zda logo png

Magyar Állami Operaház felújítása (En)


Renovation of a 19TH century masterpiece

The Opera house, which was first opened on 24th September 1884, is a renaissance building, a masterpiece of Hungarian eclectic architecture, and a heritage building of European standing.

The use of state-of-the-art technology of the 19th century earned the Opera House its enviable reputation as one of the best of its kind in Europe. The public areas of the Opera House are spacious, elegant and opulent, reflecting the high expectations of its patrons of the time. In the horseshoe- shaped three-story auditorium the ceiling is decorated with murals and a beautiful chandelier made of bronze.

The Opera House was last renovated in 1982. After 35 years, the technology used for the stage and for the building itself had become largely obsolete, and the building needed a full refurb. Every element of the building was examined and documented using point cloud and other digital techniques to assist in the planning of the renovation. The renovation works were carried out in a BIM system in which ZDA collaborated with hundreds of experts, engineers, artists and restoration professionals in what was one of the most challenging projects of its kind in the past decade in Hungary. The renovation process is now nearing completion and the final handover is expected in early 2022.

The Restoresd Auditorium

After a complete restoration of the Lotz fresco, the likewise restored chandelier was returned to its original place in the ceiling.

The capacity of the 1,289-seat auditorium was reduced to its original capacity of  1,035, and the narrow cinema seats that were added in the    1950s will be replaced by comfortable armchairs.

World- Class Acoustics

The acoustics of the auditorium were a key consideration in the renovation process. The aim was to restore the original acoustic attributes of the exceptionally high-quality theatre building designed by the original architect, combining the best practices of that time with the latest 21st-century technology. Numerous changes have been implemented in order to improve the overall sound experience, including changing the orchestra pit back into a reverberation chamber. The 1,289-seat capacity of the auditorium will be reduced to its original capacity of 1,035, and the narrow cinema seats that were added in the 1950s will be replaced by comfortable armchairs

Adapting to the latest requirements

The grand staircase was restored to its original 19th-century condition, with subtle modifications to improve the functionality of the space. The lighting within the space was also significantly improved. The gates leading to the side staircases were opened, creating a safe fire escape route. In order that the facility should be able to host other types of programmes, the staircase was equipped with cutting-edge  audio equipment

Coordinating the restoration works

Under the terms of a design and build contract, the architects at ZDA monitored the construction process at every step. Coordinating the work of the restoration experts and the engineers was necessary to ensure that the coherence of the 19th-entury spaces was preserved. The intricate details of both the internal and the external spaces could only be restored to their former glory through the work of the very best restoration professionals.

Duna-parti lakóház, Budakalász (En)

A characteristically unique, but still simple and architectonic residence resulting from the joint and free thinking together with the clients. The geometric forms and flowing internal spaces of the almost “raw” building are translated into a contrasting composition by the use of colours and materials. The strong base colours used on the elevations are counterbalanced by the rustic surface of local stone and the colouring of the interior made by the designs of a painter. The organic ease of the Danube-bank house is a quality alternative to the traditional creativity – arising from the home-made craftsmanship – of the neighbouring holiday cottages.

Intermodális Központ, Debrecen (En)

The joint plan of ZOBOKI-DEMETER and Associates Architects and MÉRTÉK Architectural Studio proposes an urban public area which, beyond being the transportation node described in the tender invitation, following the model of marketplaces, becomes the node of daily routine activities as well. Due to the recommended urban architectural solutions, the intermodal public transport centre created around the Debrecen Railway Station serves transfer passengers so that, thanks to the wide-ranging and easy-to-access services, the interests of private investors, public service providers and individual users are all satisfied. The majority of commercial and service-providing units installed in connection to the train, tram and bus terminal is available on the terrain level. The road serving also the traffic passing through the city is taken under the ground in the section in front of the railway station. The heart of the node, the Railway Station designed by László Kelemen, is a significant work of the modern architecture of the 60s the skylight of which inspired the arches forming the spatial walls of the node. The central hall that is currently unused may become the central space of intermodality. The adjoining stone-cladded event space surrounded by a row of arcades invokes the atmosphere of antique agoras. Thanks to the refreshing effect of the water surface and the luxuriant trees, the upgraded, humanized public space system of the neighbourhood of the railway station becomes the venue of arrival and the dynamic city existence. The halls of the event centre which are able to receive 100 to 300 persons and are connected to the intermodal complex contribute to the functional, business and cultural offer of the centre.

Our programme, with respect to the volume of urban intervention and its community benefit, recommends realising the functional complex independently of EU investments, as a private development.

Nanshan Kulturális központ (En)

In China’s New York, Shenzhen, a project that is outstanding even at international scale was realized in ZDA’s general planning contractorship in cooperation with local architects: the new cultural, sports and leisure centre of the Nanshan District. There was no building of such size and importance built abroad on the basis of the plans of a Hungarian architectural practice before.
The city of Shenzhen in South China with its 16 million inhabitants is the face of people’s China shown towards the “western“ world – its architectural design is prepared by world-class practices. The management of Nanshan District, in the course of a European study trip in 2007, seeing the architectural and technological level of the Budapest Palace of Arts designed by ZDA, decided to continue its already started cultural project with the involvement of the Hungarian office.

The newly built city space was a new cultural and leisure centre for Nanshan with several millions of inhabitants: to the already existing library building, a cultural centre with two theatre halls suitable for opera and children’s theatre function, a contemporary art museum, an open-air theatre and a sports complex were added, the latter being suitable for swimming events as well. In the large main square providing space for great mass events, an open-air theatre and a huge fountain with a unique plastic art work were also envisaged.

The multifunctional large auditorium of the Cultural Center is able to serve various demands from drama productions through all genres of musical theatre productions to concerts and galas. The flexible use is ensured by the variable stage size and acoustical environment. This is where a raising and lowering ceiling in its entire size above the auditorium was first used, which is an acoustical feat. With the movable ceiling, the dynamically waving system of galleries and the individual appearance of the solid wood panelling, the auditorium is considered one of the theatre halls with the best qualities in China. The metal cladding appearing on the elevation is made of individually designed aluminium elements floating as a membrane in front of the vivid red elevation (illuminated at night).
The lobby with high interior height embracing all levels of the building opens towards the square with a huge glass façade. The auditoriums are bounded by red and blue slanting and arched wall surfaces displaying the masks of Chinese theatre magnified enormous. The white communication ribbons wrapping round the masks hide the stairs and lifts.

Our office designed also the concept of the elevation, technology and interior design of the museum. Adjusted to the local museum and institutional principles, the demands of the artists exhibited in the house and the international museum trends, the possibility was created for displaying various exhibitions from blockbusters to traditional Chinese folk art. Exhibition spaces with various characters were created to receive exhibitions with different demands. These are connected by a lobby zone that may also be used as a spectacular event space.

The entire architectural and technical design process of the cultural complex and the square up to the design development phase performed by the design team consisting of Hungarian and foreign engineers was coordinated by ZDA. Differently from the domestic exercise, the project was approached not only by architectural and engineering studies, but also by a series of functional and building technique studies, investing extraordinary energy into creating the programme. This made it possible for the professional and political clients to be involved in the task and become almost co-creators regarding usage and operational issues that were not properly thought over earlier. During the authorization process and the preparation of construction plans, ZDA worked together with three Chinese architectural offices. By checking the construction designs of the detailed English and Chinese documentations, coordinating the construction process down to the most important details, thanks to the devoted on-site work of the Chinese colleagues and the multiple on-site coordination of the office, the building complex was completed in excellent quality.

Dongying Sárga-folyó Múzeum

The museum of Dongying city is an integral part of the new cultural and commercial district growing on the bank of the Guang Li River, the urban architectural concept of which was conceived also by ZDA. The urban architectural design study for the new district and outstanding buildings of the Chinese oil city with several million inhabitants in the mouth of the Yellow River makes the birth of a modern Chinese city along European architectural traditions possible. The museum planned as a part of the urban architectural concept displays the historic, cultural and natural heritage of the region in a modern and complex manner. 

Two versions were prepared for the plan of the building concept:

  • Following the theme of the museum, the building is in direct physical connection with the Guang Li River, and it becomes an emphatic element of the river bank.
  • The separated units with different topics are connected by a spectacular common lobby, a helical glazed atrium, enriching the complex of exhibition spaces with an exciting community space. 

Richter Gedeon Kémai Kutató- és Irodaépület (En)

One of the fortresses of pharmaceutical research in Eastern and Central Europe was erected in the spirit that this space complying with the complex technological parameters has an imperceptible effect on the exceptionally high-level research work, also beyond functionality, with its mentality. The mutual feature of natural sciences and architecture is that they both – standing on the narrow boundary of the rational and the spiritual – try to penetrate into areas which cannot be demarcated merely by rational rules.

In the course of this dialogue between innovation and architecture, regarding the work presented here, the goal was to create a central space which, with its spirit, is able to make an imperceptible effect on the research work performed in Gedeon Richter.
This is why the designers can be especially proud that the research and office building of the leading pharmaceutical company of Eastern and Central Europe, due to the outstanding laboratory technology, became the most modern pharmaceutical research institution of the region.

The building complex bearing organic and futuristic features at the same time could be realized thanks to exceptional structural solutions, and is one of the highest-level projects of the office also from execution point of view.
The building consists of two elegant and innovative wings: one provides the space for the administrative background of the pharma group, while in the other, the special laboratories complying with state-of-the-art technology requirements were installed.

The true architectural attraction of the house is the plastically designed spacious lobby found between the two building wings offering a special “exterior-interior space” experience due to the unique glass construction. Inside this space, an arched white body swerves like a Möbius strip somewhere as a gallery, somewhere as an open staircase space: the powerful bridges arching like sculptures create the inseparable, but still flexible connection in space between the office and research parts of the building.

Between the wings of the building, in the rear courtyard, the NMR laboratory equipped with strong magnetic instruments is installed. These “sanctuaries”, designed for keeping the magnetic clearance zone of the instruments, with their broken surfaces and sharp masses counterbalance the flowing bridges of the lobby.

Somlói Lakópark (En)

Somlói Residential Park is one of the most significant exclusive residential complexes of the capital consisting of 56 apartments on Gellért Hill. The dynamic shaping of the contemporary residential complex in the park-like environment is a new colour among the elegant villas. The flexibility of floor spaces allows for a maximum freedom in the posterior fit-out of apartments.
In the architectural phrasing of the complex consisting of three building masses situated in the residential quarter of Gellért Hill among family homes, a fundamental aspect was fitting in the park-like environment and being adjusted to the scale of the elegant villas of the neighbourhood, and at the same time ensuring the flexibility and comfort expected from a contemporary residential complex. Along Somlói Road, we created a spatial wall fitting to the scale of neighbouring buildings, and the apartments are oriented towards the large internal garden with existing ancient trees. The internal space of the L-shaped composition is occupied by a large park, so the ground-floor apartments are also oriented towards the green. Already from the first floor and up, the vista of the city and Sashegy can be enjoyed. The horizontally elongated building mass is divided into three parts, and the alteration of block-like closed and opened elevation units further enhance this triple division. The dominant elements of the opened elevations are the powerful horizontal lines of the terrace slabs in front of the pulled-back glass walls. The external contour of the building mass is defined by the sliding shade panels installed at the edge of the terraces. A basic feature of the apartments is the flexibility of floor space. On the uppermost level, apartments realized at even higher quality level were designed with greater floor space, where each living space can be opened towards the roof terrace and the panorama.

Albertfalva városközpont (En)

Albertfalva is one of the most powerfully developing Danube-bank areas of South-Budapest. By examining the 77-hectare area, ZDA’s architects prepared an urban-planning concept by extending the existing infrastructure and determining the frameworks of real estate development with a vision of the mixed-function quarter for 2020-25.

The plots situated on the boundary of South-Buda, Albertfalva and Budafok occupy an area of urban architectural importance which is suitable for becoming an external city centre beside the Kelenföld Railway Station.
The study looked for an answer to the question of how to create a real infrastructural connection having also a symbolic value between the new Danube-bank city complex and Csepel Island. The seven-story residential bridge shows an example of a new type of real estate development and the public-private partnership on the one side, and makes a proposal for a new landmark for Budapest on the other.

This long-term urban architectural vision may designate the direction for the later development of the area. The architectural concept is fundamentally determined by the intent that the 110,000-m2 investment to be realized first should form an independent unit which foreshadows the architectural quality that may develop in the area in the long run, and which may at the same time become part of a comprehensive urban architectural concept as well.
The morphology and land relief conditions of the area were studied on a Sc 1:2000 city model. With the building complex adjusted to the terrain, the architects wished to create the northern spatial wall of the valley. The erection of tall buildings and, in the long run, a high-rise was envisaged, since this is the only architectural solution which results in high prestige even in the case of a real estate development concept with a lower budget.
The design area is split into two by Szerémi Road. On the right side of the road three towers were placed and one on the left side plot, while in the place of the current filling station two medium-height buildings were planned. The plots are connected by the pedestrian bridge running on the 2nd floor. The masses are rising towards Szerémi Road to emphasize the gate character of the area. In the long run, even a high-rise building can be imagined in the place of the 55-m tower.

For the external covering of the buildings, a prefabricated concrete elevation cladding-system has been worked out which supports fast construction on the one side, and allows flexible mass and elevation shaping on the other.

Stone Hotel, Esztergom (En)

Conceptual design of a  5+1-star, 220-room, medical-wellness hotel unique in Hungary in an exceptional environment, on Prímás Island near Esztergom. 

The 5+1-star recreational centre planned on Prímás Island serves intellectual and physical regeneration in the classic sense. Breaking with the traditional hotel forms, the functions invoking the rich Hungarian spa culture are placed in separate, sculpturally shaped buildings. The complex is positioned in the middle of the island; the floodplain forest at the edge of the island remains untouched.
Community functions are housed in low buildings hidden among the trees, oriented towards the little branch of the Danube, while the hotel rooms are placed in the towers with stone-cladded elevation, alining on the Danube side. The building units are connected on the ground floor by a communication system articulated by internal atriums with glass walls providing close contact with nature for the guests. The environment with ancient trees flows into the atrium-like bays of the building units, and the high-scale complex, apart from saving the trees, organically fits in with the lush environment. The forest around the hotel, with the built walking paths and garden pavilions, also serves recreation and relaxation. The building and the untouched nature form an organic unit both functionally and visually, and looking from the Danube and the city, only the megalithic residential towers peer out from the foliage of the trees as characteristic landscape elements.