The architect's house: Promenade Gardens
New office buildings popping up along the Váci road have significantly transformed the local cityscape in recent decades. Alongside the formerly industrial road, fewer and fewer buildings are reminiscent of old times. The site on the corner of Révész Street near Dózsa György Street was empty for a long time, and it served as a car park on the site of the of the previously demolished car showroom.
The history of the building dates back to 2007, when Horizon Development started developing the site and the first sketch plans for the building were completed. The concept designs were created by Finta Architect Studio under the direction of Antal Fekete, chief designer. To North and South of the site, there are residential buildings of airy installation and outdated technical standard, surrounded by friendly parks and trees. Thanks to this, the building has above the average green surroundings compared to the neighbouring offices.
The designers also focused on establishing a close connection with the surrounding green areas, which was in line with the realization that the 1.5-meter-wide walkway along Révész street was too narrow to accommodate increased pedestrian traffic.
Starting from this, adjusting to the arrangement of the surrounding buildings, a comb-like building complex was designed to accommodate and continue the green spaces created by the North and South airy installation. Moreover, a 5.5-meter-wide walkway was created along Révész street. On the North side, an interior garden was created, complementing the inner green block.
In the words of Antal Fekete: "We had the intention to avoid the appearance of some average curtain walls in the immediate area. We definitely wanted to speak a new voice. The building was designed based on the three principles of Momentum, rhythm, streamline. The momentum is the exterior framing of four building wings parallel to Váci road, which runs upright on the north side. Running up to 25 m high, it turns horizontal, encloses the approx. 70 m long wing and then slightly rises towards Révész Street, continuing at the end of the building for about 6 meters, then turning vertical once again to reach the ground, marking the southern wall of the pedestrian promenade.
The rhythm is the steady pulsation of the four wings of Révész Street, as well as the narrower or wider wall pillars that form the boundary walls of the green courtyards and the promenade. The steramline - the horizontal partitioning of the Váci road curtain wall, that is, the surfaces of the parapet strips which are sometimes metallic, sometimes horizontal with different glasses (enamel or frosted glass), and the narrow ledge elements illuminated with different colors at night. Like photos taken with long exposure time of a busy, metropolitan street."
After the concept design phase and obtaining the first building permit, the process stalled for a while, reviving only in 2016. In the meantime, a kindergarten was built in the northern neighborhood of the site, which further strengthened the dedication to develop the area with utilizing green spaces.
In 2016, DVM group took on the job to complete the building design and build the project that was still on the design table. Many years have passed since the project started. In the meantime, building regulations and technical requirements have also changed. The building needed new technical solutions and a modified building permit. During this planning phase, the facade layout of the building, reflecting the leaf motifs of the surrounding trees, was developed, in consultation with the original designers, and the interior designs of the interior lobby and passage were completed. Execution plans were developed in a BIM system, providing greater transparency of complex building engineering systems and accelerating collaboration with contractors. The construction plans were made in parallel with the construction works, thanks to the fact that the design and construction teams belong to one complex, integrated service provider. Finally, in the spring of 2018, the building, with a total floor space of 42,000 sq m, was handed over. Now Promenade Gardens provides top quality, modern and environmentally friendly work environment on 22,000 sq m office space, accommodating approximately 3,000 employees.
Each of the workplaces overlook an inner courtyard or adjacent park area. On the ground floor there is a spacious lobby and passage surrounded by biodiverse green walls and rich vegetation.
In addition to the orientation towards green surfaces, all areas of the design were sustainability-driven. Rainwater is harvested, recycled and used for garden watering and sanitary flushing. The building is heated by energy-saving VRVs and air-to-air heat pumps. There are more than 100 bicycle parking places for staff in the building with separate changing rooms, and 12 parking spaces for electric cars. Among other things, that is why the building was awarded both LEED Gold and BREEAM Very Good environmental certification.
The long and varied design process played a special role in the life of the DVM group's design office. Due to the size and intensity of the task, the team has doubled in size, a new workflow system has been developed, and the effective use of BIM has matured, making the team capable of the most complex design tasks. During the construction, designers, together with their construction colleagues, followed the building from the groundwork to the final fit-out; such a process creates a special relationship between the designer and the building. This climaxed in 2019, when the entire design team moved into the ground floor office space of the building. It is hard to imagine a closer relationship between an architect and his building.