Hungarian design competition draws star names

Nick Myall
Thursday 04 Feb 2016

Star architects including BIG, Bernard Tschumi Architects, Dominique Perrault Architecture and Zaha Hadid Architects compete for the chance to design the Museum of Ethnography in Budapest, Hungary

The list of architects participating in the international design competition announced for the Museum of Ethnography in Budapest, Hungary has been finalised. A total of 15 Hungarian and foreign architects entered the fray to win the design project for the building to house one of Hungary’s most prominent Hungarian public collections. The list includes; BIG, Bernard Tschumi Architects, Dominique Perrault Architecture, Zaha Hadid Architects, Coop Himmelb(l)au and the Rem Koolhaas’ studio called OMA. Real Estate Development firm Városliget Zrt. announced the design competition for the new building of the Museum of Ethnography in December 2015; the so-called pre-qualification stage of the procedure, during which the circle of applicants is finalised, has been closed. Included in the shortlist and thus given the chance to compete for the Hungarian Museum of Ethnography project are Zaha Hadid, holder of the Pritzker Prize, regarded as the Nobel prize in architecture, and the designer of MAXXI – Museum of XXI Century Arts in Rome, and the Glasgow Museum of Transport; the designer of the Acropolis Museum in Athens (Bernard Tschumi Architects), the studio that designed the new Google headquarters in California (BIG), and another Pritzker Prize holder, Rem Koolhaas, whose name is linked to the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg.

The new Museum of Ethnography will be constructed as part of the Liget Budapest Project on Ötvenhatosok Square, located on the edge of the City Park. The winner of the competition is expected to be announced in May 2016. According to plans, the new home of the Museum of Ethnography, which will cater to professional and visitor needs at the highest standards, will open its doors in 2019.

Thanks to the architectural competition, the museum which once operated in the former Curia building, and was far from being suitable as a museum space, will be given a home worthy of its importance. Despite being the number one institution of ethnographic science, European ethnology and cultural anthropology in Hungary, the Museum of Ethnography, established in 1872, and also operating as a workshop for museum sciences, was never housed in a building especially designed for a museum and suitable for exhibiting its collection. Moving the institution to a new and modern building will create the opportunity to finally display a significant part of the artefacts thus far ‘locked away’ from the public in storage rooms at a modern, permanent exhibition. The new museum building also marks a kind of return to the City Park, since it was here, in the Liget, that the first comprehensive presentation of the country’s ethnographic collection took place as part of the 1896 millennium celebrations; following this from 1906 to 1924 the Museum of Ethnography operated in the City Park’s then empty Industrial Hall building.

The recently announced competition creates the opportunity for the capital to be enriched with another public building of the highest world standard. Decisions have been reached about two new buildings, to be constructed as part of the Liget Budapest Project, both to be designed by internationally acclaimed Japanese architects: the House of Hungarian Music, to be built on the site of the former Hungexpo Offices, earmarked for demolition will be designed by Sou Fujimoto, while the project for the New National Gallery, to be constructed where the Petofi Events Hall is standing, was won by the Pritzker Prize holder SANAA.

Architect offices participating in the architectural design competition for the Museum of Ethnography, many of whom are WAN Business Information subscribers are: Zaha Hadid, Gmp Architekten, Architecture Studio, MVRDV, BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, Bernard Tschumi Architects, Dominique Perrault Architecture, Sauerbruch Hutton, Coop Himmelb(l)au Architects, Emre Arolat Architects, OMA, Közti Zrt., Balázs Mihály and the BUTE Faculty of Architecture, Napur Architect, and Bánáti + Hartvig Architects.

The projects will be evaluated by an 11-member jury of Hungarian and international museum experts and architecture professionals; the results are expected to be announced in May 2016. 


WAN Business Information published this competition in March 2014. Full brief of the competition can be found here. Interested in global competitions? Contact our team today tenders@builtenvironmentmedia.com

 Nick Myall

News Editor

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