Transformation – Center and Museum of Architecture
The transformer house on Csarnok Square, Budapest, well-known among the townspeople and highly regarded by the profession, was designed by Ernő Léstyán in the ‘60s. He received the Ybl Prize in 1967, especially for the design of this building, which, unfortunately, has lost its function over time. The question is, what new feature can be placed in it so that its architectural values are compromised the least possible. As a solution, the architect’s proposal is to place there the Museum of Architecture, which he envisions as an Architectural Center.
The facilities of the transformer house are well suited to the requirements of an architectural center and museum. As its structure is a monolithic reinforced concrete pillar-frame system, the walls are not load-bearing structures, so huge continuous spaces can be formed by their demolition. Until now, the building has only been visible from the outside. Opening its courtyard is justified on an urban structural basis: this shortens the pedestrian route, which allows the previously hidden façade of the transformer house to become the main elevation.
The main connections of the house are towards the courtyard. These large double doors provide the access to the three new, well-separable features of the building. The building has a basement and 3 floors, on the lower three levels the partitions are demolished except for the Y-shaped walls of the ground floor, but the prefabricated RC walls of the top floor will be retained in order to allow for creating differentiated spaces on the second and third floors. The demolitions from the direction of the Imre Street designate the addition’s possible connection to the existing building. For the fullest accessibility of the courtyard, the newly built lecture hall is elevated on legs, with the entrance of the Center underneath it.
The main functions of the center, i.e. the exhibition space and catering unit will be placed in the monolithic mass of the transformer house, and completing them, the lecture hall is also formulated as a closed box. The block is covered with an anthracite-colored metal sheet cladding that fits well the industrial atmosphere of the existing building. The lecture hall is a closed box of monolithic RC structure, supported by nine leaning columns of a circular cross-section, which also provide lateral stiffening of the structure. The connection of the two enclosed blocks containing the main functions is ensured by a homogeneous, translucent bubble-like wing that does not weaken the sovereignty of the main masses.