Just like a pie - the new block of SOTE
The project location and the nature and scale of the task gives an opportunity to inspect a wider area around the building complex (the existing blocks at Vas and Szentkirályi streets), to detect anomalies with deeper roots and to prepare a more conscious solution.
The new block will become a new bright spot of the establishment and through its appearance, interior and exterior spaces will also define the identity of the expanded institute.
The fact, that the new block will be built in two separate stages, strictly outlines the design task and puts it under new light. According to our opinion both stages have to give a full architectural answer to problem. It is not acceptable if the solution only becomes full and complex after finishing stage 2.
An important realization is that the project location in the heart of Budapest is a vacant lot, a missing part of a very dense housing area. This realization guides us to prepare an extremely homogeneous, simple, clear structure of space that reflects and contains the qualities of the institution inside.
The entrance remains on Szentkirályi street, the position of arrival remains untouched. According to our concept the pie-like skeleton of the 1st stage only rises above the street level with one story, which closes the development contour. The new, light, mounted façade covers the old building wing as well, thus creating a new and unified appearance. The full closure of the development is fulfilled in the second stage.
The new, first part of the expansion fills in the empty gap between the existing buildings as a prosthesis. The ground level of the pie goes up to the floor height of the connecting wing. A new branch in the form of stairs connects the raised yard to the existing organized interior yard. These two yards are not only separated by height but they can also be thought of as thematic gardens. The existing yard is fully green and garden-like, while the new designed one's paved surface is patched by roof lights. Both yards are strongly connected with the interior spaces and serve the students attending here.
The heart of the pie can be reached through the existing entrance and reception through which descends the gradually widening space of the new hall, lobby, the new central space of social life. It is also the centre of the circulation of traffic from where anything becomes reachable.
All the used materials (such as stone, perforated steel and glass) appear in the first stage already. These materials are the dominant in the second stage as well. The U-shaped development is a new, prestigious element of both the street and the inner yard. It turns its huge stone plates to the street while embraces the inner yard with its lamella-shaded curtain walls. The extrovert material use of the first stage becomes the richness of the second and vice versa.
The U-shaped block actually consists of thee units. The street wing connects to the block at Szentkirályi street and the back wing to the one at Vas street. The ramp and communication system connecting the two new blocks at different height is the third element.
The tiny architectural gestures of the new development (such as the different opening heights on the street, the waggle of the perforation of the topmost slab, or the playfulness of the "horizontal" divisions of the curtain wall) are all the results of the initial state of existing buildings and possibilities. These architectural tools make the house become an organic part of the institute and renders it strongly attached to the existing building blocks.