architecture : urban : visual culture

'Cicvár' grape seed processing manufacture

István Balázs Vass’ master degree plan is based on the understanding and divination of the old tithe house. 'Grains, mice, cats' - all referring to the original name: "Cicvár" meaning "Castle of kitties". Synthetizing thinking defines the design that wisely uses the existing buildings and the local circumstances for a sensitive completion. The plan won the Hauszmann and Pro Progressio awards. 


Located in Tokaj Hegyalja area, in a small, but historical village called Màd. 250 ha. vineyard with ancient wine culture - thanks to Italian winemakers -, it is not a coincidence that the 'Tuscan feeling' is present. Ambassadors have brought the famous Tokaj wine to the pope and the Russian emperor from here.


There is a little tithe house from the XVI. century that has been forgotten.
The roof and the slabs had broken down, only the wide walls standing massively, protecting its history inside. There are three structures divided horizontally and also vertically. On the lower ground floor, there are two locations by the sides, where they pressed the wine. From the middle, we can go down to the cellar system, that has hidden the barrels full of 'grape treasure'. 370 meters long cellar system - called Rakoczi’s great cellar - that was engraved from the local rhyolite tuff rock. The house was built from the stones quarried. The material was not lost, just changed at the site.

From the upper ground floor, we can reach the service flat, for a servant who protected the tithe. Under the roof there was an undivided room for the grain store. 

About the grape seed

The wine was produced from the grapes mellowed in the hill side. After pressing, strong and pure alcohol - "pálinka" - is made from the seeds, the cod and sugar. Subsequently, it becomes a problem to deposit the remaining "trash". Based on research, it is obvious that the ingredients of grape seed have a good influence on our health. We are able to salvage this refuse in different forms - as oil, pellet, forage or medicine. The "waste" is capable of all these.

3 design principles

No waste / reuse everything

  • minimalize the ecological footprint
  • real organic thinking way
  • sustainable
  • full energy utilization
  • trash salvage
  • reuse the refuse
  • reuse the destroyed houses stone material
  • use recycling / re-invented simple technologies and materials


  • precocious coordination of the local circumstances, resources, materials
  • periodical working during the year
  • solar energy utilization - electrical energy and hot water
  • temperated heating from the local produced pellet during the winter period
  • temperate cooling from the drilled wells by water tube system during the summer
  • natural ventilation
  • cost and work utilization and efficiency

Integrated heritage protection

The architectural solution is functionally very simple:

  • the old tithe house - keep its original "head position", protection, office, tasting and sales room
  • cellar system - storage for the local produced pálinka and oil with a great tasting room
  • new manufacture - divide 3 streak zones: storage, operating area, porch for the public

The plan is consciously not a reconstruction. Examined the “building life” time and recognized time by time modified the case that originally created and kept the building. Compared the nowadays requirements with the existing conditions, and find the possibilities in the circumstances it could be able not just follow, indicate the village re-progressing position and developing way with contemporary accessories. The architectural solution is not just to protect a ruin, not just to create a new manufacture that reuses the “organic waste” and produces medicine, oil, pellet - it gives an opportunity for a new brand and reinforces the village original identity and gastro-tourism position.

Isván Balázs Vass, Tamás Karácsony



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