Competition Entry, 2014
in cooperation with LoT office for architecture, New York
A prominent landmark building for the city of Budapest, the museum building complex is conceptually conceived as a monolithic Park Pavilion whose design approach blends concepts of classical references with contemporary abstract forms and architectural notions. The architectural concept presents a seemingly simple volumetric exterior that reveals a rich and spatially complex interior, with a variation of spatial experiences based upon the programmatic conditions.
The museum’s geometry stems from the most simple, economic and ergonomic form, a box. The box is then bent and molded into an embracing form reminiscent of classical architecture’s semi-circular formations.
Organically, two different fronts are created: an embracing urban front, and a distinct Park side façade that is more extroverted, open and revealing to those who wander into the park. The museum complex ultimately acts as a “Gateway” to the City Park.
The overall volume of the building relates to the flow of public movement on the surrounding site and responds accordingly with a sensitive treatment of its different frontages while maintaining an overall monumental yet elegant aesthetic. The concave volume of the urban-facing elevation invites visitors and passers-by to approach and gather in the Urban Plaza. Grand volumetric openings evoke monumental gestures, and encourage the imagination to anticipate the spatial qualities of the interior.
The large arched outdoor entry plaza is positioned right on the historical axis and symbolically separates the two museum entities at the entry level. This separation creates the opportunity to explore the dichotomy and challenging dialog between the two institutions housed under the same roof.
The visitor’s gallery experience starts from the common vaulted entry area for both museums. This area becomes the heart of the museum complex where large groups can gather under one roof to prepare their visit inside, enjoy the framed views to the city and the park, use the museum outdoor recreational areas and experience the architectural quality of this unique space.
The areas adjacently located to the primary public access of vaulted cross-sections become inhabited by program that provides a key source of income to the museum and can be perceived as the most pleasant, open spaces in the building.
The permanent exhibition timeline begins at the first level of the National Gallery with a gently ramping floor that continues at the second level and reaches the presentation of the art of the period 1950 at the end of the ramping loop at the third level where it extends inside the Ludwig Museum boundary. It is a symbolical and practical organization that offers visitors a sense of orientation by matching chronologically the ascending periods as one ascends the building vertically.
The building structure is designed to economically produce an impressive cantilever effect at the entry area and over the public spaces. It is a straightforward structural system using reinforced concrete, yet one that offers great spatial conditions to the interior.
The complex primarily makes use of simple natural materials, such as brick and stone for the walls and floors respectively, with an emphasis on the concept of authenticity in materiality, thus crafting a classically familiar and everlasting contemporary form complemented by a forward-looking design process.