architecture : urban : visual culture

Artist Colony from ruins – Csaba Nyitrai’s plan

In his thesis work, Csaba Nyitrai dealt with the renovation and conversion of an abandoned and dilapidated building. In the house, once called the Vértessy Manison, he created four studios – where four artists can work – for the Artist Colony of Debrecen, completed with a community and exhibition space.

The diploma work dealt with making an existing, dilapidated building usable. Continuity emanates from every corner of the house, which was rebuilt many times until it gained the current state. The architect was immediately captivated by the rough, ruined brick surfaces and the system of the interior spaces. He felt that this atmosphere would be just perfect to host different artistic creative activities. The architect wanted to utilize this building and to eliminate its current unworthy function: namely that it serves a temporary accommodation and toilet of the homeless.  

Based on the current conditions and environment of the house, a contemporary, usable function is needed in order to stop deterioration and to ensure sustainability. In addition to the utilization of the existing rooms, an additional group of premises was planned to serve the new function. The elements of the new building complex are lightweight boxes, penetrating the shell of the existing house and creating a new layer.

It is an impossible task to carry out authentic intervenes in case of a ruin. But from time to time we should at least try it. The encounter of an artist colony and a dumpsite carries poetry and surreality, yet it is a very realistic proposition. This plan is a beautiful attempt.” – Opponent’s review


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