Budapest to the Future: city development plans in 2017 and beyond
Photo : Liget Budapest
23/1/2017, 9:37 PM●18-minute article
With an eye toward the city’s future skyline, we comprised a comprehensive list of construction proposals and renovation plans in Budapest for 2017 and beyond. Plenty of parks, monuments, museums, universities, office buildings, sports complexes, and other edifices are planned to be built or renovated in the upcoming years across the Magyar metropolis, altering the cityscape for future generations. Even though not all of these projects will necessarily be completed within the next 12 months, below we provide a preview for major construction proposals, design plans, and the future cityscape.
During the so-called Gründerzeit era in the last third of the 19th century, Budapest was clattering with loud construction noise. We cannot really state that similar times are about to return this year, but there will surely be plenty of new buildings established and reconstructed in 2017, as well as in the upcoming years. We always love new parklands popping up around town, so one of the most anticipated renovations planned for this year is the refurbishment of Millenáris Park, and the transformation of the 2.5-hectare vacant lot into a leisure park. Underneath the surface, a parking garage will be constructed, while the community area will be enhanced with nearly 300 new trees, benches, a playground, and water surfaces.
A whole new quarter is being built near Kopaszi Dam in the framework of the BudaPart project; primarily, new office buildings and residential properties will be erected, separated by a lengthy shopping street, but according to the project plans there will also be a sports field, a hotel, a nursery, and possibly even a skyscraper established here.
The HungarianNational Museum’s garden has a good chance of becoming a beloved inner-city green oasis, as the unpleasant-looking parking lot that is now found inside the garden will be taken out, the flora and fauna will be resuscitated, and cozy spots suitable for picnics will be cultivated. Furthermore, the historical houses of Pollack Mihány Square in the Palotanegyed will be renovated, while two other buildings belonging to the Hungarian state radio headquarters will be demolished.
The complete renovation of the Buda Castle continues this year, including the reconstruction of several buildings that were damaged and senselessly demolished during World War II. The plans include the reconstruction of several edifices designed by Alajos Huszmann, such as the Csikós Court and its surroundings, the ornate riding hall and its corresponding barn, the so-called Főőrségi (Main Guard’s) building, the Stöckl stairs, and the tower of Karakas Pasha.
The reconstruction of the Carmelite Church and Monastery, as well as the construction of the Prime Minister’s new office in the Castle District, has already begun. The plans of Gábor Zoboki for the renovation of the monastery were inspired by the puritanical spirit of the edifice.
The renewal of the Danube Banks stretching from Fővám Square to Kossuth Square is one of the most ambitious 2017 projects. According to the plans, the roads and crash barriers will be replaced with pedestrian-friendly walkways, ornate cladding, and strictly controlled traffic, while on the water floating platforms will await city dwellers. The Pest-side pillar of Erzsébet Bridge will be transformed into a green area with a bikeway and a thoroughfare running through it, the parking lot in front of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences will disappear to give space to a sizeable park, and the Belgrade Quay will become a more attractive area lined with cafés and restaurants.
A tree-planting program already started in 2016 and continues in 2017, planting a total of 10,000 new trees in 20 different districts, and on 62 streets in Budapest.
Over the next three years, Vajdahunyad Castle will get a facelift within the framework of the Liget Budapest project that targets the beautification of City Park.
Furthermore, the Liget Budapest project also aims to revitalize the entirety of City Park, expanding green areas, restoring historical pavilions and the original state of the lake, and ameliorating Nádor Island.
The demolished parts of the Museum of Transport will be restored by the plans of Mérték Architects Studio, and the complex will also be expanded by 4,000 m2 on two underground floors, and with a lookout tower in the dome.
The Hungarian House of Music gets a new contemporary construction this year, with the aim of introducing and popularizing music history, folk traditions, music pedagogy, and the contemporary music culture. The glass-walled establishment – which looks like it is waving between the trees of the City Park – may become Budapest’s newest musical center, similar to the Cité de la Musique of Paris.
The Museum of Ethnography moves to a new location in City Park. The new building will be half-sunk in the ground, sophisticatedly decorated with motifs of folk art, and will house a café with a terrace, a panoramic glass-walled library, a children’s museum, and a cinema hall. The plans were made by Napur Architects.
The complete reconstruction and expansion of the Museum of Applied Arts takes place this year according to the winning plans of Vikár and Lukács Architects Studio. The plans include the preservation of historical values, the rethinking of the exhibition methods, and the expansion of the building with a contemporary crystal-like structure.
The renovation of the Museum of Fine Arts continues on this year; the rebirth of the huge and imposing hall that is enhanced with large wall paintings is preceded by profound restoration work. The plans were made by Mányi Studio.
As part of the Liget Budapest project, the National Museum Restoration and Storage Center (OMRRK) appears on the site of the former Szabolcs Street Hospital later in the year, not only assisting in the operation of numerous museums of Budapest, but also influencing land development. The plans were made by the Namer Architects Studio.
One of the most special and intriguing structures of the city, Párisi Udvar (Paris Court) on Ferenciek Square, is being renewed this year according to the plans of Archikon.
The southern wing of Klotild Palace, also known as Matild Palace, will turn into a luxurious hotel housing 156 rooms in the near future; the units of the Belvárosi Kávéház (Central Café) get their original purpose back, and an open-kitchen Turkish restaurant will also be launched in the hotel, on the side nearest to the Danube shore. The plans were made by Puhl and Dajka Architects.
It is always good news if an edifice in the historic part of downtown is renewed. An office building designed by Dezső Cserba has long been standing unexploited on Múzeum Avenue, but after a reconstruction planned by Péter Bokor and Ádám Villa, loft flats will be established inside.
The Olof Palme House has an interesting history, as it already provided a home for a military hospital, a café, a beer bar, an office, and a dance school in the past. After its renovation in the framework of the Liget Budapest Project, it will be enhanced with cultural and hospitality functions.
An intriguing edifice, Budapest’s Old City Hall, stands opposite to the Matthias Church in the Castle District. The building reached its current form during the Baroque era, and the City Hall of Buda was seated here until 1873; unfortunately, the building was mostly destroyed during the 20th century. Following the restoration and modernization works – according to the plans of the Hetedik Műterem – it will primarily serve educational purposes, but a restaurant and a bookstore will also be established inside.
Plans for the near future also include the reconstruction of the completely demolished Lónyay Villa – designed by Miklós Ybl –according to the plans of BORD Architect Studio, and the world-famous Tadao Ando.
The Zichy Palace of Óbuda, which houses the Vasarely Museum, will also be beautified in the future. The edifice’s façade, lighting, and interior design will be renewed.
The refurbishment of The Tomb ofGül Baba, along with its terraced garden and park, may be finished this year. According to the plans of the Mányi Studio, the memorial site gets new ceramic cladding, while the columns surrounding the octagonal Ottoman tomb will be made out of carved quarry stone, and will be decorated with Zsolnay column capital. A museum and a café will be established here as well.
When the residents of Király Street 40 almost completely demolished renowned Hungarian architect József Hild’s dreamy design by negligence in the past decade, a scandal broke out in Budapest. A new residential building housing more than 100 flats will be erected on this site, restoring the original façade.
The final station of Zugliget’s heritage horse tramway, as well as its surroundings, will be restored this year.
The new headquarters of the Federation of Technical and Scientific Societies at Kossuth Square 6-8 in Budapest will soon be reconstructed to suit contemporary trends.
The hideous concrete structure originally planned to be a hotel of the National Council of Trade Unions on Rózsadomb may be restructured to house luxurious apartments, as the tender for its renovation was won by Építész Stúdió and Lab5 Architects. It is still not yet decided who can start the reconstruction works, but both project plans have interesting and innovative elements that would only enhance the Buda side’s panorama.
The construction of a new hotel by the Liszt Ferenc International Airport has already started, and will be finished in a year and a half, according to the plans of László Szerdahelyi’s architectural team. A covered corridor will connect the five-floor complex with the terminal.
Not many details are released yet, but possibly a hotel characterized by deeply set windows will be launched at Clark Ádám Sqaure.
The building of the former Postal Palace in downtown Budapest will house a luxurious hotel in the future.
Found directly opposite the Opera House, Budapest’s historic Drechsler Palace, which formerly housed the city’s erstwhile Ballet Institute and many other important establishments, will be turned into a deluxe W Hotel by 2020. The building was completed in 1898 according to the designs of renowned Hungarian architects Ödön Lechner and Gyula Pártos. According to the plans, both the interior and exterior of the building will be completely refurbished, and the new W Budapest will house 162 stylish contemporary guest rooms and one luxurious royal suite, as well as a wellness section, conference rooms, a bar, and a restaurant.
A 184-room hotel will be erected next to the Great Market Hall. The wavy façade of the hotel, designed by Bence Vadász and Zoltán Mikós, seems like an intriguing idea.
A new dormitory for students will soon be constructed in the building of a former factory in downtown Budapest. The apartments will be enhanced with French balconies, while common areas, sport halls, and study rooms are also among the plans.
Soon, 17-story “green” residential properties may pop up between Szent István Square and the Danube in Újpest, built according to the design plans of Hajnal Architects.
The building of the former telephone exchange in District VIII may reopen soon as a hotel. The building was designed by Rezső Ray, and the telephone exchange operated here between 1917 and 2007.
Within the framework of the Elite Park project, 268 new apartment blocks will be built in Újbuda in the first round, followed by 438 more in the future. The plans were made by KAS Design.
Cordia – a leading residential property developer in Hungary – plans to build a total of 1,500 new residential properties at various locations around Budapest, such as on Nagy Diófa Street, Kapás Street, Corvin Promenade, Rózsa Street, and in the Zugló district.
Széll Kálmán Square’s postal palace will be reborn as an office building; the tower of the eight-storey building will be open to the public, providing far-reaching views to the Buda Castle, Vérmező, and Hűvösvölgy.
The renovation of the Stock Exchange Palace on may begin this year, establishing top-quality offices and stores inside this impressive edifice. The renovation plans were made by Beyer Blinder Belle Architects.
Ericsson’s new headquarters is already being built; the company’s biggest research and development center outside their home country will be established here, employing nearly 1,800 people.
A new office block called Hillside Offices will be established next to the MOM Park shopping center, offering 20-22,000 square meters to let.
Telekom’s new headquarters will be built near the Groupama Arena, housing a 300-capacity conference room and green areas.
As the first park of the Mill Park project, a seven-story office building with 18,000 m2 to let will be built in southern Budapest.
Graphisoft Park on the Buda side continues to renew; a new wing and a building optimized for small companies and start-ups will be established here.
Budapest ONE Business Park will be built at the western gate of Budapest, in Őrmező, serving as an excellent multi-modal public-transportation hub near the terminal of metro 4.
An inter-modal hub and a commercial and entertainment complex, the Etele City Center, is planned to open in Kelenföld. This innovation by a major train station establishes a connection between Budapest One and Etele Plaza.
A shoppingplaza is also planned to be built at Etele Square; 160 stores, fast-food restaurants, a cinema, and a large parking lot are planned to occupy 53,000 m2.
The Újpest district’s new center is already being built according to the plans of Firka Architects Studio. It will be a covered market hall and cultural center, with a rooftop garden and a basement garage. A huge square with green areas, pavilions, and water surfaces are also among the plans, providing a suitable venue for grand events.
A new Market Hall suitable for hosting cultural events will soon be built in District III, in the Békásmegyer area. Next, the district’s Heltai Jenő Square will be refurbished, and afterwards, a new swimming pool will be established, while the nearby will also be renovated.
Not only its parkland, but Millenáris itself will also be renewed this year; soon, the building of the Teátrum will house the National Dance Theater. The plans were made by Zoboki and Demeter Architecture, who have already gained experience in renovating a cultural institute by working on the . The reconstruction works will be completed by February of 2018, and the high-quality dance institute will give a home to the representatives of traditional and contemporary dance culture alike.
A large private hospital, the Duna Medical Center, is already being built in the . Laboratories, a restaurant, shops, and even a hotel will join this comprehensive medical complex that will cover almost all branches of medicine. The plans were made by Vadász Studio.
The car shed for public conveyances in Budafok will be renewed this year, guarding historical elements while at the same time enhancing the building with contemporary architectural features.
Népliget might soon turn into a large bicycle park, holding a two-kilometer-long round recreational area, a three-kilometer-long concrete path, BMX- and mountain-bike parks, and a skatepark. A so-called Fradiváros – a sizeable stadium for volleyball players, athletes, hockey players, wrestlers, and various other athletes – is also among the plans.
The renovation of the Hullám Boat Houses continues this year, further beautifying the Danube Bank.
The changing rooms, buffet, ventilation system, roof, courtyard, inner façade, and the complete water system of the Császár Komjádi Sports Swimming Center will soon be modernized. The building will also be enhanced with a doctor’s office, two large saunas, and three new gym halls.
The reconstruction of a Bauhaus-style national monument, the Palatinus Swimming Pool, already began; the façade will be restored according to the original plans of István Janáky, a wellness and fitness area will be established in the basement, the original changing rooms will be renovated, the restaurant found by the entrance will be refurbished and expanded, and the thermal pool will be covered, enabling the water park to stay open all year long.
There’s no need to wait too long for the complete renovation of the Király Bath,either. The bath was built by Arszlán Pasha of Buda in 1565, and behind the building’s classicist façade we still find a bath that evokes a Balkan atmosphere. During the renovation works, the domed pool, the Turkish inner courtyard, and plenty of other parts of the building will be restored.
A new swimming pool in the place of the former Dagály Beach will soon be ready to host the 2017 FINA water world championship. The 44-meter-high building will provide wonderful view to Budapest’s cityscape from its roof, while inside, two 50-meter-long swimming pools – one dividable by a movable wall – as well as a diving pool and smaller pools will be established. The bottom of the diving boards will be enhanced with LED lights.
If Hungary’s capital wins the opportunity to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, Budapest officials plan to welcome the international teams and eager supporters with brand-new and truly spectacular sports venues. Athletes and coaches would travel on the quickest and most cost-effective way: on the Danube. Another such ‘smart’ element is that the accommodation of athletes and visitors would later be used as dormitories. The tournaments would be held at the city’s most imposing sites; for instance, the finish line of the marathon race would be at, the archery contest would be held in front of the picturesque building, and the beach-volleyball competition would take place by .
Following the demolishment of Puskás Stadium, the construction of a new stadium in its place may begin soon, keeping some original elements of the edifice. The building’s tower might turn into a museum for stadium tours, and a maximum of 67,000 seats will be installed inside.
Within the next couple of years, a biodome will be built inside the Budapest Zoo, providing many animals with a balmy environment similar to their own original habitats all year long, separated from the noises and cold weather of the outside world. Designed by Mérték Architectural Studio Ltd, the new indoor enclosure will have rich flora, a small river suitable for boat rides, an educational area, and exhibition corridors.
Several design plans have been released for a new Congress Center by the . The new building may house a huge hall, an exhibition area, and several conference rooms. The tender for the design plans was won by Finta Studio.
We can only hope that the Rácz Bath in , with its restoration basically already finished, finally reopens this year to enrich the city with a premium-category bath and hotel.
Due to lengthy disputes on its faith, it is uncertain when the Sorsok Háza, (translates to: House of Faiths) can open in the place of a former train station in . The 17,000-m2 memorial would pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.
Last year, Budapest’s Lechner Knowledge Center announced a competition aiming to collect creative design plans for the renewal and rejuvenation of one of the most mesmerizing natural sights of the Magyar metropolis – Gellért Hill – with the UNESCO World Heritage landmark at its panoramic peak, the . A total of 68 entries were submitted, of which 14 were selected; however, the final concept and the future look of Gellért Hill is not yet determined.
The renovation and expansion of the National Riding Hall has already begun near .
Magyar architect Levente Szabó designed a clever installation for , commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Europe.
A Research Center for the Humanities, comprising music science, archaeology, literature studies, ethnography, art history, philosophy, political studies, law history, sociology, and many other disciplines, is already nearly finished by the .
A Bionics Innovation Center, a modern base for bionic research, will soon be built in .
The Buda-side campus of the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design is also being renewed this year.
The may finally bring an old project, the Eiffel Műhelyház, to life, establishing a significant classical music center in Budapest.
A one-hectare-large community park will soon open in the middle of the , on Dob Street. The park will be closed in the evenings, and will be monitored by guards and security cameras.
Another community park, named Nyugati Grund, is planned to be established between Podmaniczky Street and . The plans include grassy areas, a hill for sledding, a pétanque pitch, and running tracks. However, this project is still in the early planning phases at the moment.
The Municipality of Budapest supports the reconstruction of monumental residential buildings with 200 milllion forints in the following year.
There are also a couple of project plans for the more distant future: two more bridges could be built over the Danube in the upcoming years. A railway line connecting the and the might be established; high-speed trains would travel mostly underground every 20 minutes from downtown. Furthermore, the airport could also be approached directly from other Hungarian cities, such as Debrecen, Nyíregyháza, Szeged, Kecskemét, and Miskolc.