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TRAFFIC BUILDING TRANSFORMATION
Budapest, Hungary 2009. Competition - honorable mention

‘Gomba’ is an emblematic point in Budapest as well as in its own district; it marks the centre of the circus. It is one of the most important symbols of the centre of ‘Újbuda’ (New Buda, 11th district). The circus would not be the same without it. The building of Gomba (meaning mushroom in Hungarian) is a listed historical monument. The key of its revival is to give it a new form and function adequate to the requirements of the present time, this being the only way for the building to get back into the circulation of the city again. We suggest the former tram station building to be transformed into a multifunctional bicycle centre. The circus was always functioning as an important traffic hub and meeting point, this side to it becoming even more stressed with Metro4.
City transportation is changing and besides cars and public transport alternative forms of transport are becoming more and more important. The most popular of these is cycling, for which the providing of necessary infrastructure has been started only recently. Bicycle passages and -lanes are being built, but there is no meeting point that would serve the needs of cyclists yet. There is now a good opportunity to strengthen this alternative form of transport apropos of the reconstruction of Gomba. With the opening of a bicycle centre the traffic of the circus would be enriched with a new layer in a so far unique way in Budapest. The terrace café to be constructed on top of the building should be a perfect meeting point with good view on the city, and would thus bring new life to the circus.
Originally being a tram terminal, Gomba has always been a building with transport-connected functions, which tradition could be continued by the new function of a bicycle centre. It is architecturally essential to preserve the original dominant and characteristic shape of the building, which had been a hit in its time and has proven to be of lasting architectural value ever since.
Our architectural concept strengthens the original circular shape, using contemporary architectural tools, with maximal respect to the original spirit of the building. The building, like a life-belt, is divided into three parts, with three covered courtyards in between. The courtyards can be closed with mobile curved curtain walls, which are perforated with bicycle motives. The building is in a way playing with the circle shape, which is the architectural sense of the building: during daytime the curtain walls are open and the walls cover the original building, like a mask; in the night, when they are closed, the original parts appear and you can feel the whole circular building shape. In the heart of the building we designed a green area, with huge trees, like a little forest. This green garden, a patch of forest and of nature, provides a healthier microclimate to the circus and the building.