History of the Square– SZERVITA SQUARE BUILDING
The past of Szervita square has its roots in the 10th-11th century. Its area lays between the town walls from the Árpád age and the late middle ages and the streets of its neighborhood most probably reflect the street structure of those times. On an engraving of Buda’s unsuccessful siege the mosque standing in the vicinity of the Váci Gate can already be identified. It was later replaced by the Temple of the Servites. During the period of cartographic representations, the shape of Szervita square remained constant until the end of World War II.
Changes in the 20th-21st centuries are visible in aerial photos:
The buildings of the square
Full of architectural challenges, Szervita square is one of the most exciting areas of downtown Budapest. Almost all modern architectural styles can be found on the surrounding buildings.
Reminiscences of 18th century baroque architecture include Martinelli's former Palace of Invalides, the downtown St. Anne's Church, and the foundation of the statue of Virgin Mary on the square.
The 20th century is represented by two beautiful neoclassical buildings, the Schaffer House from 1820 and 5 White Hajó Street, built in 1840.
The most characteristic buildings of the square were built in the spirit of Art Nouveau. Examples of these are the Szénássy and Bárczai Department Store at 2 Szervita Square, the Turkish bank house of Henrik Bőhm and Ármin Hegedűs built in 1906, and the Leitersdorfer office and apartment building, designed by Béla Lajta, built in 1911-12, the latter of which already carries modernist features, well ahead of its time.
Both the former MATÁV HQ, built in 1976, and the OMFB office building and INTERAG parking house from 1972 (demolished as part of the Servita Square Building development) were built in the spirit of modern architecture.
The future of the square
Due to the ‘L’-shaped building taking form at 1972, the intimate, trapezoidal square partially expanded, but it still did not provide an organic link with the surrounding streets and did not make room to the temple's main facade. In its regulation plan, the Municipality of the 5th District required the significant expansion of the space and that the northern side of the site should remain free. With this opening, the exciting chain of Vörösmarty square - Kristóf square - Szervita square - Szomory Dezső square - Deák square may be complete.
The space envisaged by the regulatory plan will be realised via the construction of the Szervita Square Building. The square will be enriched by a large community space and green surfaces. An attractive inner passage, worthy of the traditions of downtown Budapest, will connect the square with Fehér Hajó street.
At the North-West corner of the site, the space becomes two-story. From Kristóf square a representative staircase leads to the -1-level atrium, which opens a facade of the leased premises. A historical wall will be placed here, as an homage to the history of the square, evoking the cross-section of archaeological excavations, thus representing the historical layering of the city.
Szervita Square Building
Horizon Development is developing a unique, 21st century mixed-used building at Szervita square with underground parking, retail, office and residential functions.
The architectural plans for the new building and the space in front were driven by two basic goals:
- creating a well-lit, humanized building with smooth, wavy contours on this regular-shaped site, allowing light to its environment,
- creating an intense relationship between the square and the building by arching the lower levels of the building towards the square and leading its interior out to the public space.
In accordance with the above principles, the contours of most levels deviate inward from the construction line. On the lower floors the square flows under the building. From the third floor up the façade steps back from the very narrow Fehér Hajó street, hence giving space to light. From the fourth floor, above the 5 Fehér Hajó street building's firewall connection the facade also retracts, thus avoiding the appearance of another firewall.
The result is a glass sculpture-like building with exciting curves.
The building's delicate, curved mass is bordered by a unique curtain wall of neutral colour, where form and unique details play a key role. On the other hand, the exterior sphere focuses attention to the rich architectural environment through reflections.