Visual and Contextual Honesty
The marketplace, besides the city hall and the church, has always been the most important part of the center in the 4th district. However, from the 1970s on, the introverted late-modern market buildings and their service area occupied the public space of St. Stephen Square. The purpose of the current transformation is to give this space back to pedestrians and events by the forthcoming demolition of the obsolete buildings, while the market is renewed within up-to-date frames.
The New Market Hall is located on the western border of the square with a two-story shopping area. Loading and storage areas and an underground garage were placed below the Market Hall with connections provided by elevators. Above the Market Hall, a two-story cultural center was established, which offers spiritual nutrition besides the physical one. The transformation of the surrounding infrastructure (such as eliminating transit traffic) and the transparent building allows for the prospective outdoor public space to continue within the hall and to function with each other. This "compactness" and mixed-use thinking extends the operation of the building over time.
Openness" was a major factor in the design program both visually (with glass facades) and in a contextual way (with all-direction access), and it wants to be clearly transparent that is to say "honest". The building exposes all its systems and functions - whether it is traffic (panoramic elevators), or a supporting structure (primarily the exposed concrete structures and secondarily steel elements). The building performs but it is also the framework for events: it is a neutral, monochrome frame of a very “colourful” market and culture. Therefore, the complex owns a unified character, subtle tones, and emphasized light conditions.
The "background house", from a distance, acts as the living scenery of the St. Stephen Square during day and night. Showing the operation of the building is also desirable because the upper levels have to be attractive to counteract their obvious disadvantageous position. Therefore, in addition to programmatic considerations, a visually accentuated lobby with high ceilings was placed in front of the soon to be renovated square. Later on, a promenade with green areas on the first floor and a rooftop garden on the top of the market hall will be connected to the lobby.
The interconnecting triplet of these spaces, with a uniform, built and natural appearance will become public which is a key element of the “open house” concept. The consistency of program, structure, and appearance can be found in the exposed concrete support structures, in the corresponding fiber-cement elevation cladding, in the natural aluminum structures and surfaces, and in the independent, floating, closed, glittering white cube of the cultural centre.
In the latter space, wooden wall panels, wall-to-wall carpets, acoustic suspended ceilings "soften" the strict and lean system, while the multifunctional grand hall provides a black-box frame for events. The concrete itself is a feature element. The rigor of the main structural grid is dynamized by the diagonal patterned lattice of the ceiling, which can be perceived even from outside. The scale of the building fits in the surrounding enclosed small-town block structure and height. Living in symbiosis with the context, the cooling-heating system uses waste heat recovered from urban wastewater, the shading system of the exterior light and the control of the LED lighting are automatically synchronized, and greywater is utilized by the building.