architecture : urban : visual culture

Creaton Award Winning Bicycle Touristic Center and Local History Museum

The raw beauty of the industrial building in Szerencs has not lost its essence in the renovation by Miklós Salamin, who won the Creaton Award with his project. In his words "the renovation was authentic and moderate, the functions will be well executed by these modestly rejuvenated places". 

Szerencs, a city of 9000 inhabitants is located 220 km north-east of Budapest. The Sugar Factory of Szerencs - an important participant of the town's economy - was founded in 1889. It was closed in 2008 under an agreement with the European Union. All of the factory’s buildings were demolished, only the protected historic buildings and the locally protected former sugar warehouse – the subject of this reconstruction - remained.

The warehouse of the sugar factory was originally built with two intermediate wooden slabs as a three-storey building in the XIX. century. In the 1960s, in most parts of the building, the two wooden slabs were demolished and an reinforced concrete column-beam ceiling system with an irregular layout was evolved with a hardwood secondary floor structure. The original three-level wooden floor formation was left only at the south-east part of the building.

The state of the building has deteriorated steadily over the years, the courtyard wing's roof structure has been completely worn out by 2014, therefore, during the renovation, only very few elements were kept in this part of the building's roof structure. However, the destruction of the building gave the designers lots of opportunities, since in the absence of a roof there were many places where the plaster peeled off, revealing the archaic masonry of the brick-stone house beauty. That is why during planning we had quickly realized that we would like to keep the outer walls as a looking brick-stone surface, without any replastering. 

During the reconstruction the building was slightly transformed, the construction of the stairway, the elevator tower and the court-side steel structure porch were the only modifications designed by us. Although on the facade, wooden windows and doors were made (instead of using aluminum structures, because of the customer's decision and financial limit), the original wrought-iron windows structure (frame and dividers) were rebuilt as window bars after cleaning and refurbishments. While we were removing the old plaster, the building began to show the structural facade, and we have found out step by step that we had made a really good decision by revealing the stone-brick mixed masonry, instead of using plaster.

During the inspection of the wall surface, many masonry repairs had to be carried out by the contractor. Inside, most parts of the building have retained the original carpenter structure, bigger replacements and conversions only took place in the courtyard wing. The appearance of the interior is determined by the used materials: the polished concrete floor, the steel banisters and the steel elevator tower. The existing hardwood plank flooring was standing, but it was rebuilt as a visible remaining framework of the reinforced concrete slab.

The function of the building is a tourist center and local history museum, where bicycle rental is also available.

Miklós Salamin




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