architecture : urban : visual culture

Hommage à Le Corbusier - ferry station in Szentendre

As an homage to Corbusier, this ferry station in Szentendre has a strong, imposing presence that can be seen even from the adjacent River Danube. Antal Puhl and Péter Dajka were inspired by the Villa Savoye.

Based on photos made of the former ferry station in Szentendre, one can see that this ferro-concrete Sleeping Beauty was sleeping for quite a long time and badly deteriorated meanwhile. Designed and built back in the 1970s, the building was in ruins beyond recognition: it was only the reinforced concrete shell, some rotting wooden panels and the letters of the old inscription that came down to us in the parkland along the riverbank of the Danube.

Almost five decades ago this house was designed probably following the architectural principles phrased by after designs by Le Corbusier. Radiating raw physical force, it features a monolithic ferro-concrete pillar structure, robust plinths necessitated by floods that support the upper floors, beams and struts that run onto the facade, a characteristic attic with gargoyles, and a faceted ceiling.

During the reconstruction taking place in 2016, the designers, Antal Puhl and Péter Dajka seem to have been inspired by principles, designs and images of Villa Savoye (Le Corbusier, Poissy, 1931). It was such a successful project that the new building also appears imposing, beautiful and elegant, when its main spectacle is viewed from the river. The nicely floating upper-floor facade features an integrating ribbon-like structural glass elevation as high as a whole level, the reconstruction only doubled the vertical articulation of the south-eastern facade overlooking the river. Behind, there is an office area with a huge horizontal plan. The upper-floordecks have interior facades in the corner of which one of the four panelled pillars appear. Behind the homogeneous exterior glazing stained glass panels conceal the solid interior wall sections.

The two ferro-concrete pillars disappear into the walls inside, the original faceted ferro-concrete ceiling is covered by a white suspended ceiling, and designers only exposed the old parts in one place, namely the facade of the spacious office area. The offices and conference rooms upstairs reflect a highly elegant and well-sized kitchen and dining, bathroom and toilet and wardrobe areas, which reflect social sensitivity. The large floor area of the square-shape offices, as well as the two decks facing River Danube are the main spectacles. The deck has glazed balustrades that do not hinder the view, quite to the contrary, they are nice additions nestling into the glaze band wrapping round the facade.



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