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House of Hungarian Music, Budapest, Hungary

Monday 01 Sep 2014

An instrumental composition

Images: LETH & GORI 
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LETH & GORI releases competition proposal for House of Hungarian Music in Budapest 

The New House of Hungarian Music frames a richness of diverse spaces for experience, learning and relaxing that support the educational development and understanding of the nature of sound and the origin of music. This concept by LETH & GORI suggests a new museum building with a ‘soft’ curved interior that ‘surrounds’, ‘reverbs’, ‘mirrors’, ‘tunes’ and ‘curves’ sound and music - just like the complex interior of an instrument. The building itself is ’quiet’, simple and robust and seeks to push forward the value of the site and the park, providing a strong architectural frame for the new Museum of Hungarian Music.

For the design firm, the fact that the site is already inhabited by trees brings the location an identity, spatial quality, sound, movement and life. The new museum building stands in a clearing in the park. The clearing is doubled as a courtyard in the centre of the museum turning the building inside out. This architectural strategy creates an inner clearing in the museum that brings daylight and nature deep inside the building.

The project seeks to protect as many of the existing trees as possible in order to keep the visual ‘depths’ of the park. The trees filter the view of the museum from the park, the castle and from the Monument of the 1956 Revolution. This is contrasted by the towering sky lights that rise above the trees creating new sight lines from the city towards the museum.

The handling of artefacts is moved to the basement level in order to minimize the footprint of the building and remove the traffic around the building. A 6m-wide ‘foot step’ surrounds the building creating a circular plaza punctuated by the existing trees. The plaza offers different public functions, a terrace for the café, open air lobby for the event hall etc. and allows for the exhibition to move outside with sound-mirrors, sound installations etc. The landscape and the museum courtyards are integrated parts of the museum's new playful sound environment. The landscape design focuses on robustness and variation in order to cope with the impact and wear of daily use.

The exhibition zones are laid out as continuous loops. One of the visions of the new museum is to incorporate movement as an integrated part of the experience and learning of sound and music. The curving walls of the museum morphs the exhibition spaces by ‘hiding’ the beginning and end of the exhibition loops. The experience is therefore likened to stepping into a music wheel or a fugue. Passages between the permanent and temporary exhibition loops allows the visitor to short cut and ‘design’ the visit and take active part in the story telling of the museum.

The proposal promotes transparency as a way to open up space and thereby not only providing better daylight situations but also allowing for a more efficient use of space and a better flow between the main entrance, visitor zones, exhibitions and the learning zones. But transparency in architecture is more than the properties of the glass material itself. Transparency also describes a building's openness and accessibility, the continuity between inside and outside etc. LETH & GORI sees transparency as a dialogue between the inside spaces of the museum and the outside park and inner museum court yard.


Client: The Museum of Fine Arts Budapest and Városliget Zrt.
Architects: LETH & GORI
Project team: Karsten Gori, Uffe Leth,Junichi Matsumoto and Naima Callenberg

Key Facts

Client The Museum of Fine Arts Budapest and Városliget Zrt.
Status Competition entry
Value 0(m€)
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