architecture : urban : visual culture

Searching my way - Building camp at Perbál 2017

“You might be wondering why does someone decide to spend two weeks of their summer vacation or internship to work somewhere for free? Probably everybody has different answers to this question. For me, it is very simple. Three words: searching my way.” An article by Enikő Ficsor about the 2017 building camp at Perbál.


The story of the camps has started in 2009 with a fallen corn crib. At this time, a systematic work has begun with the maintenance and renovation of the buildings, and reconstruction of the corn crib. This process ended in 2014. After one year break, camps has started again last summer, but now it focuses on other types of projects. The aim is to bring closer the everyday life of the home to the village. The first step was the construction of a pavement that gives the chance for the residents to be able to get into the village in rainy weather as well.

This year’s choice of tasks was influenced by the intention of “opening to the outside”. A new series of camps has started with the renovation and interconnection to the home’s everyday life of a long empty house owned by Tovább Élni Egyesület.


Personal motivation

Not only the task was new, but it was the first time for most of the participants at this camp. We sat to the work with an international team, four people from Vietnam, from the University of Hanoi joined to the group of students of BME. Beside the participants, members of Képkocka Média Kör were there during the two weeks to capture every important moment.

You might be wondering why does someone decide to spend two weeks of their summer vacation or internship to work somewhere for free? Probably everybody has different answers to this question. For me, it is very simple. Three words: searching my way. During the first years of the university we meet so many opportunities of which we can choose, that it is really hard to decide which parts of architecture we like and we would like to deal with in the future. I spent this summer searching my way from different points of views, outside the walls of the university. For this exploration it seemed to be a great opportunity to participate in this camp, where we couldn’t only think about planning and constructing building, but we also had to think about social issues.




Taking into consideration the needs of the residents, our intention for the future is that the building should become an integral part of the everyday life of the children’s home. First, we need to finish the maintenance, furthermore a bathroom is essential for daily use.

This year, our main goal was to prevent the walls from further deterioration. The first plans for the renovation were based on the assumption, that the building is standing on a stone foundation, and the walls are made out of adobe bricks. During the years, the original plaster was removed and was changed to cement based plaster. As the house doesn’t have a waterproofing layer, and it has concrete floor, the moisture coming from the ground can only leave through the walls. However, the cement based plaster prevents the moisture from evaporating, and the water that stuck inside ruins the walls.

During next years, we plan to strengthen the impaired walls, renovation of the roof and build the bathroom.
Besides the necessary interventions, we also have to strike out how and for what could the home use this building. Therefore, we must get to know the place, the needs and daily activities of the residences. Several possible uses came up, which we started to examine during the camp. This search for the best utilization hasn’t ended with the camp, we continue it at the university within a facultative course during two semesters, in the hope that this summer we can start the work with specific plans.




After removing the cement based plaster, it turned out that against our first assumptions, the building isn’t totally made of adobe bricks. It was built in several phases, made of stone, two types of adobe and bricks. We were aware of the fact that this is going to be a long process, and in the future we might need the experiences about the structure of the house, as well as we would like observe the behaviour of heath and humidity of the building. Thus, it might will be important how different materials react to the changes, so we had to document the current state. For this, we measured the building, we made a floorplan, view plans and photo documentation of the walls. Meanwhile we learned how to use a laser levelling tool, and acquired the basis of how to measure a building.


To make the appropriate plaster for the walls, we got some help for the group of Sárkollektíva. They made two workshops about how to use adobe as a construction material, where we could get to know the physical properties and behaviours of the material, and its advantages in building physics. We tried different proportions of clay, sand, straw and water, how we get the best material to make the plaster.


Making the mixture for the plaster was at least as tiring as putting it on the walls. We made the adobe in boxes, according to the proportion we experimented in the previous days. First, we had to smash the bigger pieces of clay by hand, then mix it with sand. When the mixture was steady, we added water by degrees, and finally we put the straw into the mixture. We mixed it by hand or using hoes, depended on personal preferences.
Putting the plaster on the walls was the most entertaining part of the work. We were throwing handful pieces of mud onto the wall, we tried to apportion it on the whole wall. After that we made it even, to get smooth surfaces. By the end of the second week, we finished with the plaster of the structural wall at the back of the building, and the whole first room. We left out the dividing walls because of the possible modification in the future.



The purpose of the camp wasn’t only get the work done, but team-building as well, which turned out really well. We could find the common voice with each other and also with the residents and workers of the home. As our accommodation was in the children’s home, during the two weeks we had the opportunity to experience up close that the disabled people who at first sight might seem to be frightening, in fact, how open persons, and how kindly they welcomed us. The peaceful nature and the company of these nice people had a good effect on everybody, in spite of the hard work, we went home relaxed after the two weeks we spent there.

More information can be found at the link. 

Enikő Ficsor





Building camp2017_Perbál – Community workshop

Magyarországi Evangélikus Egyház – Andorka Eszter Program 2017, Épülettervezés Oktatásért Alapítvány, BME Department of Public Building Design, BME Department of Geodesy and Surveying, Théta Hungária Kft., Sárkollektíva, Képkocka

Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Department of Public Building Design – Balázs Kemes
Hanoi Architectural University, Department of Residential Building Design - Giap Thi Minh Trang
Sárkollektíva – Boldizsár Medvey
Study trip – Rita Karácsony, Tamás Karácsony

Tovább Élni Egyesület
Judit Bartholy, Gizella Szász, Attila Apor, Lívia Tóth,
Tibor Markó, Bernadett Bánki-Miklós, Jenő Oláh, Andrea Ujhelyi

Péter Janesch (architecture), Tamás Karácsony (architecture), Balázs Kemes (architecture), Ádám Bihari (vernacular structures), Boldizsár Medvey (vernacular structures), János Gáspár (adobe building), Zsolt Kemes (building electricity), Bence Takács (geodesy)

Camp participants – BME Department of Public Building Design
Donát Álmosdi, Bence Cselényi, Adrienn Chromicsek, Enikő Ficsor, Richárd Filep, Eszter Gulyás, Ádám Incze, Balázs Kemes, Boldizsár Medvey, Zsófi Medvey, András Mohás, Liza Petró

Camp participants – Hanoi Architectural University
Ngo Ba Trung, Nguyen Huu Quan, Nguyen Thi Le Trang, Phung Cao Minh

Helpers at Perbál
Júlia Bene, László Bernáth, Miklós Csuri, Adolf Hoblai, Andrásné Holl, Attila Kővári, László Hurja, Rita Nagy, Gábor Rédner, Judit Szabó, Tímea Szalai, György Takács, Oszkár Kovács, Mária Deáki

Invited masters
János Gáspár (adobe wall builder), Zoltán Molnár (bricklayer), István Kis (building electrician), János Ruszin (building electrician)

Corporate identity and communication
Rita Karácsony

Photo-video - Képkocka
Kristóf Alföldi, Angéla Dénes, Albert Máté, Manda Máté, Ticiána Nagy, Péter Tomasovszky, Kata Váradi


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