The Local Spirit

Láng Machinery Plant Culture Centre – Third Generation

Architects: Csaba Nagy, Károly Pólus, Bence László Dobos, Ágnes Tőrös (2018), György Tokár (1970)
Text: Tamás Ulrich
Photos: Tamás Bujnovszky

Based in Angyalföld, a traditional industrial district of Budapest, the machinery plant of the Láng family (founded in 1868) had its first culture centre in 1930. It was further developed in the late 1960s. The facade of the house was a typical phenomenon of prefabrication enforced then in construction, and thus features painted concrete panels, aluminium windows and a curtain wall – as a true reflection of the socialist industry. After the change of the political system, the factory was closed, but the culture centre went on functioning. The local government started thinking about the plans of either reconstructing or demolishing it and then having a new one built instead in 2005, and eventually, and luckily, they decided to preserve and reconstruct the existing structure. The longish period of design and planning actually proved beneficial, as the architects preserved what was worth preserving: such as the structures, the interior configurations and layouts, and even contemporary furniture. They mostly left the functions of the inerior intact, but also had some minor modifications designed. A simple and crystallized kind of architecture and interior design was born as a result. There are no superfluous gestures or overdesigned details anywhere, only a maximal degree of serving the functions, generous spaces and spatial correlations, transparent interiors. When viewed from afar, the facade seems to be wrapped in red brick, but on closer inspection, it turns out to be terracotta ceramic tiles, which have been glued on the wrong side, their inside out. As a result they do not make a smooth surface, but a ribbed manufactured one, which in turn results in soft velvety shading effects.

General design: Archikon
Leading architects: Csaba Nagy, Károly Pólus, Bence László Dobos, Ágnes Tőrös
Architects: Botond Benedek, Eszter Mészáros, Bence Várhidi
Structure: Tibor Pintér – ÉKI Terv Kft.
HVAC: Zoltán Sor, Péter Fenyvesi – PHQ Kft.
Electrical engineering: Ferenc Rajkai, Tibor Komlósi – Hungaroproject Kft.
Landscape: Sándor Mohácsi – S73 Kft.
Environmental protection: Róbert Csott – ’95 Apszis Bt.
Client: Budapest Főváros XIII. Kerületi Önkormányzat
Main contractor: Nimród-Bau Kft.