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  • Research, Education and Innovation

    MTA Science Research Centre, Q2 Building

    Architect: Antal Lázár
    Text: Jenő Kapy
    Photos: Tamás Bujnovszky


    The building is located on an area defined by the principles of the general plans made for the world exhibition which remained on blueprint: it is placed on the Boulevard of Hungarian Scientists, next to the so-called Q1 Building which houses the Faculty of Electronic Engineering, Information Technology and Economics of the Budapest University of Technology. The Q2 Building was originally meant to belong to the same university, but construction was suspended after building the slab above the ground floor in 2009. After two years of deterioration the left-off structure was taken over by the Hungarian Academy of Science (MTA) in 2011 to house an integrated research centre near the universities. Design work and construction was amazingly rapid (took 20 months altogether), and the building with an appr. 30,000 square metres floor area was inaugurated recently. Users are moving in at present. The longitudinal axis of Q-2 Building – leaving the existing configuration unchanged – intersects with those of the Q1 and BME-I Buildings, in the focus of the semi-circular landscaped area open towards the Danube. The BME-I Building had been designed previously by Finta Stúdió, whilst both design variations of the Q1 and Q2 Buildings were made by Antal Lázár’s team of architects.
    In a review titled Additions to the Recent Definition of Neostructuralist Phraseology published in MÉ 2011/1, I wrote about the design principles associated with the duo of architects, Remholz and Lázár apropos of my description of the Q1 Building meant for those preserving spiritual values referring to their famous design for the Domus Department Store in Budapest, back in the 1970s. In line with the theory which has turned into a methodology by now, every spatial programme is made up by crystalline and sculpturesque spatial groups, as far as building design is concerned. Evoking his cooperation with Péter Reimholz, Antal Lázár now took a Neostructuralist approach to the Q1 Building regarding the two lateral wings as a sculpturesque unit, and the spatial group containing the aula and the large auditoriums embraced by them as a crystalline one. This essential fact is to be emphasised here as the structuring of the Q2 Building originally meant for education was to follow the same logic. Due to the shift of functions, the designer had no other choice than making a compromise, which in turn had a positive effect on the building: as a result, Q2 is not a repetition of Q-1, but features a clearer structuring reflecting the above-mentioned principles compared to typically more complex floor-plans of laboratories. The two lateral spans here also reveal sculpturesque systems, one of them including a sequence of offices, whilst the other contains laboratories. The two ground floor+5 levels wings based on a system of cells flank the large space form of the assembly hall on the place of the „crystalline unit”. The securely organised lateral wings are heterogeneous, with different functions of laboratories and offices associated with them. Their interiors are unique, which means that the design and furnishing of each laboratory and office room will be a choice of professionals who are going to do their research work there. Another distinguishing feature of the two spans is that they include both vertical and horizontal circulation systems complemented by service areas. The circulation units of the various levels are symbolised by different colour codes. The span housing the laboratories is connected with the office wing by two transversal spans, which are alternatingly associated with either the offices or the labs regarding their functions. Designed to rely upon factual psychic experience (such as acoustics, spectacle, sense of space), the aula receives the smaller volume of the reception area and the larger one of the auditorium that float in it like two soft bodies. Above the latter there is the lounge opening into the space of the aula. Featuring nicely designed furniture, it also functions as the electronic library. The lecture hall with a seating capacity of 300 people may be divided into two rooms for 200 and 100 people respectively. The glass roof above the aula is equipped with an automatic sunshade. The patterns of industrial architecture are easy to recognize: the whole attic level of the Q-2 Building is reserved for engineering. All these, meeting the criteria of the 250 laboratories of world standards, and the 156 chemical alcoves are actually highly complex and intricate systems. The architect organizes the technology beneath designed finishes that evoke Hungarian industrial architecture of the 1970s which was based on the methodology of industrial design and was internationally recognized as such. Technology here represents the highest contemporary standards and energy-efficient solutions: as a result, the building is rated as „A” category. Roof expanses facing south are wrapped by solar collectors, rainwater is also utilised, lights are switched on and off by a system responding to the body heat of human beings, entry to the rooms is only possible with an access card, each laboratory room is equipped with an emergency shower, and climatised ventilation features energy-efficient solutions too. The architectural interpretation of finishes is another feature. A total of 12 000 special acid-proof ceramic pieces were used here made purposefully for this project. The aula is enveloped by special perforated acoustic panelling up to the height of two storeys. The stained glass inserts appearing here are also beautifully designed. (The colours broken up to spectrum feature the internal finishes of the lecture hall too.) Light arriving through the external doors and windows and the roof is regulated by automatic árnyékoló systems present on the longitudinal facade in a large integrated frame as part of the architectural design. As the windows are fixed, escape route is via the balconies of the butt facades preventing the spread of fire.
    The new Science Research Centre of the Academy – after integrating the institute which presently is scattered on four distant venues – shall facilitate research projects of materials science, health care, environmentalism, and medication amongst state-of-art conditions. The research institutes to be integrated pride themselves on achievements of international standards. Researchers of the Enzymological Institute have excelled in research methods for correcting DNA defaults. The elaboration of efficient and cost-efficient diagnostic methods for detecting of malaria is result of research work conducted by the Molecular Pharmacology Institute which is based on the magnetic and optical identification of the micro-crsytal of hemosin – differing from those of the other blood components, and their measuring instruments allowed for a wide-range screening for malaria. The Institute of Applied Physics and Materials Science has internationally acknowledged results in nano-research, whilst the synthetisation of a variety of molecules precious for the pharmaceutical industry will be considerably simpler by applying the robust catalyst developed by researchers of the Organic Chemistry Institute of the centre.

    Leading architects: Antal Lázár DLA – A&D Stúdió Kft.
    Architect: István Kaszás – Szalonka Kft.
    Fellow architects: Csaba Álmos, Miklós Batta, Donna Alíz Della, Veronika Lázár, László Sill, Zoltán Sükösd, Katalin Toldi, Ferenc Vavrik
    Structure: László Szántó
    Technical installations: Csaba Kordé S.
    Electrical engineering: Péter Komm
    Client: MTA Természettudományi Kutató Központ, Dr. Pálinkás Gábor az MTA rendes tagja, projektfelelős
    Main contractor: Kalotherm Zrt.