architecture : urban : visual culture

Mansion as Cultural Centre

Sándor Guba and Péter Hámori's project is a new extension of the national cultural heritage building in the central Hungarian village, Bugyi. The old Baroque mansion was built in the 18th century, and now serves as a cultural centre. As a result of the extension, the community will be provided with a multifunctional (indoor-outdoor) theatre space, new rehearsal rooms, a community space, and a room for school workshops.

The village centre shows symptoms of current urban-rural phenomenons: the depopulation of urban centres. Since most of the buildings are public buildings (mayor’s office, schools, churches, sport centre, medical centres), noone can be found around the area after 4 pm or at the weekends. The latest renovation projects in the village rather have only aesthetic values than promoting active involvement with our built environment (flower-gardens, Baroque-style gardens). There are no shades, no inviting places to sit, places to gather with our friends, no picnic places whatsoever; nothing that would pull people out of their family houses. To turn things around, there’s one last chance in the heart of the village: the backyard of the Baroque mansion, that is currently unbuilt. An important goal is to keep the human scale of the building (the latest built projects are rather out of scale in such a small village), and to respect the national cultural heritage.

This projects works with 2 analogies: (1) the space organization of the rural residential sites and (2) the values of the landscape around Bugyi village: the flora of the marshland.


(1) In the rural residential sites, the family house is the main building, it is the most decorated and stands on a strategically important spot. The rest of the buildings (buildings for animals and other services) are built separately, keeping the small, human scale of the whole site (and thus the scale of the village).
Our project follows this organization: the main building is the Baroque mansion, and the new parts of the extension appear as pavilions in the garden. These pavilions are connected with a roof that is able to reate transition spaces („tornác” in Hungarian traditional architecture) that has a significant role in organizing the everyday life and also in the energy-household.

(2) The marshland is a unique environament, surrounding the village: its flora contains all the endemic species from this region. Several times a year the groundwater floods this area, and enriches the biological system. The elements of this diverse ecosystem we find to be a good tool to enhance the idea of the urban concept of the whole project: to create diverse, colourful places in the village centre, that would be found by the local people.


Places to sit down, places to enjoy a picnic or barbeque, to play outdoor games at the weekend, gather with your friends, or just enjoy the unique atmoshpere what the marshland can offer with the sounds of bugs under the sun. The existing cultural centre will also play an important role: organize a diverse menu of cultural and leisure programs, to show the local people that they can leave their closed backyards and the village can be their second living room.

Guba Sándor, Hámori Péter


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