II. Rákóczi Ferenc High School, reconstruction
Keller Ferenc, Sólyom Benedek
Építész Stúdió Kft.
1024 Budapest, Keleti Károly utca 37.
Budapest Award of Architectural Excellence, award certificate, 2006
Over the past almost a century, the renovated and expanded school building has merged with the emblematic mass of the neighboring Church of Christ the King of Rózsadomb (Aladár Árkay, 1926) into an architectural ensemble of urban significance. The walls of the old-and-new educational institution simultaneously preserved the traditions of the school buildings from the beginning of the century and created a new spatial structure of the 21st century.
The retained street tract (entrance, hall, library) remained the heart of the school, and in place of the dismantled back wings, newly built blocks embrace the partially lowered gym that can be connected with the hall. The brick extracted during the demolition of the old wing was used as the cladding material for the new exterior on the precisely constructed, finely composed façades. The greatest and most exciting value of the ensemble seems to be the unity and harmony of the old-new spatial structures, more precisely the previously existing and the new parts. The aula and circulation areas became clear, transparent, freed from the semi-underground situation, and they connected the reinterpreted old parts with the finished new one. The critic describes the relationship between the exterior and the interior with antonyms such as “massiveness – lightness, static – dynamic, closedness – openness, concreteness – abstraction, signal density – neutrality” (Levente Szabó, Magyar Építőművészet, Vol. 2006/2.). The relationship between the façade and the interior is not a simple façadism: their multiple overlaying and interactions are precisely designed yet represent a playfully witty architecture. A high-quality work has been created that makes good use of difficult features and is a remarkable example of the school buildings of the early 2000s.
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