A punctured white roof floats atop Sou Fujimoto’s House of Hungarian Music

Trees emerge from Fujimoto’s special floating canopy which draws from the undulant form of soundwaves; the venue is part of Liget Budapest Project and is near completion.

by Jincy Iype Published on : Feb 11, 2021

The House of Hungarian Music in Budapest’s City Park is one of the most anticipated buildings of the year, its contemporary architecture made distinct with its organic, undulating canopy with different sized holes resting upon extensive walls of glass. Acclaimed Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto imagined the unique form for an international competition, and this design was selected by a jury of Hungarian and international individuals from 168 submitted projects. Structurally complete, the House of Hungarian Music is gearing up to open its doors to the public by the end of this year.

Detail of one of the light wells inside the House of Hungarian Music | House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects | STIRworld
Detail of one of the light wells inside the House of Hungarian Music Image: Courtesy of Liget Budapest

Sou Fujimoto Architects reveals new photographs of the 3,000 sqm building’s progress, its rare insides and pronounced skin incorporating and sitting in blissful harmony with the surrounding greens of City Park. The venue will bring to its visitors an extensive range of events and interactions such as exhibitions on musical history, concerts and performances, offices, libraries and educational workshops on music.

03 mins watch Liget Budapest Project - Introducing the House of Hungarian Music | House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects | STIRworld
Liget Budapest Project - Introducing the House of Hungarian Music Video: Courtesy of Liget Budapest

Even before opening, the cultural institution has captured the attention of many in the design and architecture world as well as the musical community and has amassed several awards. It forms part of the Liget Budapest Project, Europe’s largest urban cultural development programme that combines a stunning landscape architecture plan with the largest park in Hungary, with more such museums and landmarks coming up within it. The House of Hungarian Music is being built on a previously demolished office structure, near Heroes’ Square, one of Budapest’s most prominent tourist attractions.

The building’s glass façade | House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects | STIRworld
The building’s glass façade Image: Courtesy of Liget Budapest

“It is incredibly inspiring to work in one of the world’s first public parks, and the task of designing the building was especially exciting since we not only created an edifice but also brought the park experience into the building. The Liget Budapest Project, and within it the House of Hungarian Music, are a truly emblematic development project, which might serve as an example for future urban developers since it managed to create exceptional harmony between the green and the built-up environments,” says Sou Fujimoto, on his vision. 

  • The structure currently | House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects | STIRworld
    The structure currently Image: Courtesy of Liget Budapest
  • The project under construction in Budapest’s City Park | House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects | STIRworld
    The project under construction in Budapest’s City Park Image: Courtesy of Liget Budapest
  • Frames for lightwells | House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects | STIRworld
    Frames for lightwells Image: Courtesy of Liget Budapest

For the competition entry, Fujimoto envisaged a structure where “the boundary between the natural and the built environment is dissolved, and harmony is struck between the nature of sound and the sounds of nature. The signature feature of the design, the floating roof, was inspired by the visual representation of the vibration of sound: the wave,” relays Sou Fujimoto Architects.

The playful, floating, perforated canopy | House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects | STIRworld
The playful, floating, perforated canopy Image: Courtesy of Liget Budapest

To keep the architecture light and transparent, Fujimoto made the side walls with 94 custom manufactured heat insulated glass panels that reach a height of 12 m at some points. This use of glass lends grace and transparency to the structure, creating clear dialogue with the surrounding vegetation. The perforated roof is articulated by lightwells that throw abundant light into the insides, duplicating the image of sitting under a foliage of trees, beams of light hitting the ground through gaps in between the tree tops. The unusual and playful floating canopy takes on varying thicknesses and stays below the level of the existing foliage of trees, “ensuring that the building harmoniously blends in with the environment”. 

The façade is made of insulated glass panels | House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects | STIRworld
The façade is made of insulated glass panels Image: Courtesy of Liget Budapest

He also referenced Hungary’s tradition of music as well as the world-famous Secessionist building of the Liszt Academy in Budapest

There are no right angles in the roof structure, almost no two elements that are the same. – Sou Fujimoto

Fujimoto reveals that the structure is spectacular and unmistakable in its might, “a host of design and engineering solutions unprecedented in Hungary”. The canopy has roughly 100 discretely designed perforations through which the trees surface from. “Moreover, one of the innovative solutions was also installed in these openings: the lightwells begin here, which channel the light right down to the lowest levels, thus helping to illuminate the interiors and create a unique ambience,” Fujimoto continues.

View from inside the building | House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects | STIRworld
View from inside the building Image: Courtesy of Liget Budapest

A focus on environmental awareness and sustainable construction was followed strictly, such as the use of special heating and cooling systems already in the planning and construction phase. “One hundred and twenty heat pumps were installed 100 metres underground in a small area of the City Park, called Nagyrét, next to the building to provide renewable geothermic energy along with a tele-cooling system. The House of Hungarian Music as well as its construction were rated as exemplary from an environmental perspective by BREEAM, the world’s leading international sustainability assessment method,” the design team shares.  

Ceiling of the concert hall | House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects | STIRworld
Ceiling of the concert hall Image: Courtesy of Liget Budapest

The House of Hungarian Music will be accessible to its domestic as well as foreign audience, with planned interactive exhibitions aided by latest technologies, varied musical events and open-air concerts that conjure up legends of the past inside one venue. “A new, long-awaited institution will be established in the City Park, whose mission is to take music – perhaps the branch of Hungarian art that is best known and most recognised in the world – to the general public,” remarks the Japan based firm.

The exterior is matched by a special interior layout | House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects | STIRworld
The exterior is matched by a special interior layout Image: Courtesy of Liget Budapest

The interior design features a three-level spatial layout while complimenting the distinctive exterior, and reflects the complex’s musical profile and programmes.

With a unique sound dome, the underground level will host wide-ranging, memorable exhibitions, including a permanent one about the history of music. The sound dome is a hemispherical cupola where unique audio and projections will create assorted “sound spaces”.

A spiral staircase connecting the ground and first floor | House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects | STIRworld
A spiral staircase connecting the ground and first floor Image: Courtesy of Liget Budapest

The park level (ground floor) will host performing art events such as open-air stages and concerts for the famous and underdogs in the music industry, while the terrace close to the City Park Lake has been assigned for recreation. A spiraling staircase winds reaches the first floor, which devotes itself to an archive of Hungarian pop music via a comprehensive, mulitmedia, digital library. Educative workshops held in classrooms here will introduce young students to the complexities, the rich history, the traditions and beguiling beauty of music.

05 mins watch Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto explains his vision for the House of Hungarian Music | House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto Architects | STIRworld
Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto explains his vision for the House of Hungarian Music Video: Courtesy of Liget Budapest

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