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  • The Second Life of an Old Waterhouse

    Ybl Creative House in Buda, Budapest

    Architect: Zoltán Oláh M.
    Text: Eszter Götz
    Photos: Tamás Bujnovszky

    Someone entering the pavilion standing on the bank of the River Danube, can hardly imagine that these are rooms of an industrial facility. The spacious stairway entrance, the loggia projecting from the middle of the facade surrounded by openable glass partitions, the café graced with gilded stuccos and pilasters of the Ion order, the faceted ceiling, the interior evoking Art Deco style, the upstairs gallery rounded off with a glass railing, and the furniture reflecting unique tastes actually impress us as if it was a contemporary reinterpretation of a palace. However, Miklós Ybl concealed in this tiny structure all the pumps, reserves and other systems draining away the filtered water of the Danube which actually provides the Buda Castle district with water, The rebuilt house has to serve a variety of events, which the designer solved by well-organised spatial configurations. The sequence of ground-floor rooms starts with a loggia with openable glass partitions seated in a steel structure and floating above the column plinths, so that visitors can enjoy a welcoming view of the Danube all the year round. In the lounge behind the main entrance a beautifully restored revivalist Renaissance café doubling as a restaurant is housed, which also integrates components of contemporary design. The southern part of the building contains a two-storey grand hall articulated by interior arches. The stairway hall leads us to the drawing room upstairs. The basement contains a series of closed rooms without light, with exciting transparencies that host contemporary art exhibitions. This is where the new sunken entrance leads us, which winds below a tiny glass bridge towards the underground world outside the north-facing main entrance of the pavilion, in-between the building and the terrace.

    Architecture: Konstruma Mérnöki Iroda Kft.
    Leading architect: Dr. Oláh Mihály Zoltán
    Fellow architects: Szabó Zsolt, Várhidi Tamás, Égető Sándor
    Structure: Dr. Vándor András
    Water insulation: Dr. Kakasy László
    HVAC: Lucz Attila – HVArC Kft.
    Electrical engineering: Somogyi Gábor – SOMOGYI KFT.
    Landscape, garden: Nagy Gyöngyi – ROLLA BT.
    Restoration, monument preservation: György Szekér – ALAKart Kft., László Czifrák, Gergely Kelecsényi, Tivadar Lehoczky