architecture : urban : visual culture

The new City Gate of Balatonfüred at Castricum Square

The right to prepare the plans of the new design was won in 2010 by Tamás Gyarmati’s team that created a harmonic and comfortable space of well-thought connections between the railway-station and the bus station, and between both stations and the city. 

The original over-sized railway station building of Balatonfüred was designed in 1972 by the arhcitect of the Southern Station in Budapest and the two buildings in pair were to symbolise the main departure and arrival gates of Balaton holiday traffic. However, the station in Füred had less traffic than planned, part of the building was unused, and its condition began to deteriorate. In the meantime, the central Bus Station of Balatonfüred was also placed at the Castricum Square. The local and inter-city buses had their stops unconveniently placed all around the square in front of the railway station. The oval square operated as a turning point for buses, as a bus terminal and as a parking lot where there were no safe and secure routes designed for pedestrian traffic.




This state of affairs was to be changed by the design of a new intermodal junction mainly financed by the European Union. The right to prepare the plans of the new design was won in 2010 by Tamás Gyarmati’s team that created a harmonic and comfortable space of well-thought connections between the railway-station and the bus station, and between both stations and the city. It became a well-designed central square capable of receiving all the community traffic of Balatonfüred, and a nice green park with safe routes for passangers of all kinds who can easily find their way to the capital of the Lake Balaton, or to the lake itself.

So, the former car and bus centered roundabout, the Casticum Square with a thin green edge and no pedestrian links, but an overcrowded, chaotic bus traffic, has completely changed and works now as a real 21
st century city gate that dignifies the capital city of the Lake Balaton. This was achieved by the quality reconstruction of the original railway station building that received not only a new façade but new functions too. From now on, the formerly over-size building conveniently houses both the railway and the bus stations: offices, information boards, public services, waiting rooms, etc. The bus stops were placed to a new location in the continuation of the railway station so that the pedestrian ways designed through the welcoming park to the stations and the bus traffic don’t cross at all.




However, the implementation of the architectural plans was far from the expected level. The construction company selected during the public procurement process building was of poor quality, unfinished, in many places life-threatening and architecturally unviable, thus cooperation was ended after many professional and legal debates.




Fortunately, the story did not end there. The Hungarian Railway Company (MÁV) undertook additional costs and surplus tasks, repaired the construction faults. The planning of this second phase was made in the care of an interior MÁV team lead by Zoltán TóthFinally, after five years of frequently stopped construction works, the square and its buildings, the new city gate now welcomes the passangers with its quality and elegance.  




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