Piarist Dormitory in Kecskemét
In Kecskemét, at the Piarist Square, one can find several institutions the function of which are closely linked to each other. A baroque church with a monastery, a dormitory on the opposite side, a canteen, several garages and sport fields behind the main building. On the opposite side, in the Jókai street, is located the building of the high school with a library, IT halls, gym and a medical room.
The Piarists have arrived in Kecskemét in 1715. The construction of the first wing of the monastery was finished by 1724, and thereafter the whole complex of buildings was constructed in several stages.
By the time building of the south-eastern wing - which at that time was functioning as a school – was started, the cloister and the church was ready already 70 years ago. The different stages are still discernible from their special styles and forms. First, a several-storey building was constructed at the northern side with three halls at each floor, wide corridors and gates to the street, at that time they typically used vaulting divided by sail vaults and arches. But the increasing number of students necessitated continuous enlargements of the building complex, therefore three further halls were built at the front side of the Jókai street. The direction of the expansion created a new situation, i.e. by obtaining the neighboring plots it became possible to create a symmetric front viewing to the street. In these newly applied construction structures the technological development is discernible, here one can see trough vaults. The further enlargement of the wing took place in 1893-94 when the last, eastern wing of the dormitory was built with its walls spreading in the opposite direction of the main building. Here vaulting structures were only applied in the corridors, the wide distances between the two walls were covered by Prussian vaults.
The construction works of the building were aimed the internal renovation and modernization of the ground floor and all the storeys, as well as the complete reconstruction of the attic. The reconstruction works left the fundamental structures of the building unchanged. By uniting the fragmented halls and galleries in the ground floor we have created bigger, wider spaces that much better correspond to the function of these premises. In line with the requirements of current days we have equipped the dormitories on the other floors with bathrooms. The existing walls, doors, windows, staircases were preserved as much as possible and renovated. The changes in the structures were indicated by bush hammered concrete surface.
The existing building, which originally was meant exclusively for accommodating boys, is open for girls as well after the reconstruction. The dormitory rooms for the two groups are separated but is also possible to unite them temporarily. Girls and boys use the community rooms, learning halls and chapel together. The operation of the dormitory is closely tied to the life of the monastery, the institution utilizes all the facilities of the whole building completely.
The most significant changes were introduced in the attic. By destroying the internal structures built in the 80s we have created a new system. By making the existing wooden roof structure visible we have introduced two internal forms by applying the principle of “house in a house”, dormitories have been built in this part. The lighting of the internal spaces was designed in such a way that the big surface of roof windows creates a connected structure as an organic part of the roof which can only be seen from the courtyard side. The community space placed close to the street front of the building gets the lighting from atop from the side of the garden, which was supplemented with a huge surface of glazing hidden behind ceramic lamellas placed at the level of the roof. These ensure the view to the town from the internal spaces, provide pleasant environment in the community rooms, at the same time let the building leave its original impression on the elevation from the side of the square and creating a connected surface together with the church and the monastery.
The installment of proper windbreaks for the generally used courtyard doors was needed a long-time ago, the creation of which is not optimal because of the closeness of stairs in the corridors covered with vaults. The number of people using the sport field on the courtyard and the place of the entrances to the dormitory justify the placement of front entrances serving the needs of the students, which were designed with unique glazed windbreaks but placed separately from the building created with an independent architectural solution.