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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Budapest City Hall, Budapest, Hungary

Erick van Egeraat mixed use programme selected
Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat has won the international competition to design the City Hall in the centre of Budapest. From a field of 18 participants, an international professional jury selected his proposal, which combines restoration of the existing large 18th century baroque building and new, futuristic wings to create a contemporary Main Square.

In accordance with the objectives of the competition, this new City Hall, with its open courtyards and flexibility of use, will reflect transparency and democracy, will act as a Forum for the people of Budapest and will attract tourists. It will at once re-introduce pedestrian flow from the boulevard to the river Danube and offer a spectacular view of the city from the platform on top of the entrance gate.

The entire façade reflects the transition between old and new, between closed and open by forming a visual wall along the boulevard. The existing building with its closed, baroque façade is continued in a semi-open structure of organic columns, which in turn open up into a gate-like structure defining the entrance to the new complex.

The Cultural Forum is the most public space within the program and is strategically located in the centre of the complex. It incorporates a multifunctional theatre, which can be used for conference and exhibition purposes. Erick van Egeraat explains :“The Forum acts as the connector between the past and the future, between the historical chapel space and the new building, and between the historic and the contemporary baroque to complement and emphasize each other. At the same time it interlinks all forms of culture, education, entertainment and politics.”

The new City Hall will comprise 118.000 square metres of gross floor area, 40.000 square meters of which will be newly built. The project is set to enter the design phase in January 2009 and start construction in September 2011 to last for 24 months.
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