1. Author’s vision
A museum conserves and preserves a story, clarifies a thought and also supports a pedagogical path. So the house of music too is witness, in the specific, of the musical world. The museum is an artistic container that assumes continually different connotations.
Looking at the Hungarian music experience of the last century, Béla Bartok finds these aspects in his extensive and outstanding musical work. The ” Mikrokosmos ” huge piano work composed from 1926 to 1939, consisting in six volumes and 153 songs. The history of Hungarian music lives on in all these short forms of music, which often draw from the rich heritage of folk music that Bartok lovingly collected, studied and assimilated. The musical inventions of the Hungarian master are subtly responsive to spontaneous manifestations of nature and draw nourishment from its immense world of expressions. The educational function is not limited to an act purely pianistic, but produces also stimuli which, if well received, generate profitable musical and intellectual energies.
2. Architectural concept
The site sits roughly in the middle of the Liget Park in Budapest, overlooked by the surrounding green areas, colonized by dense wild local vegetation.
It has not been so easy to set in such particular area: inside an historical park, site of symbolic importance in Hungarian national history. A lot of importance has been given to the protection of Varosliget’s existing green areas to keep it primarily as a public park and new museum buildings with their sustainable principles of planning will most certainly provides positive features and qualities responding to the City park contemporary needs.
Realizing new museums could be an add value to the park because they will improve the tourists attraction and the services as connections with the city and everyday maintenance of the park, they could be the way to improve infrastructure connections. Using the museums area in a better way could be increased the ecological values and biological activities, the reduction of noises and pollution, and the reinforcement of pollinators of the park in general.
3. Site relations
The main principle behind the conception of the project was to create an object, which opposed and refuted the dichotomy between architecture and nature, by merging and mirroring the universe between vegetation and the built environment in order to create a continuity of landscapes and spaces bathed in greenery.
The Hungarian House Music has been conceived initially as a sort of pipe that runs into the park. It’s the right way to have an exhibition path where the objects and the installations follow one to the other and visitors flow in a continuous route. As the music evolves and changes following the rhythm and a harmonic sequence also the museum is conceived as a developing route where the installations are positioned in sequence and could be also followed by a music that changes and evolves itself along the path. So, the pipe becomes the main path that moves around the trees and the negative spaces are left as patios where all the existing trees are preserved. Sitting between the museum and reflecting walls inside the patios is the surrounding scene which acts as a natural buffer zone for visitors.
In that way walking inside the museum, the visitor never loses the visual contact with the park and the sensation of being in the green surrounding areas researching a continue tension between interior and exterior.
The visitor’s route takes place in the park, flowing between the trees trunks and the exhibition area is characterized by huge and fluent spaces. Here it can both has a sequence of smallest rooms with several kinds of installation and at the same time a main route where the visitors follow a story, a tale, lessons or just a musical installation that chances going on with the route inside the museum. All is made possible in a flexible and dynamic space made with mobile walls inside the exhibition space and double walls along the perimeter and the patios. The backdrop of the interior walls here are not anonymous boxes designed essentially as functional containers for works of art: architecture is in the exclusive service of art.
Reading the architectural and landscape composition together one appreciates that the building has been developed in one floor high contributing to have the minimum impact in such important place as the Liget Park. Only a small portion in the north side of the area has a first floor dedicated to the events, where it has been possible to realize a deeper dig because of the demolition of existing buildings. The highest object stratum comes to rest at 15m above ground level. The particular position for the open air theatre complete the events route on the top of the building with an unusual view on the park. On the roof the vegetation has been retained and re-enforced adding to the bucolic atmosphere composition around the series of landscaped areas. The bulk of the parking was consciously placed underground to minimize the impact of the car traffic in the site area whilst maximizing the existing panoramic view seen of the site from the rooftop.
Simply explained, the functional list contains roughly 8000 sqm shared into four macro areas: the entrance hall including shop and café; from here the temporary and permanent exhibition area is developed in a continuous path; the main visitor’s route ends in the learning and event area separated into two floors spaces dedicated to educational and workshop facilities upstairs and finally the route breaks the limit of the roof and ends in the open air theatre from where you can have a particular view on the surrounding park.
The main access is characterized by an opened area along the boundaries of the building. It’s a sort of square, an open space museum with several installations that works as atrium for the museum.
4. Operation and technology
The building’s volume is enclosed by articulated surfaces that have a facade of reflecting glass and mirroring panels, reflecting the surroundings during the day and transforming into a radiating crystal at night. The panels do not all lie in the same plane but are rotated slightly with respect to one another, reflecting the surrounding landscape in different ways taking up the idea of the moving sound waves. As the sound oscillations winding sinuously around a main directional axis, so the technology of the facade, made of mirrored panels tilted according to several different angles alternating with strips of wood, reply a fluid and dynamic environmental reflection here transposed from sound to image. In this way the building is dematerialized and completely lost inside the existing surrounding and thanks to the different angle of the panels reflects different portions of landscape in order to create a striking and dynamic visual wave.
The special technology of the mirrored panel also allows the complete mimesis with the surrounding nature in the different moments of the year. The building will therefore “behave” according to the natural course of events, changing colors, brightness, intensity, opacity and transparency, following also the cycles of the seasons and the weather changes.
The alternation between opaque and transparent panels depends on the incidence of the sun in different seasons in the constant search of efficiency and energy optimization. Therefore, thought as a great light filter, the building, because of this inherent ability to adapt to the environment, creates environments where is guaranteed a high quality of life in terms of comfort climate and lighting and gives elegance and quality to the building.
5. Supporting structure
Starting from macro shots taken by Mierswa Kluska that capture the interior of a violin, cello, flute and pipe organ as if they were spacious airy chambers, filled with sunlight breaking from little cracks on the walls, the intention was to recreate the experience of walking inside musical instrument with an atmosphere of mightiness and mystery.
This unusual point of view and the traditional material used for the musical instrument since the most ancient time the idea of using wood as construction material was one of the main principle we had in planning the Hungarian House of Music. Wood is sustainable building material that protects against noise pollution, air pollution and electromagnetic, cost-effective, lightweight, invulnerable to the earthquake and most durable material that nature has to offer but also influenced by the environmental conditions in which it is inserted.
The structure has been conceived as a regular grid that gently follows the contours of the roof floor with his slight inclination necessary to guest the open air theatre. Inside the punctual structure that supports the wooden grid is camouflaged with the few trunks of the trees remained inside the building. In that way the idea of walking in a park is always performed.
Sustainability or Sustainable development is a complex term often used in an imprecise way. In its most general definition it can be defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. [The Bruntland report, 1987]
But in order to implement sustainability in a project design one has to find a way of defining the term further. In this project the team started by doing a broad analysis looking at the general global issues regarding sustainability through the definition given in the Nature article; Planetary Boundaries. This gave some critical insight in the global questions that could then be related to Budapest and the site. Further the site was examined in regard to hydrology, ecology, social- and architectural values as well as cultural heritage in order to further inform the design process.
In this proposal BREEAM was chosen as a way to provide that definition and scope of sustainability. Since a museum building is a so called non-standard building type and must undergo a scoping and tailoring exercise to facilitate a BREEAM assessment and rating, the exact scope of a review is hard to foresee. Even so the team did a broad preliminary review to ensure that the proposal will have a very good chance to achieve the level Excellent.
Since the BREEAM-system tell you what to look at rather than what to do a series of project goals was defined. The aim of the goals was to provide concrete list of proposals that could be implemented into the design process. They also served as a checklist in order to evaluate the proposal during the design phase and make sure nothing was overlooked. The goals were divided into four categories in order to narrow down the range of questions and make it more manageable. Each category was then used to synthesize the input from the different parts of BREEAM.
In order to reach the appointed goals a series of concepts are defined. Concept is a collective name of a series of tools to solve one or more of the goals. Some concepts work by themselves and some are linked together. E. g. the implementation and design of a Storm water management concept will have a big impact on Micro climate-, Biodiversity- and Recreation concepts.
The final step is to implement the tools palette. Tools are specific objects or ideas that can be built or implemented in the design in order to fulfill the concepts and thereby reach the design goals. Some tools will have an impact on several concepts and can be very valuable in that aspect. A tree for example can be planted in order to provide en esthetical value to the design. However it will at the same time provide shade and cooling impacting the microclimate. It will also provide habitat for animals and other plants and thereby strengthen the biodiversity. This is the strength of using natural systems to solve the sustainability challenges in the city.