Arts & Culture \ Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest

This is the practice’s entry for an International Competition for the Applied Arts Museum in Budapest. The competition asked competitors to propose a reorganisation of the existing building and also to propose an extension to fill in the “missing corner” of the plan. 

The building is an early Jugenstil monument in the centre of the city occupying half of a city block, designed by the Hungarian architects Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos. A permanent exhibition about their work will become part of the new museum. The central entrance porch gives  onto a columned entrance foyer and then directly to a glass roofed double height exhibition hall surrounded on three sides by galleries on two levels. To left and right of the main entrance run wings of rooms at four levels connected by a internal corridors. Externally, the most memorable part of the original building is undoubtedly the roofs of glazed tiles and the spectacular roofscape of domes and towers.

Our project proposed a radical reorganisation of the existing circulation. Against the City’s planning guidelines, we proposed filling in all the current open space of the site with a new circulation atrium. From this a series of new gallery entrances and staircases were proposed so that the original  wings could be accessed from the exterior and the corridor incorporated into the museum space, as well as bringing to an end the sequential circulation diagram.

Light penetrates between the edges of the new roof and the existing facades and the atrium roof together with a substantial existing flat roof becomes a major roof garden and outdoor exhibition. This could become an attraction all of its own, a secret magical roof knot garden which visitors, like Alice’s rabbit would discover as the culmination of all the new staircases. Within the atrium a new library is given prominence as a giant exhibit wrapping around an existing staircase and penetrating through the roof into the garden.

The new building forms the missing “L” of the plan and contains temporary galleries, conference centre and café. It has its own entrance and grand staircase and can be operated independently of the original museum. The temporary galleries have a series of sliding windows and screens giving curators great flexibility in choosing wall surfaces and this idea is reflected on the exterior façade.

Architects Richard Murphy, Brian Tobin, Daryl Robbins, Zoltan  Kiraly & Alex Thurman
Client Iparmuvészeti Múzeum, Budapest
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