architecture : urban : visual culture

Risky Descent - Base for Divers in Rudabánya

Nándor Bence Krajnyák chose one of the deepest lakes in Hungary as the location for his diploma-work. The envisioned base for divers takes its surroundings very seriously. While the environment was once penetrated by mining activities, now it is slowly being recaptured by nature, and this process should not be halted by the new building - according to the designer.

The location of the Diver School is Rudabánya, a small city in the northern part of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County. The city is famous for its one-time ironstone mining activities, which finally ended in 1985.

The quarry pond lies in the artificial basin of the late mine said to be one of the deepest lakes of Hungary. The water temperature is quite cold, therefore the majority of the lake is not suitable for swimming or bathing. By contrast, its topography suits well for practicing rescue divers as well for learning other deep diving activities thanks to the depths and dangers of the lake. The base for divers was planned on the southwestern part of the lake. This area is more shallow and even warmer in the summertime, therefore the base not only serves rescue divers but any open water divers or completely amateur divers too.

Base for Divers - architect: Nándor Bence Krajnyák

The artificial intervention significantly transformed the character of the once untouched landscape. However, since 1985, the altered terrain has gradually been recaptured by nature. The basin has filled up with water turning into a quarry pond. The massive scarps have been gradually drifting, drowning and the vegetation is recovering increasingly.

The purpose of the planned building is to influence this reversal effect as little as possible. For this reason, the scale of the intervention made an outstandingly important part of the conception, because of the relatively large size of the function. Looking for suitable "processes" for designing has led to LANDSCRAPING*. As a result, we do not talk about designing a building but designing environment.

Base for Divers - architect: Nándor Bence Krajnyák

An important question was the location and its appearance (form). The chosen site was the scarp near the water because it provided a great opportunity to use landscraping properly and the connection between the water and base at the same time. The form of the building follows the terrain that surrounds it. The result is a mass that conforms itself to the landscape and fits the system of the recaptured nature.

Following the line of the scarp, the result was an elongated form. This was organized by three different aspects. First, a tempered part was created on the inner side of the building hidden by covered outer spaces with different functions. Secondly, the main approach had to be given. Given the form, the main entrance was placed in the central part of the building. Lastly, the rooms and spaces of the base can be grouped into four different systems: rooms that do and ones that do not require light, parking function (which has to be hidden) and the most important part of the diver base, the "road to diving". The correspondence with the environment is also enhanced by the materials used in design, meaning that most of the exposed and visible surfaces and the structures too were made of (reinforced) concrete.

Base for Divers - architect: Nándor Bence Krajnyák

In consideration with the location, it was paramount to take increased care for designing questions concerning protection. Ones that were solved by applying massive, reinforced concrete pusher-gates and windows with quite narrow width. In this way, the base can be absolutely closed if it is not in service.

The result was a form that follows the line of the scarp through the connecting edge of the plain and slope parts. The spaces and rooms of the building are well-usable, they are connected to the water, yet the base feels reserved. By its roof, the arriving touring people can discover inexperienced lanes. The purpose of the project was to design a fitting, more adaptable intervention. By which the location can gain a new interpretation which ultimately can lead to the prosperity of local tourism and the proper use of the site.

Nándor Bence Krajnyák


* source: Aaron Betsky: Landscrapers



login to comment »