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Budapest, Práter Street 30-32 Social Housing 2008

The dimensions of the complex were determined by the scale and proportions of the surrounding buildings: we must not create a bulk that oppresses its environment. Our primary aim was to find a favorable shape with fine proportions and compliant with the regulation, and set the optimal number of housing units accordingly. The environment has influenced and inspired the shaping of the building in a double sense: firewalls are significant as characteristic streetscape elements; and completing the existing blocks ‘cut’ by firewalls was a challenge to solve. Our intention was to build “to” and not “next to”.
Local value
In order to blend the building into the streetscape, we tried to give as sensitive responses to the shaping and bulk of the neighboring buildings as possible.
We complemented the block around the site in two aspects. While the intended building covers the firewalls, its shaping recalls them at the same time. The bulks of the adjacent buildings are completed by the new house, but the differing material (brick) used on the façade indicates the edge.
Added value/Appreciation
Deliberate development of the site and the adjoining outdoor spaces was an important part of the concept. The new building encompasses (saves) an interior garden, which is visually connected to the street and the inner courtyard as well. The inner garden allows sunlight inside the block, improving sunshine conditions; and the communal spaces created around it add to the livability of the relatively small apartments. The two roof terraces offer a beautiful panorama of Gellért-hegy (Gellért Mountain). The L-shaped outdoor space, which separates the two segments of the building, is visually united by the vegetation of the inner garden and the street planters.
Inner spaces
All functions (apartments, parking, communal areas) are accessible from a long, direct passage zone. This arrangement, together with the optimal structural system, ensures maximum flexibility.
Interpreting economical solutions in a wider sense, in addition to using cost-effective construction methods to optimize the cost/value ratio of the building, low cost sustainability (applying durable materials) was also an important consideration during the planning process. The building radiates elegance by its proportions and interior spaces, while being well-organized, economical, and optimally utilized.
/excerpts from the architectural description/

Péter Kis, Csaba Valkai, Ivett Tarr
Physical model by Ivett Tarr
Photo by Zsolt Batár

As part of the Corvin-Szigony Project in Budapest, the obsolete residential blocks of the area were demolished, and 5 social housing complexes were intended to be built for the residents who lost their homes. In 2005, an architectural competition was announced for designing the complex intended to be built on an empty double corner plot in Práter utca. Our studio has won the competition; the building was realized in 2008.
The building was selected among the shortlisted projects (top 32) at the 2009 Mies van der Rohe Award (European Union Prize For Contemporary Architecture); the project has been the only Hungarian participant in the history of the prize so far. With that, we won the right to participate in the Barcelona Exhibition, and the project got included in the archives maintained by the Fundacion Mies van der Rohe. The model, presenting one of the major conceptual elements of the design (transcribing the architecture of the firewalls to different segments of the building), was prepared for the Foundation.
In 2010, the building was awarded with the Premio Europeo Di Architettura Ugo Rivolta Award, and made the Selected Project list of the Brick Award.