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Peter Janesch and Kengo Kuma wins the competition of Hungarian Government District

By HG.HU 2007. augusztus 9. 12:21

szerk at hg dot hu

The results of the international tender called for the design of the new government district in Budapest were announced on 2 August 2007. The winner is the work of the co-operation of the teams lead by Péter Janesch (Hungary) and Kengo Kuma (Japan). It was especially the environmental consciousness of the plan that has caught the attention of the renowned members of the jury, like Daniel Libeskind.

The results of the international tender called for the design of the new government district in Budapest were announced on 2 August 2007. The winner is the work of the co-operation of the teams lead by Péter Janesch (Hungary) and Kengo Kuma (Japan). It was especially the environmental consciousness of the plan that has caught the attention of the renowned members of the jury, like Daniel Libeskind.

Although the idea seriously arose as early as 1999, decision was only made last year concerning the construction of a central office building for the ministries housed in scattered real estates with high maintenance costs around Budapest. As a result of a concept tender, the vicinity of the Western Railway Station constructed according to the plans of the design office of Gustave Eiffel in 1877 and the related unutilised industrial areas were selected to be the location of the future administrative centre. The government has also made a decision that the new complex is to be developed in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) concept from approximately 170 million EUR. The architectural design tender was called for in April 2007 with the objective to determine the architectural profile of the building to house eleven ministries and to select the most competent architect designer. The tender also requested concept designs for the settlement of the 40 hectare area around the building to be constructed.

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37 architects and designer offices purchased the tender documentation including David Chipperfield from Britain or the office of Massimo Iosa Ghinia from Italy. (The latter is already known in Budapest, because the extension for the Hotel Boscolo New York Palace in the property of the Boscolo Group is in progress.) It was probably the complexity of the work, but only 17 applicants submitted the tender at the end. The task included not only the design of the 165,000 m² building of the Administrative District being the future workplace of 5500 people, but suggestions had to be made concerning the further development of the area and how the new district should relate to the monumental railway station.

Three respectable foreign persons were invited in the evaluation committee. Daniel Libeskind – mostly known of the Jewish Museum of Berlin and the settlement plan of Ground Zero in New York – also became member of the committee, next to him are Hans Stimman, the previous chief architect of Berlin and Josep A. Acebillo Marín, the current chief architect of Barcelona, who played a leading role in the revival of their cities in the nineties. The committee started work on 23 July evaluating the tenders from five aspects, which are: architectural quality and circumspection, temporal feasibility, environmentally conscious design, urban solutions and economy.

The renowned members of the evaluation committee said at the final stages that they had received realistic, pragmatic and somewhat impudent tenders and no eye-catching buildings should be expected. The name of the final winner was announced on 2 August: the winner is an ad-hoc Hungarian-Japanese consortium. The head of the Hungarian team is Péter Janesch (born: 1954), who had few designs realised, but the best known of them is the children’s home in Perbál designed together with Tamás Karácsony. Péter Janesch was the curator of the Hungarian hall at the International Architectural Biennale in Venice in 2004. The young architects of minusplus architects in their twenties who had already collaborated with him in tenders strengthened the team of Janesch. The head of the Japanese team is the world famous Kengo Kuma, who has become favours as the innovator of traditional Japanese architecture with buildings like the Nagasaki Prefecture Art Museum or the Hiroshige Art Museum in Bato.



The Hungarian and Japanese teams worked together through the Internet. The most characteristic feature of the plan that gained the unanimous decision of the evaluation committee as the best design, including the office building complex to be constructed by May 2009 is environmental consciousness. This manifests on several levels: the façade of the eight-storey, almost four hundred metres long building is mostly covered by a wall of living plants sustained by the hydro-cultural technology installed in the building wall. The gardens will play an important role on the roof and in the eleven internal yards. Geothermic energy will be utilised with heat pumps for heating and cooling, while the heat in used air will help preheat fresh air. Kengo Kuma working on the utilisation of the Eiffel-hall, city connections and the green surroundings of the building emphasised that he likes human scale houses, which are in harmony with the natural environment – and the governmental office building will be just like that. The total planning costs are expected to be around 9.6 million EUR. In further phases of the tender project planned for a ten year term, the ideas of the second best tender have to be utilised for projects like the rehabilitation of the surrounding residential area or the renovation of the areas around the railway station.

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