The Hungarian Museum of Transport, one of the oldest transport museums in Europe will be rebuilt on a historically significant brownfield site in Budapest. The museum has launched an international design competition to select the best team of architects for its ambitious redevelopment program.
“The ongoing, comprehensive renewal of the Hungarian Museum of Transport has reached an important milestone: we have launched an international design competition to select the best team of architects for the design of the institution’s new home. For the first time in its history, the Hungarian Museum of Transport will have a suitable venue for its specific needs, which is intended to be a contemporary architectural landmark of Budapest. The redevelopment of the former Northern Maintenance Depot of the Hungarian State Railways is among the most ambitious brownfield revitalization programmes in Europe. The shortlist of prominent architects, who expressed an interest to participate in the competition, demonstrate the international significance of the project. We are committed to create an open, visitor-friendly, twenty-first century museum. As a multigenerational community space, it will offer experiences to children and adults, families and seniors, tourists and locals alike.” – Dávid Vitézy, General Director.
The Hungarian Museum of Transport is one of the oldest transport museums in Europe. Two years ago it left its former home in Városliget (City Park), and the Government of Hungary adopted a resolution to relocate the museum to a 7-hectare area of the Northern Maintenance Depot in Kőbánya, a former industrial district of Budapest. The most important and emblematic building of the site is the so-called Diesel Hall, built between 1958 and 1962. This heritage structure is an impressive example of mid-century modern industrial architecture featuring truly innovative engineering solutions of its era. The vast hallway of nine parallel naves, each about 110 m length, can be adapted for the exhibition and storage of large-scale museum items like railway wagons, tramway cars, buses, automobiles and other vehicles.
The planned new museum galleries will be significantly larger than the insufficient exhibition space of the previous building, creating an opportunity to double the number of historical vehicles on display. Occupying these halls, the permanent exhibition is going to show the history of transport in Hungary through personal experiences, events, stories and dilemmas, focusing on the connection between the evolution of transport and the development of Hungarian society in the past two centuries. The state-of-the-art storage spaces offer a long-term solution to the problems of preservation and storage. A significant part of these facilities will be periodically open to visitors, providing an even greater degree of access to the collection. Apart from the spacious visitor areas, the new venue will have proper spaces for the preservation and integration of the valuable repository, library and archive collections. This facility is intended to serve as a hub for academic research but the general public will also have access. Furthermore, a Restoration Workshop and Competence Centre will provide a technical restoration base, as well as a centre for professional training.
The design of the new museum offers a complex architectural and urban planning challenge, as the whole project is part of a broader development programme that aims to revitalize the whole area. The other half of the former Northern Maintenance Depot will house the Workshop and Rehearsal Centre of the Hungarian State Opera, scheduled to open in 2019. Other planned developments in nearby People’s Park (Népliget) and the former Józsefvárosi Railway Station will fundamentally change this part of the transition zone of Budapest through prestigious cultural projects, careful preservation of industrial heritage and the revitalization and expansion of green spaces. Our vision for the new Museum of Transport combines these principles. A new public square will be opened up in the foreground of the museum, complete with an extra railway stop to be established on the existing railway line, providing an intersection for urban and suburban public transport and increased pedestrian traffic right in front of the entrance of the new museum complex.
To find the best design team for this complex task, the Hungarian Museum of Transport launched an international competition. Eleven architectural firms were directly invited based on their reputation in museum design, heritage redevelopment and urban planning. The directly invited participants are 3H Architecture, Amanda Levete Architects Ltd., Atelier Brückner GmbH, Bjarke Ingels Group, Caruso St John Architects, CÉH Zrt. + Foster & Partners, David Chipperfield Architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Építész Stúdió Kft., KÖZTI Zrt. and Lacaton & Vassal Architects. The remaining positions are open for architects from all over the world. We will announce the final list of the 15 applicants after the pre-qualification phase.
A jury of Hungarian and international experts will choose the winner of the competition, chaired by Dávid Vitézy, the Director General of the Hungarian Museum of Transport and Dr Ferenc Makovényi PhD, delegate of the Hungarian Chamber of Architects.