A jewel at the heart of Budapest’s City Park, the striking Hungarian House of Music (HHM) is conceived as an integral piece of the parkland and a visual encapsulation of the vitality of music.
THE IMPORTANCE OF PLACE
Like the art of Hungarian music, the HHM is rooted in identity derived from the notion of place. The architecture aims to capture this spirit of place. The building is orientated along a strong existing axis within the park. The main entrances collect tourists, school classes, families and others arriving from all directions. With its open exhibition space within the front atrium space, the HHM presents an engaging face to passers-by and visitors. Likewise, the lake-facing facade opens out onto the park at ground level with the cafe and shop directly accessible from this side.
Depending on its orientation each external area has its own character and material which relate to those at ground. Formed by the roofs of the spiralling exhibition spaces below, each piece of the roof park rises to be a storey higher than the last. The amphitheatre sits at the centre of the park spiral, overlooking the lake to create a stunning and unique performance experience.
TURNING MUSIC INTO A BUILDING
The glazed facade of the snaking forms of the building are enlivened by a variable modulation of internal sound shutters that can be pivoted completely or partially in open or shut positions to form a black and white layering to the envelope. The shutters are regularly spaced, centre-pivoted timber slats which run the full double height of the exhibition spaces and are an easy arm’s length across. One side of the shutters are sound absorbing through the use of perforations and tissue-faced insulation, the other side is finished to be a reflective surface. The absorbent face is stained ebony, the reflective face treated to be ivory in colour.
The shutters can be used to shade from external sun and light if required for exhibitions, but can also be manually rotated to control the sound environment of each space.As well as offering control to the internal spaces, the rhythm and movement they create is a continuously changing composition of ripples across the elevations.
THE PARK SPIRAL
At ground level the public space surrounding the HHM literally flows through the building. The compact form of the building limits the effect of the footprint on the park and the lost green and activity spaces are transferred to the roof levels of the HHM. Reached either via the public escalator or via the exhibition circulation nodes, the roof is almost entirely accessible.
The arrangement of internal spaces is rational, functional, and innovative in the way it creates myriad potential journeys through the institution. The main entrances bring the public and visitors into the foyer from which there are a series of directions, journeys and shortcuts that can be taken.
Adjacent to the entrance foyer space a dramatic escalator rises the height of the building to take the public onto the rooftop parkland areas and to the open air amphitheatre situated at the top of the building. From these vantage points, views to the some of the wonderful sights of the City Park, and landmarks of Budapest embed the building in its place.