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  • Centre of Knowledge in the Forest

    Science Palace, Debrecen

    Architects: Péter Kovács, István Lengyel
    Text: Zoltán Győrffy
    Photos: Tamás Bujnovszky

    Fotó: László János, Civertan

    Photo: János László, Civertan

    In Debrecen architects Péter Kovács and István Lengyel were commissioned to design a building on the site of the botanical gardens associated with the university campus which facilitates an interactive way of promoting nature sciences whilst helping schoolchildren to orientate with regard to their further studies and career choice. The site is a unique one owing to its natural values and its place in the city’s fabric. The development scheme of the university and the clinics evolved from the early 1910s on. As a result, the existing buildings are organised along strictly orthogonal axes in the Great Forest as a system of pavilions.
    Recently completed, Science Palace is accessible via a pedestrian bridge winding and floating amongst the trees. Facing south, the white volumes of the building project their silhouettes in a highly sculpturesque way. As a result of its sophisticated organisation, the observer on the outside does not actually notice the substantial appr. 3,500 square metres floor area defined to cover in the design scheme. However, the natural masses of the building strain between the trees of the forest like a canvas to serve as the background of the natural environment, much in the same way as an abstract landscape would, lacking any kind of theory.
    The exterior of the building features the same kind of tranquil presence and equilibrium as the interiors. Its monolithic blocks appearing on the exterior conceal the functions of theme-based spaces, which are delegated by the institutions of the university: hydrobiology, biomedicine, botanics, physics with robotics, and chemistry with astronomy. All these demonstration spaces are accessible from the central interactive area, the gallery spatial system, which houses exhibitions of a more popular kind. From the north an underground auditorium hidden beneath a hill joins the gallery. The section of this hill also appears from the direction of the gallery and contributes to the seemless integration of the building into the botanical gardens from the northern side.

    Leading architect: Péter Kovács DLA, István Lengyel
    Architects: Lajos Barabás, Tibor Bartha, Ottó Ferenczi, István Kecskés, Éva Molnár, Attila Tóth, Balázs Higi
    Structure: Zsigmond Dezső, Attila Kocsis
    HVAC: Sándor Hámori†, Gyula Bodnár
    Electrical engineering: Zsolt Nagy
    Traffic: Attila Mocsári, Sándor Máté
    Environment: Tamás Sándor
    Client: Debrecen Megyei Jogú Város Önkormányzata
    Main contractor: HUNÉP Zrt.