Sanctuary of Knowledge - Library and Learning Center in Hódmezővásárhely
The suggested site for the new Town Library and Knowledge Center is located in the historical city center of Hódmezővásárhely around Kossuth Square and its high-quality building complex of special importance. At the beginning of the Andrássy Street, there is a shift in scale between the traditional downtown proportions and the 4-5-level buildings of the second third of last century.
The aim of our design was to create a softer transition between the historical, two-level high public buildings towards the newer and higher mixed-used buildings. This transition was created by 3 intimately connected masses. The lower mass on the south corresponds to the level of the Old Church and the higher on the north to the level of Andrássy Street, in the volumetric composition as well as the spatial composition inside the building. Towards the park, the third volume creates a new boundary of the square following the street line, creating a counterpoint to the massive bulk of the "OTP house", but preserving the reformed Old Church’s autonomy.
A new square, an event space has been formed between the library and the church, giving the historical building bigger emphasis, simultaneously creating a continuous public space from the park of Kossuth Square towards the adjacent neighbourhood, resulting in a more appealing network of urban spaces. Though the demolition of the residential block on the site was of major concern, the emerging new urban green axis linking the residential area, the planned event place and the park, facilitating more efficient pedestrian traffic validated this decision.
The main hall, which is ideal for hosting events and exhibitions – connects the city center with the new event space generating a pedestrian traffic and active public use of the space. This way, cultural events are more visible to many people and the building can function as a "knowledge cathedral" where all the ages can find a place to study, read and relax. The central atrium lobby opens up library functions, the eastern side hosts the back-office features - in contrast to the typical facade of the library with its reading windows. The visual and functional center of the main mass is extending from the wardrobe level to the second floor, an upwardly expanding luminaire with transparent vertical travel inside the building and a sense of comfort (chimneys - ventilation). On the rooftop, a windshielded reading deck is an outdoor extension of the main reading space.
Through the creation of a traditional yet contemporary building mass, our aim was to develop an iconic, recognizable, yet unmistakable character. The captivating brick-building buildings of Hódmezővásárhely (Reformed Grammar School, Erzsébet Hospital, Casino) also inspired our formative language and material usage.
Erzsébet Szeréna Zoltán, Balázs Kósa