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  • Landmark Set in a Cultural Landscape

    New Roofing of the Roman Villa Farm at Balácapuszta

    Architect: Dániel Rabb, Péter Rabb
    Text: Anett Mizsei
    Photos: Tamás Réthey-Prikkel

    Approached from Nemesvámos, the spire of the church of Veszprémfajsz serves as a compass along the slopes of the Balaton highlands. But among the trees of the roadside grove, we soon spot yet another striking architectural feature: a simple wedge-shaped roof component with metallic shine. It appears as a strictly organised mass with a moderate pitch above the reconstructed historic walls. Its designers, Dániel and Péter Rabb, have created a curious balance within: it is neither supported by the existing mason walls, nor hovers above them. It continues exactly from where the existing structure ends, just slightly touching it. Well-defined planes confine the roof shape, closing the lower surface of the eaves to precisely and lightly join the walls. One cannot glimpse into roof structure: the inward orientation of the Roman villa, which once was the largest farmstead in the province of Pannonia, still prevails today. Defined from the outside, the box-like roof component opens up towards the interior, revealing the lightness of the steel-frame roof and counterpointing the massive masonry walls made of local stone. In fact, no other intervention has been made. It would be unnecessary anyway: the contemporary components are humbly pulled back into the background so that we can focus on the Roman monuments. A tour of the villa reveals the original spatial organisation, the generous layout of the interior courtyard, the row of rooms cool and shady or flooded with light. The building itself evolves into an exhibition piece.

    General architecture, experts: Bartal és Rabb Ltd. (2 Rabb Ltd.)
    Leading architects, monument history experts: Dániel Rabb, Péter Rabb
    Fellow architects: Andrea Hankó, Gergely Váczi
    Structure: Péter Rabb, László Kiss†, Balázs Szabó
    Structural fellow designer: Valentin Bálint
    Framework: Péter Rabb, Miklós Molnár
    Electrical engineering: Attila Rostás
    Fire protection: Péter Futó
    Product design: Gyula Vasas
    Client: National Museum, Villa Romana Baláca