Liget Budapest Project – the first round of the international architectural design competition is concluded

4 August 2014.

The first round of the international design competition for the museum buildings to be constructed in Budapest’s Városliget (City Park) has been closed. The Museum of Fine Arts and City Park Property Development Zrt. announced an open competition for the design of the five buildings this February (www.ligetbudapest.org). The more than 470 designs submitted by the end of May deadline were evaluated by an 11-member jury of Hungarian and foreign museum and architectural professionals. Based on the jury’s decision, 6 have made it into the second round out of the more than 110 designs submitted for the building of the Museum of Ethnography, also 6 out of the more than 170 works submitted for the Hungarian House of Music, and 5 out of the close to 110 works received for the joint call put in for the buildings of the FotoMuzeum Budapest and the Hungarian Museum of Architecture.

Among the 80 designs that were submitted for the building of the New National Gallery - Ludwig Museum the jury did not find any that it deemed suitable to be implemented based on the evaluation criteria; however, it regarded 5 designs suitable to be purchased thanks to some of the high standard solutions they contained, and recommended the announcement of a new competition, which is expected to take place at the end of August.

The open international architectural design competition announced this February for the museum buildings to be constructed in Városliget is anonymous, meaning that the participants submitted their projects under a registration number, without their names. In accordance with strict international regulations, the tender procedure stipulates that during the jurying period the announcer is not allowed to make public the designs submitted to the competition and the identity of the winners can only be revealed upon the conclusion of the entire competition.

The jury and the 36 experts helping the jury’s work began the evaluation of the competitive projects at the beginning of June based on five groups of criteria. The museum buildings to be constructed were judged according to their architectural quality and solutions, the technological and functional solutions (e.g. the visitor experience it is expected to provide and the museum technological solutions it contains), the sustainability of the designed building (energy efficiency, ecology), the building’s dialogue with the environment (including the extent to which the building is embedded in its environment, its communication with Városliget, and access to the building), and the planned costs.

In the second round of the architectural competition, starting in the middle of August, the jury will look at a more detailed elaboration of the designs that they selected in the first round. The final results are expected to be announced in December.

The competitive projects will be evaluated by Hungarian and foreign museum professionals and architects. The members of the jury are:

President: László Baán, ministerial commissioner, director-general of the Museum of Fine Arts; co-president: Wim Pijbes, architect, director of Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, and Martha Thorne, architect, managing director of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

Members: Paula Cadima, architect, university lecturer (AA London School of Architecture); György Fekete, interior architect, president of the Hungarian Academy of Art; Sándor Finta, chief architect of Budapest; Edwin Heathcote, architect, architectural critic for the Financial Times; Henri Loyrette, state councillor, former director of the Musée du Louvre; Ervin Nagy, national chief architect; László György Sáros, architect, president of the Association of Hungarian Architects. Substitute members: Imre Bálint, president of the Budapest Chamber of Architects; Zoltán Cselovszki, architect, President of the Forster Gyula National Centre for Cultural Heritage Management; György Fazakas, architect; and Tamás Perényi, architect, associate professor and head of the Faculty of Architecture at the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. The UIA (International Union of Architects) delegates one member and one substitute member to the jury.

An open, international design competition was last announced in Hungary more than 100 years ago, in the millennial heyday of Budapest.

The five new buildings to be constructed within the framework of the Liget Budapest Project will be built on the fringes of Városliget and on the site of buildings located in the park but earmarked for demolition, thus protecting the park’s green area, the reconstruction and growth of which is one of fundamental elements of the Liget Budapest Project. The Museum of Ethnography, the Hungarian Museum of Architecture, as well as the FotoMuzeum Budapest (presently the Hungarian Museum of Photography) will be built on Ötvenhatosok Square, while the Hungarian House of Music will be located on the site of the Hungexpo-offices, which are to be pulled down, and the New National Gallery will be constructed behind Petőfi Csarnok, which is also slated for demolition.

Following the announcement of the final result, the detailed planning process, the procuring of the necessary permits and the public procurement procedures will begin in 2015, while construction may commence in 2016 and the buildings will be ready for their inauguration in 2018. The total costs planned for the implementation of the five new museum buildings is 75 billion HUF.

Preserving and further developing the complexity of institutions, which makes Városliget unique all over Europe, within the framework of the Liget Budapest Project new buildings of a European standard will be added to the museums established here more than 100 years ago: a multi-faceted museum quarter, already to be found in many cultural metropolises of the world, will come into being, while the green area of the park will also significantly increase.

For 150 years Budapest’s Városliget has traditionally been catering to the local residents and visitors, equally providing them with opportunities for cultural, entertainment and green leisure activities. Through the construction of the new museum buildings, the complete renewal and expansion of the park’s green area, as well as the reconstruction and development of the institutions already operating here, Városliget will be transformed into one of Budapest’s key tourist and cultural destinations and family event parks making it known all over Europe.