TIBA Architects Studio breathes new life into historic department store
The Paris Department Store is the first building in Hungary built exclusively for warehouse function using a reinforced concrete-skeleton structure, qualifying it as a national monument. It was built in 1909-11 in the style of industrial art-nuovo on the site of a former neo-renaissance Casino building. In the 60s the building has undergone a major refurbishment that affected the style and use of the building. Until 1991 it operated as a well-known department store typical of the socialist era. By acquiring the building in 2006, the aim of ORCO was to revitalise the building and give it back the prestige it used to carry.
The aim during the design of the refurbishment was to restore the original space-concept of the building, to bring back the original values as much as possible considering both monumental aspects and the needs of the future users, whilst adding contemporary elements that correspond with the historical style of the building providing it freshness and boldness.
The department store has been converted into a multifunctional building; retail, office and leisure. The formerly dark and narrow areas are converted into large, elegant uninterrupted spaces resembling their original condition. Exclusive business club and restaurant will be located on the top in a unique steel-glass crystal-like shell structure. The refurbished roof terrace offers superb views over the city.
The architectural language of the refurbishment is conceived from the blend of neo-renaissance and industrial art-nuovo. Forms, details, decorative surfaces are reinterpretations of the historical building thus creating a new, exciting relation between the historical and newly added elements. The use of fragmented lines and small, repetitive, geometrical decorative painting and ornaments are used to create the contemporary language results in exciting, decorative, rich surfaces and spaces meanwhile it suggests direct associations to the original atmosphere of the formerly luxurious department store.