architecture : urban : visual culture

High-standard department store in Budaörs

The Marp Architecture Office presents a surprinsingly high-standard for a department store in agglomerations. Budaörs has a heteregeneous urban fabric, sometimes incorporating building of low architectural merit; however, the firm's design is far from that, being a compact, well executed project.

The clients, who are one of the most significant traders of building engineering product distribution in Hungary, decided to construct a new department store and warehouse in Budaörs in 2011, as part of the company’s next phase of expansion. The location where the investment was carried out has a significant role in sales activities for the company. The architectural language rendered to the new unit represents a higher quality than what can be expected in this genre, which, at the same time, has become both the symbol and the tool for the company’s profile change and new business policy.

Architectural conception

Following the change of the regime, Budaörs became a prioritised target for the sudden expansion of agglomeration. As a result of the contradictory process, a rather heterogeneous urban fabric came into existence; creating either mixed or poor standard in the architecture of trading sector. This can naturally be considered as a coded genre issue as well in this segment, since price sensitiveness and the short-term ephemeral way of thinking often worked against architectural quality.

The clients bought the land for construction in a location where the world of suburban residential area and the generic ‘cubes’ of multinational chain stores meet - an easily accessible commercial zone along the motorway. According to the design brief, a particular building engineering store was necessary to be built, in which the showroom function receives a higher role than the direct sales function as opposed to the company’s former department stores. In this way, a greater emphasis was put on the importance of the location as well as its purchasing power, and the company’s long-term strategy was fulfilled by giving more space to new trading segments of flooring systems and bathroom equipments of premium quality.

During the design process, in addition to the heterogeneous environment, the irregular-shaped building plot also appeared as a challenge. In accordance with the architectural concept, the building makes an attempt to organise its surroundings and stands out from the generic urban context with its quality and space forming force. The plot, which was formerly fenced around, became open towards the city during the construction process. The parking and the green areas right in front of the building secure a visually spacious and neat area for the new building. The dynamic volume of the building smoothly adapts itself to the site’s geometrical features by closing in a sharp angle but blocking the way towards the single family houses. The anthracite grey metal cladding of the building, which was realised with demanding details, and the large glazed portal surfaces give the impression of a public building, which is in harmony with the premium quality products sold in the department.

The unique profile aluminium shade-system is an important element of the concept that peels off the building like a meander ribbon, then becomes a separating fence starting its own journey: it clearly assigns and separates the area from the residential zone and creates the backyard that hides the chaotic world of freight transport from sight, adjoining the building again. This solution is in distant referential relation with all the architectural or historical solutions in which wall, space separation, building and intermediate space become one.

Functional order

The sales area and the showroom located in the front part of the building are served by the two-level storage to be found in the back of the building. The showroom takes place dominantly on the upper floor where high-quality bathroom equipments are displayed in wide open space. The aesthetic concept of the interior space including exposed concrete pillars and ceiling and moulded resin flooring system reflects high quality and moderateness in order to give more priority to the colourful and impressive objects displayed. The stairs connecting the two levels of the showroom have a significant role and their presence and energy are consciously emphasised by the top-light.

Building structures and building engineering

The building has high-capacity reinforced concrete vertical and horizontal load-bearing structures, securing the possibility of a future rearrangement of the selling area. The on-site mounted facade has ventilated structure, and it is covered by unique, high-quality corrugated sheet panels fastened to steel wall-cassettes. The system can easily be rearranged with relatively small effort and the window and door profile systems can also be modified at a later stage. The building’s plinth is covered by prefabricated concrete panels. In order to strengthen the homogenity of the showroom, a resin flooring-system was designed. Inside the stairs area, high-quality natural rubber flooring was used.

The department store distributing modern building-engineering products and systems is itself equipped with the state-of-the-art building engineering systems such as heat-recovering airing, heat pump, solar panel, solar collector, controllable shading system, grey-water recycling. That is to say the building both popularises and displays the products it distributes.

During its extension, the trading group has reached a level where the high-quality architecture representing the identity has an added value, and vice versa: without the architectural quality, the company’s business policy regarding quality would simply lose its credibility. Hopefully, the newer department stores will be built with consideration of the experiences of this building, improving the general level of architecture of commercial/trading buildings.   

Márton Dévényi, Pál Gyürki-Kiss (Marp)


login to comment »