The Gospel of Hands

Sarepta Lutheran Home for the Elderly, Budapest

Architect: András Krizsán
Text: Anna Zöldi
Photos: Tamás Bujnovszky


Taking care of people who are multiply disabled, Sarepta Home for the Elderly had a predecessor institute founded and managed by Gábor Sztehlo from 1951. An evangelical pastor himself who had saved the lives of many and was awarded the title the World’s Faithful. After the nationalization of ecclesiastical institution Mr Sztehlo stopped managing Gaudiopolis („the city of joy”) which he had founded himself and devoted his career to taking care of the disabled and mentally handicapped. In line with his credo, this selfless service is a live example of active love. The archetypal images associated with space here are adjusted to genuinely existing very basic human needs. In the case of Sarepta, the basic needs related to safety are the actual points of reference: the slightly bottle-necked entrance opens from a wide bay which gently receives and guides us in the direction of the sheltering world of the home. Built with substantial support from the German church, the building has accommodation capacity for 50 people in total. Those who live in here are in need of being taken care of nonstop for their whole lifetime. At first sight, Sarepta appears a simple structure with contemporary gestures. On a closer inspection, though, it actually initiates and fosters a more intimate relationship with the visitor: it exerts its influence on us via hidden channels, evoking intimate and sincere human emotions.

Architect: András Krizsán DLA
Fellow architects: Ildikó Kőmíves, László Nagy
Structure: Ákos Medek, Gergely Szarka – Medek Kft.
HVAC: Csaba Rosza – Pumpero Bt.
Electrical engineering: Zsuzsa Kovács, Dávid Sándor – Qualiko Kft.
Garden: Karolin Bán – Égig Érő Fű Kft.
Client: SAREPTA Budai Evangélikus Szeretetotthon
Main contractor: Confector Kft.