Occupying the entire north side of Szilágyi Dezső tér, a Unesco World Heritage Site, the landmark-protected neo-renaissance Neuschloss Palace (designed by Kornél Neuschloss in 1898) was the subject of a roof conversion tender announced by the owners. Bidders were invited to submit works aimed solely at the utilization of natural light within what was to become the loft level. We thought it was rather commendable of the tendering party to only focus on this one crucial aspect, rather than expecting comprehensive drafts, functional layouts, as well as structural, mechanical, and interior design concepts. That is not to say these elements are to be overlooked, tough, if one is to devise a proper solution to the question at hand. As the tendering party did not provide a functional program, either, we came up with our own that could be summarized as follows: the designing of four full-service luxury loft units, each offering generous floorspace and sweeping views of the cityscape and the Danube River. Although no winning bid was selected, multiple submissions were purchased – including ours.
Located on the promenade stretching between the Parliament and the Government Building, at the mouth of Markó utca is the spot where a statue of former social democrat politician Anna Kéthly had been envisioned. In a restricted tender, sculpture artist Tamás Varga submitted his bid and asked me to partner with him as landscape architect. A quote from the bid: “… The planned sculpture is to present one of the foremost thinkers of the 20th century, a charismatic leader of social democracy and the feminist movement, and among the first women parliamentarians… Just like a mythological creature, she has her own living arbour. I believe that’s the least such a larger-than-life female personality deserves…” According gosto tender announcement, bids were supposed to be assessed on 8 May 2014. Instead, the procedure was terminated on behalf of the tenderers (District Mayor Antal Rogán and Speaker of the Parliament László Kövér) without the results ever being announced.
Perched on a steep hill – once a vineyard, nowadays more of a wild forest –, this house is designed in a spot currently occupied by a commercial building. Fully adhering to the contours of the existing structure, the blueprints also allow for winter use. No public utilities other than electricity are available on the plot. If the project does go into construction, the building will need to be near-autonomous. While an interesting project, we never got past the first round of concept planning. Should this property re-emerge any time in the future, it would be hugely inspiring to elaborate a passive house concept, complete with on-site wastewater treatment and maximized non-utility power generation.