architecture : urban : visual culture

Preserved small-town heritage

In small towns of Hungary even some parts of historical city centers were torn down in the Socialist-era to construct factory-made panel buildings. More recently, the housing market is doing the same damage for utilitarian condominiums. The urban design committees assist to it with giving permission for multi-storey buildings. With the intermittent reconstruction, the image of the historical streets reminds us of the gappy smile of a homeless person: one is old and decayed, the other is a modern three-storey porcelain one...


The same is pattern is applied in Nyíregyháza with the exception of only a few streets in or near the city center which could preserve their individual atmosphere. One of them is Szarvas Street, which was typically the dwelling place of the evangelical Tirpaks (settlers of Slovak origin), who were invited from Békés County to repopulate the town for the second time.

Kindergarten in Nyíregyháza, Architects: Pláne and Plánum, 2018., Photo: Kulcsár Attila

Since 1753, the houses of the peasants who cultivated Mihály Károlyi's lands and who also lived in bunches of farmsteads in the outskirts of the city had been lined up here. Being diligent farmers, they managed to redeem themselves by 1824 from the burden of landlord services. Here were built their prestigious city residences. Their winter homes were lined up near their church, and they visited their families by trotting to the markets from the farm. After the return of the Hungarians, the street frontages became connected tightly. The row of these historic folk-eclectic houses has also been broken by an office building, but the others have managed to keep their old image even after having changed their functions.

Kindergarten in Nyíregyháza, Architects: Pláne and Plánum, 2018., Photo: Kulcsár Attila

Despite the need to rebuild only one site at a time, we strive to preserve the morphology of the street with this building to meet a new demand, a kindergarten for 100 children, in this “eclectically” heterogeneous dense city center. The main concept of the design was definitely to keep the masses of the street frontage, and to rebuild the outbuildings stretching towards the back of the site. On the other side of the two-street sites, only building-silhouette border walls were erected. The first stage allowed the normative placement of fifty preschool children, and in two years, we managed to get the neighboring house to accommodate an additional 50 children.

Kindergarten in Nyíregyháza, Architects: Pláne and Plánum, 2018., Photo: Kulcsár Attila


In the street wing with the dry-entrance gate on the ground plan the kitchen and the gym are located, and the kindergarten classrooms are to be found on two stories between the existing walls in the outbuildings of the stretching-up tract. The staff and service rooms can be found in the attic. The property acquired later on the two sides of the other dry-entrance gate (a typical 19th-century entrance gate and driveway with the roof built over it) was twin-built. This naturally offered the opportunity to place the classrooms here, it provided the lacking operational space in the attic and the internal access connections. The entrance remained a corridor as a stairway. In the old loft space, there was enough space to create a multi-purpose grand hall/chapel in accordance with the spirit of the institution.

Kindergarten in Nyíregyháza, Architects: Pláne and Plánum, 2018., Photo: Kulcsár Attila

The common gym can be accessed through the rooftop gateway and the kitchen-dining area through an indoor passage on the ground floor for the coordinated operation of the two parts of the building. The connected courtyards are mainly used separately by the different age groups, but a bicycle slalom ride, a football pitch, climbing frames, sandboxes and an educational garden have also been created there. The use of natural materials and coziness were the main concepts of the environmental design. The preserved street frontage remained for the “memorial book” of the generations living here.


Attila Kulcsar DLA



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