architecture : urban : visual culture

The AGORA's reconstruction - House of Culture and Sports in Szombathely

István Károlyi and his team designed a waving suspended ceiling and an acoustic shell of diversely perforated wooden panels inside the audium. Most parts of the elevations preserve the original architectural vocabulary, but on the main facade they made a contemporary gesture to signal outwards that there are new functions inside.

In the sixties the city of Szombathely had neither a sports hall nor a theatre. The original building was erected as one of the first multipurpose establishments in Hungary in the year 1963. After five decades of intensive use the reconstruction became unavoidable.




The leadership of the city took part in a competition to raise EU end state funds for the purpose. They eventually succeeded.
The following factors were the main targets of the rebuilding:

  • to fulfil the competition programme
  • to improve the thermal envelope
  • to rebuild the interior of the large auditorium
  • to reshape the entrance hall as an agora-space
  • to adopt the inner traffic spaces for disabled people.

Two of these main targets meant real challenge to the architect: to fulfil the competition programme, and to rebuild the interior of the large auditorium.
Regarding the first, the programme demanded a lot of smaller premises, classrooms, workshops, offices, etc. They were completely missing inside the original volume. We were forced to make both inner conversions and outer enlargements. We had to do it so, that they improve the building’s appearance and strengthen his urban role.




Inside the large auditorium we designed a waving suspended ceiling and an acoustic shell of diversely perforated wooden panels. Building this three-dimensional surface turned out to be the most difficult task of the process of realization. New stage machineries were also planned to help the phantasy of stage-managers: sinking orchestra pit, pull-out side tribunes, and theatrical lighting bridges. Inside the large room a set of movable partition walls could form a boundary for a smaller auditorium.





Most parts of the elevations preserve the original architectural vocabulary, but on the main facade we made a contemporary gesture to signal outwards that there are new functions inside.

 

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