architecture : urban : visual culture

Intermodal Public Transportation Center, Debrecen, Hungary

We present the joint competition entry of ZOBOKI-DEMETER & Associates Architects Ltd. and MÉRTÉK Architectural Studio Ltd. The two teams made up a graceful arched space system which embraces an open, wide square.


Intermodality is more than the provision of “seamless” travelling or the opportunity for an easy transfer. This idea extends beyond the narrow understanding of mobility and — apart from offering rational connectivity — organizes transport into the daily ritual of the traveler in an integrated manner. Intermodality creates the symbiosis of the spaces of movement within the context of quality urban spaces.

We envisage a classical urban public area, a piazza to replace the dominance of transport. The space, surrounded by arcades on all sides, will follow the design of ancient “forums”.
In so doing, the valuable, humanized public zones of Piac Street and Petőfi Square will become a public venue, used for the symbol of arrival at the city as well as the integration into the dynamic urban context.

Square — arcade — intermodality — services, commerce

The intertwining of urban activities with transportation functions, as required by the needs of users, will appear as a colorful palette. The environment will be similar to a well-operated airport, where the travelling experience is transformed into the feeling of daily life. The majority of functions and activities will be organized horizontally, at ground level, ensuring transparency and accessibility by its presence.

The arcade will establish intermodality in an economical and sustainable way, protected from weather. The esplanade of gastronomy, commerce and services will offer a lively frame for the event space of markets, fairs and sport events.

Services entities and commercial functions are at the same time relevant within intermodality as well. Access for transferring passengers to access basic supplies (food, household articles, some clothes, bank, post office and craftsmen) must be ensured.

The area envisaged in the program for retail zones and services is excessive for public investment, however it is extremely small in comparison to the complexity of intermodality.
In considering this dilemma, we recommend to consider this block of functions as a private development, independently of the EU investments — either staged in several phases or in a later phase (I/A). The development will be vitalized by its location, integrated within intermodality, and situated along the main square. The various halls of the conference and event venue, with their capacity of 100 to 300 persons, contribute to the functional, business and cultural palette of Kölcsey Center.


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