Bartok National Hall
by Ed Arenius | partner | November 15, 2010
The things that I remember most about this project are the lively and passionate debates we had with Gábor (Zoboki, the design architect) and his team throughout the development and execution of the design. I think the two firms were very well matched in that way - both of our firms are very passionate and committed - and if there were moments of contention, I think that its precisely because of them that the result is a hall in Budapest of which everyone is very proud.
It wasn’t an easy process in many ways - there was a tight budget, a very aggressive schedule, undefined user/stakeholders, and a limited site. Gábor had done his homework and had simply integrated a very successful hall of ours - but in a truncated manner! So, the first, extremely passionate, discussions were about room shaping and how, even if it were to be incorporated correctly (for which there was no space), Artec simply would not agree to base the design of a new hall on an existing hall. Rather, our “carved in stone” approach is to develop every single project to respond to the specific needs of the specific community for which the hall is being developed, integrating what we have learned along the way.
Another memorable aspect of the project is the way there was a great deal of resistance about another fundamental belief at Artec; that although we design for the principal use of the hall - in this case symphonic music - that the venue should be designed to accommodate the widest possible range of uses as long as we can do so without compromising the principal use(s). It was a fight, but alongside accommodating the simply dizzying number of local and international orchestras, the concert hall today sees a majority of usage for secondary uses. These include a wide range of amplified music such as world music, jazz, folk, and pop, and is also known for the extremely successful annual opera festival in semi-staged concert format.
We had a great time working on this project. Great passion really does lead to great results.