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Riverside Origami

designed by /

Location: Budapest / Hungary / Type: Parks / Water features / Built: 2011 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on January 9, 2012

Garten Studio: The project is located at the foot of the southest bridge of Budapest, on the east side of the river Danube. The main building of the Millennium City Center is almost the last element of the new (mostly office and residential) waterfront building line connecting to the formerly inbuilt downtown. Our garden is a part of a longitudinal park parallel to the river. In the future the suburban railway is planned to be placed underground, so this area will have clear water connection without any disturbing traffic.


Our design scene, the thin, arrow-headed shape green area splits up the new seven storey high glass and aluminum facade and the similar height cube of the National Theatre, covered with stone and glass. We continued an existing promenade, adding some new original design idea without disturbing the stage-like garden and sculpture park of the National Theatre. The developer visualized, a unique landscape connected to the building with several appearances of water, a partly private entrance and a gastro promenade towards the river. The authorities pushed the design towards forming separate „microspaces” instead of a one big, so called land-art element.


The main concept of the whole new block was forming a fluent ground floor with public functions, involving the surrounding open space into it. Another intention on higher levels was to divide the longish shape, making structural and visual segmentation and let through the pedestrian cross traffic towards the river and the promenade. On the east and north side of the building there is mostly pedestrian and vehicular traffic space, while on the south side there is the neighboring building site. Public functions like recreation, café terraces, sauntering along, having a little piece on a bench or lying on the grass, could be placed on the west side of the building towards river Danube. We covered these functions with a frame structure, which can form various spaces while being constant and fluent visually. Another aspect was to design a landscape which has its own ground floor look and gives an interesting sight from above the relatively high office building.


We mixed a contemporary design of triangle shape surface forming, with a little origami, which both gave us enough freedom to make the functional spaces and get the unusual, constructed look from above. The roof gardens have a same approach in design, strict grid like textures, following the raster directions of the house instead of sticking to its outline. The complete project is expected to earn LEED Gold rating, which had effects on design process too. Mostly the adopted technology –drainage, irrigation, lighting– and material usage –paving materials, lantation– had to be considered by LEED requirements.


Every member of the design team has its own personal favorite detail. We abounded in designing water features – there are four on the site. Two of them are next to the building’s coffee terraces, two of them are parts of the folded terrain. Each of them has its own speciality: M1 – its water basin made from huge carved white granite elements, M2 has a pixel effect ‘designer’s’ handprint on the spot, made from splitted granite stripes, combined with flowing water and steam jets, M3 has a sloped, plus to minus basin surface with flowing and stagnant water, M4 formed with in level water surface and its vivid lights were combined with water jets. There are, lots of invisible technology underground connected to water features and drainage system. The lightness of the only, 8 cm thick retaining walls next to the folded grass slopes could be achieved with a mounted top stone. The wavy walkway is covered with same sized trapezoid wood boards, only their direction rotates depending on the size of the loop. When the plants will grow together the roof- gardens will give a nice texture. And at last but not least the indoor plants have effect on the appearance of the facade, during the night the whole building is black only the winter gardens are floodlit to transmit the green message of the project.

Landscape Architecture: Garten Studio Ltd.
(György Szloszjár, István Steffler, Zoltán Stéhli, Edina Csákó)
Architecture: Finta Studio Ltd.
Location: 1095 Budapest, Lechner Ödön Fasor 10-12.
Photos: Garten Studio Ltd., István Steffler
Area: 0,7 ha groundfloor, 0,37 ha roofgarden, indoor gardens
Indoor gardens: atriums, façade winter gardens, plantation of office spaces
Design: 2009-2011
Implementation: 2010-2011

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