Hungarian Museum of Architecture and Fotomuzeum Budapest

January 14, 2015

SPARK presents its proposal for the Hungarian Museum of Architecture and the Fotomuzeum Budapest – an entry to a competition held this year under the framework of the Liget Budapest project. SPARK’s proposal imagines two complementary sculptural buildings that appear to react to each other as well as to an existing memorial monument, while also retaining their own distinct identities and values. The competition for the design of two new museum buildings at the edge of Varosliget (Budapest City Park) presented the opportunity to develop powerful relationships between architectural forms, the urban fabric, the parkscape, and an existing memorial monument to the 1956 Hungarian uprising against Soviet occupation.

SPARK developed a scheme that draws on the existing features of the site while also making a bold statement of contemporary cultural confidence for Budapest. The complementary designs for the Hungarian Museum of Architecture and the Fotomuzeum Budapest create a gateway to the new museum quarter in Varosliget. The two buildings were conceived to create a tripartite whole with the existing wedge-shaped monument titled Memorial of 1956, which was designed by art and architecture group iypszilon.

SPARK positioned and shaped its museum buildings to be both respectful toward and reactive to the monument, granting it breathing space but also enhancing its power as a cultural marker and a point of entry to Varosliget. The museum buildings are entered from a shared sunken space in front of the monument. The scallops at the corners of the buildings create sheltered areas at ground level (for spaces such as lobbies, cafes and a shop), as well as an accessible amphitheatre roof garden in the case of the Hungarian Museum of Architecture. The massing of the buildings was inspired by the very basic concepts of architecture (solid and void, flow of connected spaces) and photography (light and shade, lens and processor).

The designs also express the increasing interconnectedness of the two artistic media. The two museums appear as two pieces of a whole while also expressing distinct qualities. The Hungarian Museum of Architecture was conceived as an expression of the carving of space and shelter from areas of solid and void. The interior layout follows the volumetric sculpting of the building mass. The primarily cuboid gallery spaces are connected by sloped, flowing galleries that are intuitive to navigate and a powerful experience in their own right. The main gallery and service spaces are contained within a lozenge-shaped core, which is enveloped by the flowing gallery areas. Office, artefact storage, teaching and additional service spaces are located at ground level for easy access. The building’s façade incorporates distinctive horizontal layering inspired by the interplay of solid and void, light and shade. The linear pattern is mirrored in the adjacent Fotomuzeum Budapest, enhancing the expression of a pair of buildings, while contrast and difference is expressed through material choice: textured stone for architecture and translucent prismatic glass for photography.

The linear expression also references the adjacent 1956 monument, where a field of rusted iron columns converge into a polished wedge. The Fotomuzeum Budapest expresses the most basic elements of photography: capturing the surrounding environment and the interplay of light and shade. Cuboid ‘black box’ gallery spaces are connected by ramped day-lit connective galleries. The dramatic lobby was conceived as a spectacular day-lit lenticular gallery – an amphitheatre of diffused light (analogous to a camera lens) for the display of non-light-sensitive material as well as the hosting of night-time lectures. The spectral layered façade was designed to allow recognition of the ever-changing external light conditions while preventing a clear view of the external space.

The ongoing Liget Budapest International Design Competition for museum buildings on the territory of the City Park Budapest is being managed by the State-owned Museum of Fine Arts Budapest and the Városliget Zrt (City Park Office). The overall Competition encompasses four categories and the design of five new buildings. The proposals for the Hungarian Museum of Architecture and Fotomuzeum Budapest constituted one competition within the overall framework, which imagines the thorough renewal of the City Park and the development of a cultural and tourist destination.


Master Plan and Architecture: SPARK
Project Director: Stephen Pimbley
Team: Lim Wenhui, Peter Morris, Anusha Bajpai
Client: (Competition entry – Liget Budapest International Design Competition)

Comments are closed.