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Richter HQ

The new Richter Gedeon headquarters

One of the most important pharmaceutical companies in East-Central Europe, Richter Gedeon Plc’s new headquarters building, currently under construction, is innovative, aesthetic and environmentally conscious, yet its unique architectural character is characterised by restraint and sobriety. With the headquarters building, which reinforces the company’s identity, Richter aims to continue the trend started with the Chemical Research and Office Building (CRB), to generate a new way of thinking, to support innovation, to facilitate communication between employees and to facilitate the rapid sharing of knowledge and information. Its design should be flexible, open and diverse, taking into account the employees’ perspectives, and reflect Richter’s approach to the environment.

The new headquarters will be built directly next to the Chemical Research and Office Building, which was also designed by ZDA and opened in 2007, and will be connected to it by communal spaces and lobbies. The common park in front of the two buildings will be the main arrival point and the new representative reception area for Richter.

With its unique architectural character, the planned building will stand out among the pharmaceutical buildings on Gyömrői Road. This is reinforced by the fact that the headquarters moves forward from the frontal plane of the KKI: the movement of the frontal planes gives emphasis, while the design of the building conveys lightness and openness. The new headquarters faces the KKI with a large glass surface of curved design, emphasising its connection to the existing research centre.

Nemzeti táncszínház (en)

The rehabilitation of the area of the former Ganz factory took place in the early 2000s. The former industrial buildings received cultural functions. The National Dance Theatre received new home in one of these industrial buildings by the transformation and extension of one.
The designers planned an architectural concept running in two lines which on the one side respects the existing building highlighting its advantages, minimizes the alterations in the indicated area and moves towards the original status before the transformation in 2000, and, on the other side, installs the building part including the necessary new functions in a unit that is able to form a harmonic unit despite the difference (or just benefitting it). After the alteration, the building became a central, determinant element of the park, due to its position and design.

The industrial building resulting from the original function is quite closed, an optimal place for installing the large theatre hall and the connected functions. For the internal layout, great flexibility was an important criterion – to design the lobby and the large hall so that they can host events, ensuring also that the spaces of the lobby and the large auditorium sections can be united to enhance the profitable operation of the building (theatre, events, dinners, concerts etc.).

It was also a crucial objective to increase the intensity of the visual connection between the building and the park. For this purpose, a new lobby was added to the building, a transparent, open, multi-functional space offering intensive connection between the existing hall building and the park. A transitional space which is an always alive, animated and inviting public piazza.

Erkel Színház felújítása (En)

The financial resources provided for the renovation of the largest theatre building in Hungary, even based on the most economical technical solutions, did not make a full reconstruction possible, only the improvement of the conditions of opera playing. A considerable part of the transformation took place in the lobby and behind the scenes. The social welfare spaces and changing rooms were extended, the technical equipment of the stage was modernized and the auditorium received an appropriate ventilation system. The new, youthful and convivial interior design of the lobby expresses the original mission of Erkel Theatre opened in 1911 as People’s Opera with the tools of contemporary architecture. By making the auditorium more comfortable, the number of seats reduced from 1935 to 1816, but this is still the theatre building in Hungary seating the most viewers.

Lóvasút műemlék felújítás (en)

The Zugliget terminal of the Buda Horsecar and later the tram traffic, now a protected building, recovered its one-time beauty in the reconstruction, and, complemented with catering and exhibition spaces, is connected to the circulatory system of Budapest. The almost 150-year building was gradually transformed during the 20th century. Our reconstruction and development plan was aimed to re-establish the original appearance for example by reconstructing the original roof structure which was hidden before.

Művészetek Palotája, Budapest (En)

One of the most significant cultural projects in Central Europe. In Hungary, there has not been any contemporary fine arts museum and concert hall for full orchestra built in a new building for over 100 years – the latter now is recognized as one of the most important classical music venues in the world due to its unique technological background and world-standard acoustical quality.

ZDA Design & Architecture, during the most complex project of its career in Hungary so far, coordinated the work of over 150 Hungarian and foreign designers. The complex houses three independent cultural institutions: the Festival Theatre, which is a 450-seat presenting theatre, Budapest Ludwig Museum and the 1,800-seat Béla Bartók National Concert Hall. The mass of each hall is an auditorium “shell” visibly standing out of the stone-cladded closed mass of the complex. The spaces of the Museum with their different sizes are located on three levels. The three independently operating cultural units are separated in space, but they are connected in the public traffic areas.

The Palace of Arts forms the southern closure of the row of plots on the Pest-side Danube bank between Petőfi Bridge and Lágymányosi Bridge turning towards the city with its main elevation. The lobby with its floor space of several thousand square metres, articulated by multiple levels, serves all three cultural units, opens with a glass wall to the square designed in front of it in its entire internal height, creating a direct connection with the life of the city and the surrounding cultural institutions. Numerous applied and fine artists took part in forming the interior, since a contemporary building is a multidisciplinary joint creation conceived by architecture and fellow arts, which, in this case, was realized at a high standard.

The heart of the building is the “shoebox”-shaped Béla Bartók Concert Hall which offers an acoustical experience that is outstanding also at global level. The last project of cutting-edge acoustic expert Russell Johnson deservedly received the recognition of the world.
The acoustics of the concert hall can be adjusted in a flexible manner according to the performer’s demands by the three-element movable acoustic canopy floating over the concert stage, the system of huge reverberation chambers installed along the sidewalls of the hall and by the movable curtains. Since the opening of the building, productions that were not possible before in Hungary could be realized here: such as Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 or the Budapest Wagner Festival which has become world-renowned since.
The ornament of the hall is the concert organ occupying the wall behind the stage with its size considered significant in Hungary and also in Europe. The internal character of the concert hall was made unique by sculptor György Jovánovics’s creation, the coloured gypsum cladding of wall surfaces serving acoustical purposes as well.

The multifunctional theatre hall of the Festival Theatre is an intimate space as compared to the monumental concert hall. Its internal design, in contrast to the soft lines of the concert hall, conveys masculine, robust forces. The wood panelling, referring to the contemporary concept of Hungarian folk art, was designed in cooperation with sculptor Sándor Ambrus. The hall, together with the connected well-equipped rehearsal rooms, is suitable for receiving dance theatre productions, musical theatre guest performances, minor classical music concerts or chamber operas.

Ludwig Museum is located in the quietest part of the complex, the Danube side, and, resulting from the geometry of the site and the museum’s function, is separated from the spaces receiving the performance halls. The city panorama and the rooms of the museum are in an incessant dialogue; the panorama of Budapest is revealed again and again through the glass walls of the landings of the staircase and the exhibition spaces.

The exhibition spaces on the first floor of the “white box” type museum is the venue of highly frequented temporary exhibitions, the second exhibition level may have diverse functions, while the spaces of the third exhibition level with their high, skylighted interiors house the permanent exhibitions displaying the pieces of the Budapest Ludwig Museum.

Shenzhen Operaház (En)

The proposal by ZDA for the 2020 international competition for the design of the Shenzhen Opera House creates a gateway to the sea, an iconic symbol of the dynamically developing city and a nation in the economic and cultural sense.

The plan makes an attempt to realize a building on the seafront of Shenzhen City that reflects the passionate form elements of the traditional opera genre, but, with its contemporary appearance, also aligns with the cityscape and the waves of the sea.

ZDA’s design for Shenzhen Opera House can best be described through the metaphor of a bustling and lively age-old tree standing on top of a rock, symbolizing the ancient tree of culture. The three great vertical units of cultural buildings, as an allegory for roots, trunk, and foliage, are symbolized by the triad of service, public, and performance areas.

Monumental and intimate

There seems to be a contradiction between the Opera building as a “monument” and the personal and cathartic artistic activity that takes place within it. However, the architects strongly believe that the duality of the generosity of the site and the intimacy of the auditoriums and lobbies can be resolved if the individual functional units are developed in separate parts of the building. This human scale of the individual cultural units is ensured by the three independent foyers placed on the elevated Cultural Main Square overlooking the sea. This way the foyers of the halls, which operate at different times, live and breathe with their auditoriums.

At the same time, the lively cultural main square between the buildings has the potential to become an important meeting place for Shenzhen residents. Visitors are invited to stroll under arches on the generous, rain-protected square floating above the sea, and sit contemplating the world go by on the steps of the outdoor amphitheaters formed by the stairs.

Tradition and adjustability

The design concept combines the results of the rapid development of acoustic and theater technology with the knowledge and tradition of acoustic spaces of the 19th century. This can be achieved by invoking their community character while improving the acoustics and resolving issues of restricted visibility.

When designing the four auditoriums – the Opera Hall (2,100 seats), the Concert Hall (1,800 seats), the Operetta Hall (800 seats) and the Chamber Hall (640 seats) – the architects sought the possibility for diverse use with the help of the latest technologies. Alongside their main functions, each hall offers the possibility to accommodate additional genres with simple, innovative solutions. This is made possible by the use of theater technology and through variable acoustic elements.

The plan unites the generous expectations of the city of Shenzhen: the new Opera House can become the symbol of the city – but it also enables the creation of a modern but human-scale world through virtuoso technical services to support the performance genres. 

Futian Kulturális Épületek (En)

The purpose of the Chinese project comprising five different cultural institutions was to redefine the already existing buildings in a modern way according to their functions (redesign and reconstruction).
In the concept amalgamating the Chinese and the modern architectural language in a coherent manner, creating a uniform cultural image, the architects strived to make the five buildings receiving different institutions – theatre, music, dance, piano education and youth culture – distinctive within the general cityscape, and to make the type of the represented cultural activity

Dongying új városközpontjának terve (En)

The development plan for the new 10-km long riverbank city centre of Dongying city in the area of Lake Qingfeng and the Yellow River responds to the demands of the management of the Chinese city with the lessons learnt from traditional European city architecture. ZDA’s concept raises the concentrated development of residential, commercial and public buildings to the level which the architects think to be the guarantee for the successful operation of a city born in the 21th century by the appropriate architectural shaping of pedestrian zones, public transport and public spaces according to their importance.

The concept determines four well-determined development units along a right-angled cross of axes designated by the river and the lakeshore:

  1. Office quarter in the current city centre
  2. Quarter for educational and scientific research buildings on the other side of the river
  3. Pedestrian zone perpendicular to the river with cultural and commercial functions, to the west
  4. Sports and olympic area perpendicular to the river, to the east

Based on a preliminary study reviewing ten European riverside cities, three basic features of European traditions were put across in the design of the new quarter:

  • The variety of the cityscape was ensured by groups of architects working in parallel, along the same concept, independently from each other on designing the various parts of the city.
  • Complying with the European urban development trends, the riverbank was formed, with restrictions of vehicle traffic, as a pedestrian recreational and community zone in organic connection with the public buildings oriented towards the riverbank.   
  • Special emphasis was given in the plan to the shaping of public spaces and streets since, based on the European experiences, these affect the comfort of citizens the most. The proportion between the sizes of buildings and streets is crucial in modern city planning – the spaces in between are formed not only by practical necessities, but these serve the needs of citizens. The architects strived in their plan to shape European-scale proportions, and proved that both the number of buildings and the covered surface can be increased.

Based on the above, 16 development areas with different characters were determined the architectural design of which may influence the cityscape of Dongying in the following decades. The development of each quarter was formed in consideration of typical European urban traditions and spatial forms – or even specific European prefigurements – and the Chinese demands. A further detailed conceptual design was prepared for the residential quarter and the Yellow River Museum. ZDA’s urban-scale proposal is an exciting experiment to transplant European traditions into the radically different Chinese environment where the resources are available for an efficient urban development with modern approach.

  • Olympic Park – the sight of the lakeshore and the possibility of public transport justifies the choice of venue for the would-be olympic facilities
  • Qingfeng Lake – with pavilions floating on the water and underground car parks inside the mountain
  • Science Park and Campus – science park following the model of European and North-American campuses which can be a worthy symbol of Dongying’s oil research
  • Yellow River Window – the museum of the Yellow River – by extending an existing building, with intensive connection with the river
  • Shopping Arcade – shopping streets with European-style closed retail outlets
  • Theatre Square – semi-circular design with arcades
  • Hotel Square – with landscaped, terraced design and vista to the river
  • Navona Square
  • Leisure Center – following the model of the Sony Center in Berlin
  • City Park – following the model of Városliget in Budapest
  • Little Europe – leisure centre with replicas of the streets of five European waterside cities
  • Amsterdam residential and office quarter
  • Venice residential quarter
  • Malmö residential and office quarter
  • Yellow River Cultural Expo – contemporary high-rise buildings representing Dongying’s “city gate”
  • Copenhagen luxury residential and office quarter