Mineral Research Centre at Mulató Mountain
Issues such as the emptiness and deficiency regarding a very special site, the abandoned mine of the Mulató Mountain (Erdőbénye, Hungary) stand at the centre of the present experimental project of Mineral Research Centre. Concept of the building was influenced partly by natural history of that place and the mine, for instance the disappearance of the upper layers moreover, the artificial intervention the mountain went through during the last century. Furthermore, my own personal impressions about 8 million year old Miocene fossil leaves and above all geodes found there had a crucial impact on the project ideas as well. It is necessary to emphasize the experimental aspect of the project because it tested my limits in the field of architectural planning. Looking at the tangible Miocene fossils keeps inducing me to consider myself and every other living being atomic and transient. This idea perpetually touches me and makes me find temporal every description and design related to the plan.
The height of the Mineral Research Centre is approximately equal with the height of the rhyolite layer documented once during the 20th century, while the areal extent of the building is limited by the contour of the mountain. The architecture falls as sheet onto the former mining buildings in order to blur the dividing line between the natural and artificial, the mountain and the construction. This kind of dichotomy that is one of the main characteristics of the Centre in which the visitors encounter the ambivalent relation of human and nature through further contrasts such as the opposition of light and shade, airy and massive, organic and unnatural. The functions of the building respond to the said duality as the huge open spaces accessible for visitors (auditorium, exhibition hall) represent the natural side, the enclosed spaces refer to artificial side of the construction. Furthermore, the artificial stone coating, which defines the façade structures and includes chambers with aim of exhibiting minerals, supports the mentioned approach and reflects to the emptiness of the inside of the mountain. During the project I didn’t aim to create a building. The result is the present creation which is partly sculpture, perhaps a monument. It is a monument but only for us the people, while the time of the building’s existence is only a passing moment for the mountain.
The surface in the ground floor of two-storey building is the mountain’s top layer. The second floor is a corridor suspended to the steel frame and serves as a place for exhibition. The special site and the solidness of the piroxenandesite meant a huge challenge regarding the execution. The controlled blasting method was chosen which would be the very last suffering of the mountain. Thus, the last blast and the last destruction would be the construction that would preserve the mountain from any further demolition.