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BUDAPEST MUSIC CENTER
Grand Beach Hotel Surfside, © MB Development
Budapest Music Center Photo © Peter Kis
Architects: Art1st Design Studio
Location: 1093 Budapest, Matyas street 8, Hungary
Year: 2013
Area: 3800 m²
Budapest Music Center
An architecturally and culturally unique institution,
the Budapest Music Center (BMC), opened its gates in
Budapest in the Spring of 2013 in Hungary. The building
is one musician’s 30-year dream come true. CEO
László Gőz, trombonist and music teacher, founded
BMC Ltd.17 years ago. Since 1996, the company has
engaged in promoting classical, contemporary, and
jazz music.
The original building from the street corner
Musician for musicians
Designed by Art1st Design Studio Kft. using ArchiCAD,
BMC’s activities are extremely diverse: operating the
cultural district of Budapest. Although a large part of
Hungarian Music Information Database and Library,
the premises are open to the public, private resources
working as a record company, and organizing and
financed most of the transformation of the 120 year-
managing events. The growing Music Library today
old building, and one can sense in every part of it that
houses tens of thousands of copies and contains up-
the BMC was built by a musician for musicians. The
to-date information on a century’s worth of Hungarian
original building was a one-story residential building
composers and their work.
with shops facing the street on the ground floor, built
The court yard of the orignal building
the Music Center is located in a newly emerging
in 1890 in the neoclassical style of the 19th century.
Close to 10 years of hard work went into preparing,
designing and implementing the design of the building.
This effort had a large impact on the interior design: it
had to reflect the immense personal achievement of
creating this institution in the midst of an economic
crisis. In order to do so, the design solutions had to
be simple, straightforward, and functional at the same
time, while maintaining a handcrafted detail. This was
the background that finally made the house likeable,
tangible, welcoming, and comfortable despite its scale
and functionality.
ArchiCAD contributed to keeping the costs low and
the schedule on time. For example, as there were
more than 150 different variations of doors in the
building, the automatically-generated door list saved a
significant amount of time for the architects. ArchiCAD’s
Teamwork function was also the key for the team
to work efficiently. Communications with the client
during the early stages of the project using 3D models
rendered in Artlantis led to a better understanding of
the design.
Budapest Music Center
The Concert Hall
As BMC is home to a wide range of activities, the building
itself has numerous functions and is able to serve
multiple purposes. The ground floor houses the main
public functions, such as the Jazz Club -- a restaurant
and coffee house -- and the nearly 300 m2 (3,230
square feet) Concert Hall. The Concert Hall is located
in the former inner courtyard, and is connected to the
street through a large Lobby running along both sides
Concert Hall, Photo © Peter Kis
of the building. Natural light enters the Hall through a
double row of skylights, reducing the use of artificial
lighting and evoking the atmosphere of the former
courtyard. The exposed original brick walls provide the
Concert Hall with a unique character not only visually,
but also acoustically, due to their irregular surfaces
and acoustic mass; as an added bonus, this solution
helped keep construction costs at a minimum. The
concert hall’s balcony is cantilevered above the four
entrances, placed in the original openings of the wall.
On the sides, the wooden oak flooring is curved along
The courtyard before the reconstruction
the edges, making the room feel as if it were floating,
almost like a ship.
Concert Hall, Photo © Peter Kis
Budapest Music Center
Jazz Club, Photo © Peter Kis
Jazz Club
The two-story jazz club is located on the street side.
otherwise necessary supporting columns they ensure
The atrium in the middle of the space enables the
that nothing interferes with visibility on the basement
spectators to view and enjoy the concerts from both
level. The interior design of the club was based on
levels. The ground floor slab is suspended by six steel
the use of simple, natural materials. Acoustically, it is
elements to the beams above. These give a light and
completely separated from the Concert Hall, so that
playful division to the space; evoke the former hanging
the two spaces can function simultaneously, without
corridors of the courtyard, and by replacing the
interfering with each other.
Courtesy of Art1st Design Studio
Budapest Music Center
Library and recording studios
The first floor is the new home of the BMC offices; it also
houses the Recording Studios, the Music Information
Database and Library, and the International Péter
Eötvös Institute. The Library is a very simple and
functional space, with its 7 meter (23 feet) height and
its cozy mezzanine. The recording studios in the rear
wing are connected to rooms on both the ground floor
and the first floor as well as to the rehearsal room in
the basement and the concert hall. This way, music can
be recorded simultaneously from up to seven different
locations in the building in the highest quality.
Library, Photo © Peter Kis
The Coner Conference Room
Small guestrooms are located in the attic, which will
Due to its location at the meeting point of the two
house students participating in workshops held
facades, the roof, and the corner element, none of its
in the building, partially organized by the Péter
sides are parallel or perpendicular to each other, and
Eötvös Institute. The same level houses the spatially
only the floor is horizontal. In order to emphasize the
most distorted room of the building, the Corner
distorted nature of the space, all surfaces are covered
Conference Room, a venue for smaller events.
with oak.
Corner Conference Room, Photo © Peter Kis
Budapest Music Center
Event hall and Terrace, Photo © Peter Kis
Interior
The slab covering the Concert Hall serves also as
The main entrance is recessed towards the building’s
a roof terrace, which can be accessed through the
interior, creating a covered external lobby under the
Event Hall, located in the upper part of the attic and
canopy of the first floor. The installation of large glazed
connected to the terrace by a large retractable door.
surfaces emphasizes the transformation from dwelling
For the interior surfaces, the designers chose
to public building, and enables a complete transparency
pure, natural materials. Black, white, gray and oak
when entering the building on the corner.
dominate, accompanied in many places by the
friendly, warm surface of the visible brick walls, which
beg to be touched. The lobby and other main public
areas are designed with polished concrete flooring.
“Our intent was to mark the complete transformation
of the building’s function both on the inside and on
the elevations,” said Dániel Taraczky, architect. Due
to their simple and clean proportions, the original
elevations were conserved and fully refurbished.
Although it’s not a listed building, its proportional mass
fits well with the surroundings. Above the main cornice,
however, following the symbolism of contemporary
music, an entirely new world begins. The building
is slit on the corner, and a fragmented element
breaks through the thick, old walls. At the bottom,
the paneling of the corner element is interrupted,
opening the way towards the interior of the building.
Jazz Club, Photo © Peter Kis
Concert Hall Entrace from the lobby, Photo © Peter Kis
Budapest Music Center
Courtesy of Art1st Design Studio
The corner
The metallic panels of the corner element gradually
The gradual closure of the corner element towards
become horizontal from vertical, changing in both
the roof reflects the internal organization of the
length and inclination as we move from the street
building, which allows a more delicate connection
level towards the roof. Thus, the paneling of the
with the world of music on the upper levels.
ground level is transformed to a shading element on
The corner became a focus point for several reasons.
the upper levels, revealing the window distribution
of the original facade when lit from behind at night.
Lobby from the entrance, Photo © Peter Kis
Budapest Music Center
The corner from the street, Photo © Peter Kis
This is the only part of the building that is visible
from the Buda side of Budapest, and it was the most
important point of the original residential building
as well. One could see the Danube from the former
corner balcony, and it belonged to the apartment that
was the largest and most luxurious of them all. In order
to keep this focus, the importance of the corner had
to be emphasized on the functional level of the new
building as well. Therefore, the main public entrance
of the building was shifted from its original place to
the street corner, and the upper levels also house
priority areas. The use of sections is fundamental when
designing such complicated spaces, and the architects
benefited from
ArchiCAD’s ability to provide quick
sections throughout the design process.
The future of BMC
László Gőz has made provisions for the future of
the building. He has penned a written statement for
future heirs, forbidding them to change the content
or the function of the Budapest Music Center, to sell
or to transform the building. As it is a private and
independent institution, the leadership will invariably
change, but the rules bequeathed will always be
respected.
Art1st Design Studio
www.art1st.hu
The studio was established in 1989 and it has grown
from a graphic design studio into a full service design
company in Hungary. The architecture and interior
design skill was later introduced to the firm. Because
of their strong creative design background, they
have been very successful with retail design projects.
Currently there are 25 employees and deals with over
250 projects per year.
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