architecture : urban : visual culture

The imprints of time - the look-out tower in Balaton

At the students' conference of Budapest University of Technology and Economics, László Bedő, Christopher Kovács and Péter Vági have introduced their plans in the section of "Architecture and cultural landscape". The young architects' vision was to have the new and the old buildings co-exist without either repressing the other, because the "past and present is equally important".

The press-house of Zirc Abbey and its basement was built in a classicist style at the side of Somlóvásárhely. Although the building itself does not have any architectural merits, it is unequivocally significant because of its location. It can be found on the southern side, which affords a sumptuous view of the side of Vásárhely, and at the same time of the whole Balaton Highland. If we thoughtfully scan this building extended in space, we can realize that it is basically located at the "skirt" of the mountain. Thereby, it can be an ideal location for creating a stop for tourists, who are starting their journey here or arriving back.

Although we cannot consider the building an ancient monument, its location revalues it. The scenic landscape encompasses the house. Its mass and the architecture of its appertures are more liberal than it is accustomed. The three walls which are located at the street level frame a trunk that opens out onto the street, offering a very fortunate gesture. In reaction to this situation, furthermore, considering the relation with the mountain, we wanted to create a tourist point inside the building.

But how should we handle multiple imprints like this? We know that the building used to have several "presents", as we can see from its structure. The place is very tight and every occupied square centimeter is extremely valuable. Allowing for the givens, it was unavoidable to create a contact with the building. Is it possible for the ruin to be the topic of the exhibition? If so, we have to handle it with prudence. It is necessary to protect, retain and show the building to the visitors, all at the same time.


  • We complete the building.
  • The new building can cover the ruin.
  • Setting.
  • Joining.

The building cannot easily be classified into any of the previous categories, it might be the closest to the covering process. Moreover, the new building should not settle in or sit on the ruin, creating a subordinate relation between the two, rather it should establish an equal relation. With this nexus we wanted to emphasize that present and past are equally important.

The building sways over the ruin without violating it at any point. In its material, structure, mass and its space formation squarely represents that it is a significant creation. The new building is destined to protect the old one with its overreaching outline and "tight distance".

The old one is the location of arrival and one of the exhibition items as well. In here, tourists are given an opportunity to relax. A snack-bar was created on the first floor with an "eating-place" and water-block. When the weather is satisfying, the street level makes for the terrace of the services. The panoramic view of Balaton Highlands unfolds from the "eating-place" (with the red roofs of Somlóvásárhely). At the basement, we have set up an exhibition space, where visitors can spend their time as long as they want to. We thought it was important to maintain the above mentioned relation. Thus, we have "commited" minimal intervention apart from the protection of the consistency. The look-out square is for everyone, it opens to nature. Using any other tools would have been far too wrecking.

László Bedő, Christopher Kovács, Péter Vági



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