The Weight of Beauty

The Reconstruction and Extension of Károlyi-Csekonics Palace, Budapest

Architects: Csaba Molnár DLA, Péter Bach DLA, Dénes Halmai, Rita Terbe DLA, Zsolt Bánhegyi
Text: Eszter Götz
Photos: Tamás Bujnovszky

Located in the Palace District, Károlyi-Csekonics Palace is one of the most expressive palaces of Budapest. Its history truly reflects events of the period starting from the 1880s, which is the era when Budapest evolved into a metropolis, till today. The site was purchased by Count István Károlyi, a member of Parliament, whose wife Margit Csekonics inherited it in 1881 and started the construction right away. She commissioned the designs from the Vienna-based Fellner and Hellner, the most successful company in the Monarchy that was specialised in theatre design. Opening from Múzeum Street, the main entrance is backed by a two-storey lounge, private suites, saloons and budoirs that can be opened into one, to make the home of the family. The centrally positioned courtyard is surrounded by wings to contain the staff-rooms, bathrooms, the kitchen and other service rooms. The rear wing overlooking Reviczky Street was a lot simpler, with the facade reaching the height of the ground floor and the mezzanine. Behind this there was the hay loft, a stable, a barn, and store rooms. After several conversions and remodellings, the Faculty of Arts of Károli Gáspár Calvinist University moved in here in autumn, 2020.

General design: BME-MG Konzorcium
Leading architects: Csaba Molnár DLA, Péter Bach DLA
Architecture, interiors, co-ordination: FormiConcept Kft. – CUBO Építészcsoport Kft.
Architects: Dénes Halmai, Rita Terbe DLA, Zsolt Bánhegyi
Fellow architects: Borbála Bagi, Ágnes Czuck, Maica Horváth, Kata Iván, Lelle Kovács, Debóra Ráhel Leitold, Móni Poller, Giselle Ramiro, Tímea Szodorai, Anna Tengölics, Endre Vass
Interiors: Rita Terbe DLA, Zsolt Tolnai, Zzuzsanna B. Tóth, Orsolya Simon, Gábor Szeles
Building history, restoration co-ordination: Judit Gömöry
Project manager: Balázs Pápay
Monument history preservation: Dr. Ákos Zsembery
Structure: Dr. Miklós Armuth, Dr. Dezső Hegyi, Dr. György Visnovitz, Dóra Debkowski, Katalin K. Theisler
HVAC: Dr. Zoltán Magyar, László Temesvári, József Nagy, Ákos Tóth
Electrical engineering: István Csányi
Fire protection: András Székács, Bálint Molnár
Framework: Dr. László Kakasy
Accessibility: Noémi Bisothka
Main contractor: WÉB-Konzorcium