment does not want to pursue the logic of the old one, yet they cooperate. Both of them are components and separate units simultaneously - the old “footing” is a part of the whole, but with its sovereign geometry it is a complete entity in itself. The unusual crystal form of the new segment answers the challenges provided by the installation lines and the scale of the sorrounding buildings. This form can be part of the system and the system itself as well.

Péter Kis, Gábor Balázsa
Visualization by: Gábor Balázsa

The area located between Dísz tér and Szent György tér - where the Palotanegyed (Palace District) adjoins the Polgárváros (Citizen's District) - is an extraordinary venue of the Budai Váregyed (Buda Castle District). During the last 25 years, four architectural competitions (1994, 2004, 2005, and 2017) have been announced for the reconstruction of the ruined area, which still shows the devastation of World War II. Our studio won the competitions in 1994 and 2005; in the other two years (1994, 2005), when the Commission didn’t announce a winner, our submission was among the prize winners.
The plan presented here shows our winning concept from 2005, the model was prepared for the 2004 submission, awarded with a prize.