Ujirany / New Directions Landscape Architects: In 2014, the 4th metro line of Budapest was completed. The project area is the vast open space of the metro lines’ final station that is to be a temporary design for only a part of Etele square, as the future plan of the district is to renew the square together with the metro exit as a comprehensive whole. The overall aim is for the temporary design to establish the foundation for creating an organic change in the surroundings during the upcoming years.
In Design Phase 1 the exit of the final station of the newly constructed Metro line 4 opens up to a temporarily built public space that is defined by a basic modular system of squares, which create an overall system that organizes the paved and the green surfaces. The strict structure is softened by the ornamental grass plantation that characterizes the whole square, giving it a poetic touch. From a distance the grass plantation seems like a contiguous meadow, but upon entering it a visitor can see that the orthogonal system of pathways offer a number of spatial variations to stroll through the vegetation connecting the metro exit to the temporary bus terminal and the nearby residential (prefabricated housing) area. Within the grass plantation a number of resting places can be found marked by benches that are also placed along the main axis leading to the entrance of the metro. The use of two different sorts of grasses creates strips within the plantation that are followed on by the changing of the black and white strips of pavement. Vertically this striped effect is enhanced by the lines of columnar trees. This diversification, e.g. the feeling of walking on a set of striped carpets or within smaller grass plantations, helps in reducing the monumentality of the space.
In Design Phase 2 the modular system of the pavement flows on to act as a carpet that unites the now very different parts of Etele square. The main conceptual element of the new design is the ‘sofa’ like grassy rise – seated on the carpet – which not only reduces the feeling of vastness of the square but also structures it by connecting the height differences with one large elegant gesture, and also gives opportunity to contemplate in the midst of the busy city. The architecturally formed edges of the rise generate resting places in regard to the different uses of the square hence create the central ‘urban space’ with a central water vapor feature and the surrounding stairs and its counterpart the ‘local space’ that is able to host smaller local events. Alternate resting places are created with unique concrete seating elements embedded in grove-like tree plantations.
Design of Etele Square – temporary and final design
Location: Etele Square, Budapest, Hungary
Design: Ujirany / New Directions Landscape Architects (Dominika Tihanyi, Gabor Szohr)
3D visualization: Zita Sarfanek
Design year: 2013
Year of construction: 2013
Area: 7682 m2
Budget: 500 000 EUR
Photos: Ujirany / New Directions, Tamás Bujnovszky