Csontvary Museum

PrizeBronze in Architectural Design / Cultural Architecture
Firm LocationBudapest, Hungary
CompanyNart Architects Studio Ltd.
Lead ArchitectCsaba Kovacs, Tamas Mate, Aron Vass-Eysen
Design TeamDaniel Gerse
ClientGovernment of Hungary

Csontváry is said to be one of the greatest Hungarian painter. He is not only known by his great technical skills and by his importance in the development of art but also acknowledged as a herald of an important spiritual message for his contemporaries and his teachings about men and nation as a cosmic creature transcend to his lifetimes and provides broad interpretations for future generations. So we asked ourselves: what could be the main message and what is the location that fits to it the most? He is a unique person so we should avoid creating a museum that becomes the one of many galleries. We should find a place which represents his legend, to where every culturally minded people from this region would want to travel. Opposed to the “plaza-museum” strategy we searched for a site that is interesting and symbolic enough to become a pilgrimage destination. In the outskirt of Pécs, next to a lake in a crater of a former coalmine we found a perfectly dramatic ambiance that suits for this new museum. The atmosphere of the building is created by the contrast of an enclosed “dark” core and a floating, sun-drenched communication system (exhibition space-community space). This tension applies for the structural idea too: the ferro-concrete heart of the house is surrounded by the lighter steal load bearing structure. The crater of coalmine is a dramatic view: turquoise lake surrounded by 70 meter high walls. It’s a special, characteristic phenomenon. The building of the museum and it’s context has the visual tension like the emotional tension behind Csontvary’s paintings. Floating white gloss cube in the top of the crater encloses the red- orange “hearth” with the life-work. The slowly recreation of the coalmine will be interpreted as the message from Csontváry to the next generation…