architecture : urban : visual culture

Inner connections of space - Reconstruction of a synagogue

Andrea Kurkó's thesis concern on the reconstruction and new function of the Paprices Synagogue in Sopron, which has been ruined for years. 


Paprét is a park zone surrounded by family and dwelling houses close to the city centre of Sopron, which is now discreditably used mainly by parking cars. The synagogue of Paprét was built in 1980, designed by the sopronian architect Schiller János. Unfortunately this important historical memory of the city has been abandoned since 1956, so lately the pshisycal condition of the building is getting worse and worse. The synagogue stands between two partition walls of different family houses which have 5 meters altitude difference. Its small backyard is surrounded by randomly situated gardens of other family houses.


After a short analysis of the whole city block of the synagogue, I understood that in order to maximize the revitalization of the synagogue’s life, it is not enough to renovate the old building but it is also important take in consideration the whole block of the building. First of all, I tried to find all the problematic parts and possible ways to make changes and new walking paths in the inside part of the block. Under Torna Street 20 there is an empty parcel which I used for my new institute. Between this, the synagogue’s garden and the parallel Pócsi Street I designed walking paths and other smaller functions. 

The new building could not have windows facing to the gardens of family houses, so it needed to have some inner gardens or terraces – to have natural light from outside. Considering the height of the family houses, in some parts my building could not be higher than a two-storey house. Because of its scale it needed to have more than one (actually three) entrances that divide the house into different parts with independently operating functions. The idea of putting here the function of the City Library of Sopron was born when I was looking for a relevant function that is needed in the city and what needs a complex functional layout like this. The absence of a proper library building is actually a problematic issue in our city.  

All this huge institute I designed is an open library that can be used for any kind of programmes. There are two controlled rooms for the books - one is situated in the main hall of the renovated synagogue and the children’s reading room is in a new part built right next to it with a private garden and a free view from the cafeteria. All the other parts of the institute are free to use, there is a tall building for lectures, a cafeteria, two open gardens and another closed part with offices for the workers of the library. Otherwise it is an open inner place for the citizens that can be used even just as a passage between the two streets. In the corridors I would put temporary exhibited pieces of art by the art institute of the city.

In my opinion this institute could attract more people to this nice park of Paprét and at the same time could solve the problem of the abandoned beautiful synagogue of Sopron, an important historical memory of the city.

Andrea Kurkó

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