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  • Witnessing Walls

    Conversion of the Franciscan Convent and St Anthony’s Church in Pasarét, Budapest

    Architect: Gábor Sajtos
    Text: Zoltán Dragon
    Photos: Tamás Bujnovszky

    The complex housing the Franciscan Convent and St Anthony’s Church in Pasarét was consecrated in 1934 and was perhaps the most modern church building in Budapest back in tose days. Its designer, Gyula Rimanóczy made several interventions on the convent in 1948, the most important of them being its L-shaped extension added to the ground floor. In the 1980s in a comprehensive renovation project the church received a new liturgical space, and a new floor was also constructed to top the convent. The conversion now meant the demolition of the badly deteriorated structures and parts around the quadrum as designed by architect Gábor Sajtos, and new ones were also built, lowering the already sunken ground level by another 60 centimetres. As a result, a new fully valuable spatial row on the cellar level. Thanks to the sinking of the ground level the four spare rooms, the new wing containing two offices and confession room, sitting-room, parlour, library reading room, recreation room, library, archives stores could be levelled with the block of the former convent. Light effects and conditions have also been changed: glass bricks were replaced by windows hidden behind grille structures already applied on the community house, skylights have been integrated into the parlour and the confession room. St Francis’s statue by Miklós Borsos was placed back to the centre of the yard, and was completed with a dozen of monolithic seatings. The renovation of the church appears to have been modest: besides the painting and reproduction of the facework a baptistery was constructed from the former office, the ceiling lighting of which was designed after the decoration of the pulpit depicting the dove of the Holy Spirit.

    Architecture, interiors: SAGRA Architects
    Leading architect: Gábor Sajtos DLA
    Architects and interior designers: Gábor Sajtos DLA, Gabriella Sajtos-Grand, László Takács, Péter Virág, Anna Bálint, Sára Pintér, Zsolt Järger, András Páll
    Monument history expert: István Harsányi
    Structure: Koppány Madaras, Botond Madaras
    HVAC: László Potoczky
    Electrical engineering: András Tóth
    Environment: Mátyás Fodor
    Client: Magyarok Nagyasszonya Franciscan Order