architecture : urban : visual culture

Awarded quality: reconstruction of the Vác railway station

The oldest railway building in the country together with its neglected, fragmented environment were recently renewed in Vác. The careful, research-based reconstruction and reinterpretation of the administration building was designed by Szabolcs Bánszky and Mata-Dór Architektúra Kft. architect studio, and their work received the Railway Architecture Award of Excellence.

The station is of paramount importance for two reasons: on one hand it is one of the busiest of the country's stations, and on the other hand the Vác railway station dates back to the golden ages of the Hungarian railway. The station has become increasingly busy over the years, and the administration building was expanded and supplemented several times; warehouses, servant and other service facilities were built on the area.

The 1980s were the last time the buildings were restored in substance, since then their condition has deteriorated, the platforms got outdated, and the structures were definitely worth the renovation. The MÁV decided to settle the whole area, renovate the administration building, rebuild the track network, construct platform roofs, establish P+R parking lots and create new urban connections. The renovation of the administration building was carried out on the basis of the plans of the Mata-Dór Architektúra office. This building has gone through several transformations and enlargements over time, additional wings were attached to it in both directions so its original symmetry disappeared.

Contemporary photos and remaining engravings helped the reconstruction. The roof was covered with tile and some tin superstructures were also reconstructed. Removing the plaster layer revealed the previously hidden structural solutions, spans, brick vaults and ledges. These elements clearly highlighted the design logics of the building. The inner functional layout of the building, which is ground floor + one storey high in the middle and one storey high on both sides, was also reconsidered. The reception area became a rectangular space, and offices were placed on the first floor. The platforms were widened and covered with a roof.

Also, the previously unrefined urban space in front of the railway station was successfully involved in the renovation process, so it became an integral part of the area. For the time of the check-in, taxis or passenger cars can enter the roundabout designed with candelabrums and new pavement, and the unobstructed access to the building is provided by ramps running in two directions. The railway station of Vác was rebuilt with a well-functioning joint work of designers and contractors so that the rail-and-city connections could become strong and functional. The building reconstruction won the Railway Architecture Award of Excellence in the category of „Administration buildings and platform roofs of newly built or transformed, renovated small stations.”



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