The plan for the implementation of the Museum Quarter gathers speed

10 February 2013.

Five new museum buildings will be constructed through an international architectural competition. The Museum of Fine Arts’ Romanesque Hall will also be renovated and a new conservation-restoration and storage centre will be built.

In addition to the construction of five new museum buildings, the government decree passed at the end of January on the implementation of a new national public collection complex also extends to the renovation of the Romanesque Hall, damaged in World War II and closed ever since, as well as to the development of the National Museum Storage and Reconstruction Centre. Through this decree the government confirmed that the building complex for public collections will include the Museum of Ethnography, the Hungarian Museum of Photography, the New National Gallery – which will be built to house the merged collections of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Hungarian National Gallery –, the Ludwig Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art, the Hungarian House of Music, and the Hungarian Museum of Architecture. The Ministry of Human Resources has to finalise the concept for the international architectural competition by the end of June, which will then be announced in the second half of the year.

By 30 April, along with the with the final concept for the Museum Quarter, plans for the comprehensive utilisation of the City Park harmonising cultural considerations as well as requirements pertaining to the local development plan and urban planning must be completed, including the relocation of the Budapest Circus within the City Park. The objective is to create an attractive cultural and recreational quarter of a European standard. The new storage and restoration centre is planned to be built on the state-owned site formerly occupied by Szabolcs Street hospital.  According to government plans, the development will be declared a priority project in relation to the national economy.

The development of the concept for the new national public collection complex carried out in consultation with the competent professional organisations, local governments and authorities as well as the institutions to be housed in the complex commenced early last year. During the negotiations the stakeholder organisations ensured their support for the concept and agreed that the planned investments will open up unprecedented opportunities for the development of the Hungarian institutional system of public collections. Teams placed in charge of the development of the architectural programme for the new institutions will be set up in February and draft the detailed concept which serves as a basis for the international architectural competition with a deadline of 30 June.

The earliest possible opening date for the new museums to be built in Ötvenhatosok (Fifty-sixers) Square is 2018. According to plans, the development plan of over 70 billion forints, calculated at current prices, will be implemented with funds available in the European Union’s next budgetary cycle, starting in 2014.

The significance of the construction of the new, national public collection complex in Ötvenhatosok Square can only be compared to that of the Millennium building projects of old. The development project will provide the opportunity to preserve and promote our national cultural identity through the establishment of an institutional environment set in a park. The long-term objective of the new national public collection complex and the related development projects is to make the City Park of Budapest one of Europe’s most diverse cultural and tourist centres of outstanding quality. In order to achieve this, it is of the utmost importance to select those internationally recognised areas of Hungarian art which, represented in the Museum Quarter realised through an international architectural competition, will guarantee an outstanding appeal through iconic content coupled with an iconic architectural appearance and contribute to strengthening Hungarian cultural identity. Another important objective is to introduce museum functions within the cultural programmes that have thus far been lacking and can properly showcase the achievements of Hungarian art and cultural history, and to create a synergy between the flagship pieces of Hungarian public collections to be housed in the same complex and the cultural and other entertainment functions found here.