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Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

Hungary Architecture News - Mar 15, 2023 - 09:37   1640 views

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

Elements and materials, made of pine plywood, elegantly-designed partitions, pine wood veneer cubicles are added as a series of playful elements to a play and community center in Budapest, Hungary.

Called Pannka Part, the space, designed by Budapest-based architecture studio Archikon Architects, is the transformation of the ground floor of the Palatinus House, built in 1911 and known one of the most luxurious and modern buildings of its time.

The studio was commissioned to refurbish the ground floor of this historic building, located in the heart of a vibrant residential district with access to the shore of the Danube, as a play and community center by the local council.

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

Gifted to the local community with the renovation of the once broken-down historic space, the one-of-a-kind play and community center provides a playful and engaging space to children aged 0-6. 

The sensitively-renovated building turns into a space that encourages positive interactions with the built environment.

"Budapest is a city characterized by the stratification of its rich and complex architectural history, so it is not surprising that architects find themselves retrofitting historic spaces for new and emerging contemporary programs," said Archikon Architects. 

"Often these programs are still undergoing definition in terms of what spatial arrangements they require, so the challenge of finding a home for them within a historic shell is a particularly stimulating task," the studio added.

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

The building has distinguished features, with extreme interior heights and large portals which yield a spectacular view of the Danube, Margaret Island and the Buda Hills. 

The studio's goal was to preserve the integrity and grandeur of the original space while segmenting it in necessary ways that are in line with the organizational logic of the building. 

Based on the context and history of the building, the studio kept the architectural expression and intervention as minimal, letting the children and the specifically designed toys fill the space with vibrance and life. 

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

Inside, a challenging task for the studio was to introduces compelling cross-visibilities across the different play spaces. According to the architects, these new visual and physical connections should have made the geometry of the historic space visible as a whole.

Even if the activity rooms are separated from each other, they remain connected through large interior glazings beneath the ceiling.

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

"This enhances the navigability of the centre while ensuring that parents and children are welcomed into a space that not only feels comfortable but also secure," said the studio. 

"The large glazings above the partitions also guarantee that sunlight can enter inner activity rooms as well, minimizing the reliance on artificial lighting." 

"The characteristic façade openings not only provide a remarkable view of the Danube, but also activate the community by inviting new families to utilize the facilities of the play centre," the studio continued.

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

At the heart of the centre there is a free play area for kids. While passing the street, this space, which has a particularly fresh, calm, and friendly atmosphere, are entriely visible to passersby and visitors.

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

Material choice and implementation play a key role to define the space. It can be easily seen that the use of pine plywood dominates the interiors.

Besides the replastered structural walls, the studio uses pine as the primary interior finish whcih can be seen on the added elements. 

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

Pine plywood, an engineered wood made from thin layers of wood veneers that are glued together, is used to cover all new partitions while all specifically designed furniture is made out of pine wood veneer. 

This way the architectural expression of the space remains a backdrop to the colourful life that the children and toys bring into the environment. 

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

The office uses colors only in the bathroom area, where visitors are confronted by the vibrance of the coral mosaic. 

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

The playful reception desk, placed between the structural walls, is made of a large pegboard and complements the overall design language in the interior.

The program elements of space include entrance, dining area, reception, play area, activity room, plant room, storage, kitchenette and office. 

"An activity that is a necessity in these developmental years and one which often proves to be challenging for young parents in an urban setting," said the studio.

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

Ground floor plan

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

Mezzanine floor plan

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

Section A

Archikon Architects revives community center with powder-colored and light elements in Budapest

Section B

Archikon Architects was founded in 1989 in Budapest. The office earned a reputation as one of Hungary’s leading architectural practices for innovative reconfigurations of buildings, respecting existing structures, while creating new space. 

Project facts

Project name: Pannka Part

Architects: Archikon Architects

Location: Budapest, Hungary

Completion year: 2022

Gross Built Area: 352m2

Lead Architects: Csaba Nagy, Károly Pólus, Petra Reményi, Miklós Batta, Bence Várhidi

Structural Engineer: Gábor Cséfalvay

Building Engineers: Zoltán Sor, Tamás Csőke

Electrical Engineer: István Karácsony

Client: Budapest Capital 13th District Mayor’s Office

Contractor: SZIN-KER. Építő Kft. 

All images © Balázs Danyi.

All drawings © Archikon Architects.

> via Archikon Architects

Archikon Architects budapest community center plywood wood