Past Answers The Future – Competition proposal to Budapest South Gate International Master Plan Design Competition

Budapest South Gate International Masterplan Design Competition was the very first international masterplan competition to which Paradigma Ariadné contributed in collaboration with urban planners and architects of Spacefor Architect, landscape designers of Lépték Terv and Krisztina Mihálffy traffic engineer.

The masterplan aimed to design a whole new city part in Budapest mainly for university students along the queue of a Danube branch. Our proposal became an honorable mentioned one.

The aim of our proposal was to contribute to the development of the city of Budapest without being retrograde, anachronistic or nostalgic in our approach. For this reason, we first observed Budapest and its defining characteristics and used them as inspiration in the development of the proposed master plan.

We conceived an urban fabric in this part of the city where surrounding urban fabric is yet undefined. We would like to make a bold statement here and create an urban environment that is worth of future developments, subsequently generating real urban areas that we can be as proud of as we are of the streets, squares and parks of Budapest.

We created links between downtown and uptown Budapest. Not just a theoretical one, but a physical one made of concrete and steel. Currently there is no development outside of the greater ring of Budapest where the aim is to install an urban environment inspired by downtown Budapest. Our design aimed to will be. As such we wanted to give a boost to further urbanized developments along the Danube river.

Furthermore, the spatial diversity inspired by Budapest can contribute to social diversity. This is particularly true for Budapest where people living in different areas tend to have very different relation to culture and live life differently. This spatial polarity is the foundation of a true city.

Following the execution of the plan, citizens of Budapest will be more connected to this new area of the city. A circular square seems familiar to us because of Kodály Circus, and an octagonal square feels like home to the citizens of Budapest because it resembles the Oktogon Square. Streets that are strictly perpendicular to the Danube are also very familiar to anyone who has ever sailed on the Danube through Budapest.

As designers we felt that it was also impossible to neglect the compelling power of the only existing building on the plot, the Wholesale Market Hall, a building that is simply too big to hide, too big to not give it our full attention and celebrate, and also too valuable to radically change it.

Thanks to this we have literally cut the development process into three parts in order to define different quarters inside the masterplan.

We placed most of the dormitory buildings on the southern part and attributed future business building developmental efforts to the northern part. Between the two parts there is a whole quarter dedicated to innovation, knowledge transfer and leisure. This part also has a driving central element, placed in the Wholesale Market Hall, an institute with all the required qualities essential to have companies and students acting and thinking together.  On this part we defined the Green Slope whose most attractive point is where it makes contact with the water. At that part the solid urban square converts into something new, which we called “fluid public square”. The meadow enters the river allowing you to walk, play, have a drink while sitting on a chair and dipping your toes in the cool water.

The idea of a Fluid Public Square may sound unusual, but in fact it already exists in many places around the world. Nevertheless, Budapest South Gate Student City could be the first place on Earth where you can enjoy its recreation potential along a 250-meter long riverbank. There is no other city with a similar artificial square where small islands, chairs, tables or stages can easily be installed.

In collaboration with: Spacefor Architect, Lépték Terv, Krisztina Mihálffy