Budapest’s breathtakingly beautiful Párisi Udvar passage and building will be completely restored and reopened by 2018. At the moment, the heritage refurbishment of the passage, which has been largely out of commission for years, and the installment of a luxurious 5-star hotel are taking place at the same time here. However, if all goes according to plan, next summer we will be able to step inside anytime to admire the wonderfully colored windows and intriguing iron structure of the passage. We took a sneak peek into what's happening here these days.
In 2014, the Archikon Architect Studio started redesigning the look and function of Budapest’s picturesque Párisi Udvar, found on Ferenciek Square. This architectural masterpiece – which has been a national monument since 1976 – provides a lot to do for experts and workers: they have to restore the passage bit by bit, while also adding a luxurious 5-star hotel and one extra floor to the structure in a way that could satisfy the needs of passersby, residents, tourists, and hotel guests at the same time in this picturesque covered passage connecting Ferenciek Square with Petőfi Sándor Street. The Párisi Udvar Hotel Budapest will be equipped with 110 rooms, a presidential suite, a spa section, and conference rooms, and is scheduled to open in May or June of 2018, as the newest property of Mellow Mood Hotels (the proprietor of the nearby Buddha-Bar Hotel and many other Budapest accommodations). We were lucky enough to go inside to evaluate the progress that has been ongoing here for 14 months now.
The architecture studio redesigned the building based on the century-old blueprints, building diagnostics, and archives. Párisi Udvar has a complicated hive-like hexagonal structure that can best be seen on the ceiling. However, let’s move from the outside to the inside now: if we imagine the result, instead of scaffolding and a half-ready state, we see the biggest ceramic façade in Europe enhanced with Zsolnay tiles – but at the moment, we see supermodels sipping on drinks due to a big billboard covering the reconstruction works.
The original shades will also be restored on the façade, and the picture will be complete with renovated iron portals produced by a well-established English company that designed the windows of Harrods in London. Some of the stores here will also be accessible through the passage. We found out that Párisi Udvar’s final look is now 90% ready, and the foundation has also been strengthened. Now, they are doing restoration works and are establishing the new hotel. Most of the pieces that need restoring are taken to a workshop and are brought back to life there – with each segment’s design plan approved by the national heritage preservation authorities. Once it's ready, this impressive edifice will be magnificently lit up in the evenings.
Stepping inside the passage, visitors will see amazing restored works by magnificent Magyar stained-glass-artist Miksa Róth, floor tiles by Villeroy & Boch, Luxfer glasses by Haas és Somogyi, and wrought-iron wonders made in the manufactory of Gyula Jungfer. The prism glass of the dazzling crystal dome will let lots of bright sunshine inside, which even reaches down to the basement, as the original designer, Henrik Schmahl even installed a few of these on the floor. Upon our visit we only saw the iron structures still awaiting these gorgeous panes of glass.
Authentic store windows, an ornate cast-iron double staircase, and a dome by Petőfi Sándor Street will all be imposing parts of the passage. The hotel’s reception desk and two reborn stores will be found underneath the painted glass. A bar-restaurant-confectionery gastro unit will also be opened here, using the long passage between the two domes as a terrace. According to plans, this passage that can be heated and cooled will be open day and night, and will only be closed for cleaning or renovating from time to time. However, Petőfi Street, which is now blocked because of all the scaffolding, will be open again in November.