architecture : urban : visual culture

New panorama in Galyatető

Csaba Kovács and his young colleague, Áron Vass-Eysen planned the renovation of the lookout tower, which is currently the highest standing observation tower in the country. The project is another gem matching into the series of NartArchitects XXS architecture, located at the top of the Kéktúra hiking trail. 

During the evolution of the Hungarian hiking culture of the 19-20th century there has been a significant change in the number and in the needs of tourists, leading to the need of substantial interventions due to the evolving infrastructure at the tourist destinations. Both the Nagyszálló (Grand Hotel) of Galyatető and the belonging lookout tower are peak performances of this prosperity. Since the construction of the tower in 1939, it turned into an extremely dilapidated, catastrophic structural condition. The architects established a tourist center that was rethought in an innovative way.

Lookout in Galyatető - architecture: Nartarchitects - photo: Ladocsi András

The tower does not archaize, neither the historical and contemporary precedents in the architecture of lookout towers nor the architecture of the previously built elements did evoke nostalgia in the architects. It was built from materials that could ensure durability in the mountain weather conditions. The trees surrounding the clearing overgrew the lookout level of the original building, therefore, as the main element of the extension, this level was elevated in the form of a reinforced concrete addition.

Lookout in Galyatető - architecture: Nartarchitects - photo: Ladocsi András

The reinforced concrete structure continues inside the lower part made from stone, and it is connected to a massive new concrete foundation which stabilizes the building of changed scale. The corner columns of the steel structure, supporting a square layout, outline the new contour of the lookout tower. After the significant structural reconstruction, the retained outer wall also plays a new role. The double mass of the inner core and the encircling steel stair-system is closed with a fine, rare woven stainless steel mesh on the external plane of the stairs.


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