MFA spreads its wings

Wednesday 10 Mar 2010

New underground wing for Budapest's Museum of Fine Arts in Heroes' Square

The construction of a new, underground wing of the Museum of Fine Arts in Heroes’ Square will be one of the largest-scale cultural investments of the coming years. The museum's new Heroes’ Square Visitor and Tourist Centre with a floor space exceeding 8,000 sq m will turn the museum into a visitor-centric modern institution in line with 21st-century expectations.

The objective of the investment of almost four billion forints (EURO 15million) financed by the European Union - and ready by 2011 according to plan - is not just to expand the museum but also to build one of the capital’s most important tourist centres in Heroes’ Square, which itself forms part of the World Heritage. In 2008 the museum and a jury found the plans in the design proposals competition by the Ybl prize-holder architect Tamás Karácsony to be the most suitable; thus, the new wing will be built in accordance with his concept.

As visitors expectations have changed over the past few decades, the museum wanted to reflect the need to provide an 'experience centre' rather than a simple 'display and preservation' space. The existing museum buildings, designed at the beginning of the last century, are unsuitable for satisfying these changed requirements.

Modern day expectations will be facilitated in the extension. Alongside a coffee shop, museum bookshop and 1,200 sq m seasonal exhibition space, the centre will also include a lecture hall, allowing the museum to cater to entertainment, conferences and scientific events. Tourists coming to Heroes’ Square will be able to obtain information at the tourist centre not only about the museum but also about Budapest and the region. According to the design for the extension, the tourist centre will be technically linked to buildings that may be later constructed beneath Heroes’ Square. Visitors will be able to observe the underground construction work being carried out.

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