architecture : urban : visual culture

DANUBIO: Architecture in unity with the River

Development by the Budapest section of the Danube, Europe’s second largest river, has long been in the public discourse, and so a contemporary approach that respects residents, locals and the environment was long overdue. Developers of DANUBIO - a piece of land that has direct connection with the main branch of the river, a marina bay, and a creek - have teamed up with Bence Turányi (T2.a Architects) to bring a uniquely fresh approach.

Sitting alongside the banks of the Danube not far from the downtown of Budapest, DANUBIO takes inspiration from the great river itself. Most of the building’s apartments will have a view of the river, in fact, combining with the extensive covered outdoor area to maximise appreciation of the Danube and the surrounding natural landscape.

But this isn’t the only source of inspiration for the developers, who felt a building that could integrate into the new and growing neighbourhood was the most important aspect of its design. Influenced by the timeless architectural quality of the 1930s progressive riverbank developments nearby, architect Bence Turányi felt it was important to create a livable, human experience that could sit beside the river while also blending into the surrounding cityscape environment such as the crowded residential buildings, the building of an enormous swimming pool or even the marina bay itself that are all located nearby.

With this in mind, DANUBIO undertook the responsibility to also finance and develop the enhancement of the surrounding public spaces in the area, meaning the project will not only benefit the residents of the building but the general public too. This includes the opening of a public pathway beside the Danube, a promenade along the Újpest bay appealing to dog walkers and joggers alike that reaches beyond the residential property itself to extend the ecological corridor of the nearby Rákos creek. This was conducted in conjunction with the district’s municipality to enhance the area as a whole and to allow these additions to become an integral part of the neighbourhood and local community.

And since the structure has been designed with the environment at the forefront, it has naturally been created with its ecological impact in mind. This is how its expansive, slightly bent and broken aesthetic was derived, its sculptural construction having been mass-formed to allow more efficient energy consumption. This is also true of the floor to ceiling windows, which allow for maximum solar capacity and to help the building run more economically. It is this attention to sustainability and environmental consciousness that DANUBIO has not only become the first residential development in Hungary to have been awarded a BREEAM certificate, but was rated as Excellent by the Building Research Establishment.

Further to DANUBIO’s innovation is the manner in which the apartments are designed, with would-be residents working to define the typology, orientation and location of their future home. This is possible due to the modular apartments, a pillar frame structure and a digital tool and algorithm that help to alter the final space for each inhabitant. This in itself creates a sense of personality and community that would not be possible with most other rigid-space structures.

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