architecture : urban : visual culture

Rehabilitation of Rumbach Sebestyén Street Synagogue

The plans are aimed both at the reconstruction of the former synagogue and also creating a modern museum in the formerly rebuilt additional area, which has been rebuilt several times. The rehabilitation was led by Tamás Kőnig and Péter Wagner

Longer survival in the lives of individual houses does not only result in the 'under construction', 'built in' and 'downsizing' periods. But with the current age, with the expectations and capabilities of the current user, changing needs, sometimes quite different roles and functions appear. The house - while originally built for permanence - is constantly changing and is forced to change. Such is the life of a Jewish sacred building. Being that, it is natural for a synagogue to change with the user, the people and the possibilities of the materials. He is living a transformed life with his new function that may have changed over time and, more importantly, he lives longer. So maybe you can live longer too.

The relatively short and narrow enclosure of Rumbach Sebestyén Street shows a very short façade of almost one hundred and fifty years old. Behind it is a beautiful, huge, mid-dome, now reviving synagogue, designed by renowned Viennese architect Otto Wagner. The house itself - as art historian Rudolf Klein mentions: "it was a link of historical importance between the East and the Art Nouveau style" and we hope it will remain as thus.


Rehabilitation of Rumbach Sebestyén Street Synagogue - architect: Tamás Kőnig, Péter Wagner - photo: Balázs Danyi

 

The Origin, Creation, and Transformation of the Rumbach Street Synagogue until the Eighties

The Rumbach Street Synagogue and its associated community building were built by conservative Jews of Pest. The story goes back to the first quarter of the 19th century, when Jewish Enlightenment was affecting Hungary. The first representative building: the Dohany Street Church was built in 1859 for the followers of modern customs. The Rumbach Street Synagogue is the conservative answer, the counterpart of the Dohany Street Church. The Dohany Street Church with its street fronted open courtyard, the Rumbach conceals the synagogue behind the facade of the community building; and that the Rumbach is a central building opposite of the placing to he east the Torah Cabinet and the Bima, the Torah Reading Stand, and thus the longitudinal layout of the Dohány Street Synagogue.

The house was designed by Otto Wagner, a Viennese architect, then very young. Historically, the headquarters of the block of flats facing the street used to be educational premises, rabbi dwellings. Through this part of the building, you can reach the beautiful galleried centrally designed synagogue itself, which is covered with a huge dome. The building was damaged during World War II and remained empty for decades. The house became the property of the then Fejér County Construction Company in the eighties. They wanted to build a conference center out of the synagogue, construction was started, but constructionin an overnight stopped because the company collapsed. In the early 2000s, the facility was once again owned by the Jewish community.


Rehabilitation of Rumbach Sebestyén Street Synagogue - architect: Tamás Kőnig, Péter Wagner - photo: Balázs Danyi


Building Rehabilitation 2006-2019

The plans are aimed both at the reconstruction of the former synagogue (with the active participation of art historian Ferenc Dávid), and also creating in the formerly rebuilt additional area, which has been rebuilt several times, a modern museum. The synagogue space is very beautiful, so the internal connections were made by keeping the existing passageways in such a way that the museum visitor could also go around the area of the female gallery, thus seeing the whole space. With this, the grand main space itself can become a part of the exhibition, an object of exhibition.

In the synagogue space itself, the original elements, ornaments and materials (Torah cabinet, Torah reading stand, terazzo floor and painted gypsum wall and painted wooden ceilings) are reconstructed wherever possible with the appropriate materials, original colors, and the remaining pieces. not only for religious purposes but also for cultural purposes. For multi-purpose use, the center-mounted Torah reading stand was reconstructed, using some of its remaining elements, in its original form to maximize the acoustics of the space, highly defined by the centrality of the space. The mobile seating as well as the folding screen system that can be fitted to the actual exhibition also facilitate flexible use.


Rehabilitation of Rumbach Sebestyén Street Synagogue - architect: Tamás Kőnig, Péter Wagner - photo: Balázs Danyi


The exhibition areas of the museum are formed with the maximum level of flexibility of the street structure of the main building, and the smaller areas, which in some cases open to the courtyard and partly to the windowless inner lane, are served. The public areas of the museum are complemented by a small café and a computer research gallery. Only one of the facades of the relatively large facility has a public connection to Rumbach Sebestyén Street, and the entrances required for the complex function (main and museum entrance, service and courtyard entrance) could be solved in the existing or remaining opening order of the facade. The narrow courtyard next to the synagogue is paved with paved lanes accessible from both the street and the synagogue, accompanied by biblical plants rhythmically planted in the narrow garden, as used in the New Synagogue in Szeged, and partly on the walls. the left we see the news of the English football team being beaten and shown in a photo how Puskás Öcsi shoots the winning goal. Almost in contrast, another firewall shows the Rubik's Cube, invented in 1974. The axis formed by the two towers of the facade of our synagogue, above the rooftops, shows the peak of the dome of St. Stephen's Basilica, built between 1846 and 1905This small courtyard can be accessed from the inside and directly from the street, so it is suitable for holding certain events that are definitely open-air (such as weddings).

Rehabilitation of Rumbach Sebestyén Street Synagogue - architect: Tamás Kőnig, Péter Wagner - photo: Balázs Danyi

 

Life, Budapest, Buildings

If we stop at the corner of Dob Street near the "contemporary" power converter and look at the narrow Rumbach Sebestyén Street leading to the Dohany Street Synagogue at the beginning, we will see the enlarged, relevant page of the 1953 sports paper, the wall behind the firewall behind one of the left we see the news of the English football team being beaten and shown in a photo how Puskás Öcsi shoots the winning goal. Almost in contrast, another firewall shows the Rubik's Cube, invented in 1974. The axis formed by the two towers of the facade of our synagogue, above the rooftops, shows the peak of the dome of St. Stephen's Basilica, built between 1846 and 1905.

 

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