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  • An Icon on the Danube Bank

    Duna Aréna, Budapest

    Architects: Marcel Ferencz, György Détári 
    Text: Bálint Botzheim
    Photos: Tamás Bujnovszky 

    Sports as ancient integral parts of European culture clearly preserve the values of the classic Greco-Roman era. The relentless and devoted search of ideas, the ambition to find the perfect forms of motion are tendencies that are also present in the highest levels of architectural thinking.

    The clear-cut geometry of the Duna Aréna was originally completed for the swimming world championship of the FINA held in 2017. The disposition of the building was defined by the ambition to adjust it to the river Danube. The longitudinal axis of the structure runs perpendicular to the riverbank. The block containing the swimming-pool for races and diving stands as a bridge-head on the side facing the Danube, whilst the main building behind it recedes inward like a wave washing the bank. The latter houses the pools for warm-up and swimming courses, and also houses the row of spaces at the entrance. The form of the building as well as the structure evokes an archetype: the grid roofing resting on four strut mounts is a basic formula of industrial architecture, which is also one of the most rational structures. The contours of the main building cast towards the street creates a generous awning towards the street. We can have a look inside the foyer through the curtain walls. Spaces flowing into one another feature the interior of the Aréna. The central skylight impresses us as if we were looking upward from below a body of water. The changing lights of its folding surface evoke the spectacular playfulness of light filtering through water. An important element of the spatial configuration is the visual axis which corresponds to the longitudinal axis of the building perpendicular to the Danube. The system of great stands has a seating capacity of 15,000 spectators at present. After the world championship the temporary structures of the great stand shall be demolished so that the swimming complex shall have a capacity of 6,000 people. The exterior design of the building is defined by grey folded aluminium sheet. Although this material is primarily meant for industrial uses, the Duna Aréna proves that a house can be turned into a jewel box by professional hands.

    General architecture: Napur Architect Kft.
    Architects: Marcel Ferencz DLA, György Détári DLA
    General design:  Tecton Kft
    Fellow leading architect: Béla Varga 
    Fellow architect, project: István Fodor 
    Fellow architects: Ákos Pindes, Tamás Ükös
    Structure: László Gábor Szántó 
    HVAC: Norbert Pilz 
    Electrical engineering: Zoltán Ivanics 
    Fire alarm network: Zoltán Ivanics 
    Public utilities: Attila Bíró 
    Electrical public utilities: Gábor Pendli
    Roads, traffic: Klára Macsinka
    Landscape, garden design: István Steffler 
    Audiovisual technology: Balázs Magos 
    Pool technology: Zoltán Sallai 
    Sports technology: Márta Zékány 
    Fire protection: Lajos Horváth 
    Acoustics: Róbert Csott 
    Building control: László Harmath 
    Interiors: Gábor Szokolyai – MCXVI Kft
    Design elements: MOME
    Client: Magyar Nemzeti Vagyonkezelő Zrt.
    Main contractor: Market Építő Zrt.