architecture : urban : visual culture

A New Parliament

"In my graduation project, I am looking for answers to how this highlighted building of the People’s Representation can be adapted to today’s and future social needs, and how to use architectural tools to generate changes in a long-established system." - Eszter Salgó.

In my research, I examined the history of the Steindl Parliament and its architectural and spatial aspects. Since the building was built 115 years ago, the political system has changed several times, the upper house has been abolished, the Presidential has moved, the number of politicians has decreased from 386 to 199, and last year the Prime Minister’s Office has moved as well. With the change in the space requires for governance, the occupancy of the building has also declined, so now the building has a capacity of approximately one third of the intended use.

Based on my research, I would like to share the history and beauty of the building with the people, so I propose new functions for recreational, commercial or academic use such as a bath, a shopping centre, a university or the combination of a museum and library.

new Parliament - architect: Eszter Salgó - visualization: Ákos Sógor

My aim is to rethink the function and perception of the Parliament: how to meet the requirements of today’s world by applying transparency and accessibility in architectural spaces. By reorganizing the structure of the building and opening it up as a public space, I would like to express that the Parliament is not just a powerful entity that stands above us, but a facility that can be used for recreational purposes or at least can easily become part of our daily lives.

The timeline of my project begins in 2050, when the continuous advancement of technology will change the way of life and new forms of work, politics and the operation of the country will appear. With this in mind, in my project, I have designated a space where I provide the opportunity and space for future office building, created an environment within which I designed an interior space, the plenary room.

The Danube, which connects half of Europe, including Hungary; Buda with Pest, played a central role in the planning process, so I chose the southern tip of Pest between Müpa and Csepel as my location.

new Parliament - architect: Eszter Salgó - visualization: Ákos Sógor

As the project is located on the bank of the Danube, the main building is situated on the shore, and the plenary room’s pavilion is placed on the water. I wanted to create a building that is part of nature, and because of its hill shape, it becomes an open, accessible public space. I cut into the "hill" in four places, of which three are entrances and one is a huge forum that evokes the structure of Greek theaters. I imagined that this space could be a meeting place for people and politicians, political debates or any other big community event. On the lower floor of the building are the important functions of the parliament, guards, workshops and cleaners. Upstairs are the banquet hall, restaurant and private restaurant rooms.

From the hill there is a bridge leading to the "pavilion" of the Parliament, where I placed the screening gates and one of the main points of the security services, rest rooms, washbasins and wardrobe for the visitors.

The top floor of the Parliament is a grandstand-like staircase where you can freely walk around, sit down and see or listen to the work in the plenary room through the slit in the middle. From here, you can go down a staircase or elevator to the floor of the meeting room, which is only accessible to Members of the Parliament. The seating area is surrounded by a glassy perforated wall that defines a corridor with a buffer and restrooms.

axonometry - architect: Eszter Salgó

The interior design concept of the plenary room focuses on the benches. I imagined a space where politicians can argue equally for a common cause. Therefore, everyone is sitting on the same benches where the waves of pillows mark the seats. The spine-enhancing backrests provide a straight support and comfort at the center of the back. The benches are fixed and can be extended by pulling out the top of the tables to increase the work space in which I placed the voting card sockets, connectors, and USB inputs.

The system of democratic elections was created to bring the views of the people of one country to an agreement. This is the goal that the Parliament I have dreamed of would serve. That is why the building of my Parliament creates public spaces, a forum for discourse, which would provide a space for consensus, and hopefully defining the 21st century form of Hungarian identity.

Eszter Salgó



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