architecture : urban : visual culture

Ottlik Garden Design Contest

The design was made for the Ottlik Garden Competition, where Vörös Balázs won a Special Prize.




"... every small move and every detail is laced with a series of precedents, impacts in fact, consequences, things that have happened later belonging to them, retrospectively adding to and completing their meaning; and mutual aspects and relationships getting through and through everything...
Quoted from School at the Frontier - Géza Ottlik's main work

We think of the outline of the fragments of memories as an image made up of coherent parts. We associate its substance to this image which is why we can think about it, though its real nature lies in the fact that it doesn’t take shape, thus not exactly becoming tangible. We can feel its presence, but as soon as we call concepts to help it appear, we feel that we’re only touching the surface of a much deeper meaning due to the limitations of expressions.

Ottlik Garden Compoetition, The design won a Special Prize, Lead Architect: Vörös Balázs


"... some – whatever, familiar and known – order always forces itself upon disordered things; and perhaps taking away its essence: the real, unknown, order of the disordered things. " - Géza Ottlik: School at the Frontier

In what ways could this more real order be perceived in the language of architecture, the one which Géza Ottlik is aiming for throughout his whole writing? We searched for a solution in such symbolisms where the signs, created with the help of architectural tools – such as Ottlik’s words – only portray broken fragments of the images created by memories, yet they still do convey beyond content. Our design evokes Ottlik’s universe with the help of this duality, emphasizing the inherent values of the location.

The area is currently taken over by a high ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior). In addition to landscaping the neglected environment, our goal is to create a type of memorial where the tree will play an integral and even distinguished part.

Ottlik Garden Compoetition, The design won a Special Prize, Lead Architect: Vörös Balázs

The memorial is built around the tree with one more pronounced and two smaller broadenings which are not affected by the roads that are used to approach them. We landscaped the transitional areas between them with turf. The path doesn’t lead to a central point, it simply provides the opportunity to stray away from it. The three areas, covered in concrete and wide grouting, are bordered from the streets by a curved concrete bench and built hills covered with plants. These areas can be interpreted separately as three smaller scale spaces, but the curve created by the benches in the vicinity of the tree makes these parts of the memorial feel as one.

The three zones are formed in the shape of an ash leaf but this leaf form can be seen more prominently in the final finishes where we incorporated fragments from Ottlik’s main work, School at the Frontier. Our design is based on the coherent combination of the tree’s smallest, most visible part, the few thoughts that appear on the pattern of its leaves, and the real tree’s opaque verdure along with its cohesive canopy. The fragments of memories, formed by words, depict the content of the novel like the leaves that make up the whole shape of the tree. The latter we can only percieve from a distance as we enter the park. The details become clearer within its vicinity and under the tree.

Ottlik Garden Compoetition, The design won a Special Prize, Lead Architect: Vörös Balázs



The memorial appears on the axis connecting Kosztolányi Dezso Square to Levendulas Park as a small island – between Bartók Béla and Bocskai Road and the nearer Tranzit Garden and Art Café which also host events. Therefore, we organized to have the entrance on this side as well, making Bukarest Street along the south east side less busy. The routes created on the site were placed on existing paths, created by pedestrians, keeping in mind main transportation directions. We’d like to include some general information about Ottlik on the stele where visitors would be welcomed to the garden by the words “non est volentis…”


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