The Reconstruction of Kossuth Lajos Square

The Parliament Museum and the Visitors’ Centre, Budapest

Architect: Zoltán Tima
Landscape: Sándor Mohácsi
Text: Ágnes Józsa
Photos: Tamás Bujnovszky

Fotó: Bujnovszky Tamás

Kossuth Square was renewed in 2014. Behind it there is the Parliament designed by Imre Steindl in Neo-Renaissance style which is a spectacular landmark building here when viewed from either the bank of the River Danube or the square itself. Designed in the spirit of historicising Eclecticism, it has a Baroque horizontal plan and mass, whilst its details are basically Neo-Gothic. It has windows with narrow pointed arches, numerous spires and its multitude of carved stone laces (traceries) piercing the sky. It is an exceptional work of architecture regarding dimensions, overall impression and interiors. The Parliament of Pest is not only the work-place of responsible representatives, but also a spectacle which has now been extended with a separate visitors’ centre. The sculpture-like gaze of István Tisza follows those interested below the ground where they are awaited by an appropriate system of reception. It is free from any kind of ornamentation; first there are dark grey surfaces, then white ones. A system of entrance just like those found at airports, followed by a cloakroom and routing corridors. Exhibitions presenting the history of the Parliament are going to be housed here in two halls. As the one beneath the northern inner yard has a glass roof, it is not only the exhibited documents are parts of the spectacle but also the underground showroom. The scarce green surfaces are replaced by expanses of dark ones. Lights illuminating space are minimalist style with forms equalling their functions themselves. From one side of the square we can get to the 1956 memorial site which is also accessible from the lane of the lapidarium on the other side in line with it. The access down here is a composition counteracting all this, with a steel fence bordering it from three sides which is barely 1 meter high. The northern one houses the lapidarium, whilst the southern one commemorates relics of the enfilade in 1956, both of which are going to be open to the public. Beneath the level which is yet unfurnished there will be a purely contemporary architecture as a counterpoint to the historicising structure by Steindl, which partly evokes the exciting spatial domain beneath the Parliament.

Architecture, interior: Tima Stúdió, KÖZTI Zrt.
Leading architect: Zoltán Tima – KÖZTI Zrt.
Landscape: Sándor Mohácsi – s73
Architect: Tamás Németh
Fellow architects: Tibor Molnár, Kaplony Tölgyesi, Dóra Papp, Máté Szabó, Orsolya Ráti
Decorative lighting: LISYS Zrt.
Client: Országgyűlés Hivatala – Steindl Imre Program
Main contractor: KÉSZ Építő Zrt.