architecture : urban : visual culture

For Every Season

Rudolf Wehofer's diploma-work is an attempt to incorporate a calm recreational place - with a ski lift and dining option - in Normafa that is not overshadowed by the surrounding nature but respects its context in the meantime.


The chosen location: 12th District, Budapest, the northern end of Harang Valley on Normafa. For centuries, Normafa has been used for recreation. Thanks to the development in the area in the last few years, more and more people visit it, either alone or with family to rest and to have some fresh air. For that reason – among others – Normafa is becoming overcrowded. Some restaurants and other facilities can be found at the higher grounds. Although development plans did not affect the lower parts of the valley, nowadays, there are aspirations to build a ski resort with all of its infrastructure.

"10-15 thousand people may visit during the weekends,
And this might pose a problem to the environment
Since overuse has become a daily occurrence in the past years" (1)

A solution for offloading Normafa could be to build a parking lot on the other side of the Harang Valley at the final stop of bus 155, and a chairlift. During my walks on the premises, I was asked almost every time by someone if it’s worth going down to the valley, and what if there was anything there. The valley is a perfect spot for relaxation as the woods fully surround it, completely hiding the city. However, not everyone can make it comfortably into the valley and even if, fewer people can go upwards on those steep slopes. Because of those very slopes, it is a highlighted area for sports in Budapest. In the past several ski slopes were operational, but none of those can be used today.

"For the next years to come, the environmentally friendly parking regulation and settlement of winter sports are in the focus" (2)

I aimed to design a building that is in harmony with nature, while it provides protection from the weather, that gives opportunities to enjoy the place whether it’s summer or winter. By building a chairlift and a parking lot, the number of parking spots in the upper areas should reduce dramatically.

Facade - architect: Rudolf Wehofer


Concept of installation

The biggest advantage of Normafa is nature itself. Congestion, noise and the everyday life of downtown are to be avoided. In my concept, I pursued to plan a building which is in harmony with nature. The building should have a light look, should fit in the forest to avoid oppressing its environment, while still not be lost in it. The trees stretch to the clearing, this inartificial gesture was continued by my building. It looks like as if it was growing from the bottom of the trees, thanks to the back wall having been lowered into the ground. The ski lift’s side is totally open, while the restaurant’s inner space is separated from the outer areas by a light-walled curtainwall.

Close-up - architect: Rudolf Wehofer

View from above - architect: Rudolf Wehofer


Weighing and fit

The 5 different functions of the building (kitchen, restaurant, water block, ticket office, ski lift) are covered by 5 different leaf-patterned roofs, which makes a consistent picture of the building itself. The service facilities divide the building into two parts. As for the floor plan’s design, arriving from the bus stop at the main entrance the restaurant awaits the visitors. The kitchen, the staff’s changing rooms, and the office can be found on the right side. The ticket office, skiing facilities can be found on the other side. The two parts are separated by toilets and mechanical rooms.

The curbing roof at the center and the break in the floorplans help to divide the mass in two because its mass would be oppressively large otherwise. From the northern end of the valley, the curbed roof seems like a valley’s pictogram whereas from the other side it looks like a schematic mountain. This effect is made by the levitated roof and its black peak woods. The walls are supported by ferroconcrete structures which also separates the inner rooms. This enables to support the ski lift as well. To supplement these walls, tree-shaped columns appear as well. These columns’ branches support the ridge-poles. The roof got a yellow metal cover as it gives the emphasis. This fit the green summer scenery, the yellowish autumn scenery, and white winter scenery, too.

Interior - architect: Rudolf Wehofer



My purpose was to make Normafa friendlier, reduce its load and utilize its opportunities. To create a building that helps the visitors to relax and do sports. It was designed to be a building that does not conquer its environment but rather complement it.





Wehofer Rudolf



login to comment »