Budapest City HallEdit profile
Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat has won a competition to design a new city hall for Budapest, Hungary. The project combines restoration of the existing 18th century building with 40,000 square metres of new construction. The ground floor will comprise a public square, retail facilities, cafés, restaurants and a theatre to be used for conferences and exhibitions. The upper floors will consist of rented and city offices, and a hotel.
The design also incorporates access to the underground station where the old city walls are displayed. The project is due for completion in 2012. This proposal makes an end to a period of almost three centuries of uncertainties at this unique plot in the Heart of Budapest. In accordance with the objectives of the competition, this new City Hall, with its open courtyards and flexibility of use, will reflect transparency and democracy, will act as a Forum for the people of Budapest and will attract tourists. It will at once re-introduce pedestrian flow from the main street to the river Danube and offer a spectacular view of the city from the platform on top of the entrance gate. “This project provides a unique opportunity to both boost the economy of the city of Budapest and create an attractive new city centre for all”, says Erick van Egeraat. Erick van Egeraat’s design is based on combining three distinct functions: culture, commerce and administration. It proposes direct access to the underground station, where the old city walls are excavated and on display. At ground floor level, the building is entirely open to the public and comprised of, among others, retail facilities, cafés and restaurants.
The upper floors mainly host rentable offices, city offices and a design hotel. The entire façade reflects the transition between old and new, between closed and open by forming a visual wall along the main street. The existing building with its closed, baroque façade is continued in a semi-open structure of organic columns, which in turn open up into a gate-like structure defining the entrance to the new complex. The Cultural Forum is the most public space within the program and is strategically located in the centre of the complex. It incorporates a multifunctional theatre, which can be used for conference and exhibition purposes.
According to Erick van Egeraat, “the Forum acts as the connection point between the past and the future, between the historical chapel space and the new building, and between the historic and the contemporary baroque to complement and emphasize each other. At the same time it interlinks all forms of culture, education, entertainment and politics.” The new City Hall will comprise 118.000 square metres of gross floor area, 40.000 square meters of which will be newly built. The project’s completion is scheduled for 2012.