HMS-Plan has presented ArchDaily with their plans for the 2011 architectural competition of the main square of Ujpalota, in Budapest. Images of their proposal and a narrative from the architects after the break.
The starting point – the so-called analogy – of our concept is the nearby small hill, where many children sledge each winter. Important components of the project are people, giving work and ideas, the place, giving wood and soil and the process of building itself, which creates a whole new environment and a collective purpose for the local people. Renewal of the square should be started with organizing people, start conversation with inhabitants, involving local youth and volunteers. Most important point of the intervention is the power of community. People take part of the building method, they form their living space themselves, so the maintenance and protection of the completed park seems to be ensured. This theory is supported by the „Adopt a tree” or „Adopt a plot” program, as families can plant their own little garden in the park.
The main visual element of our concept is the orange-red deck, which is useful for walking, recreation and as spectators terrace, when festivals are held. Under this deck, there are public rooms, such as toilets, kiosks, shops. The square would work just like a forest: different functions are located in different layers of the landscape. Green hills are rising until the level of the deck. Renovated and expanded cultural center and parking places are also hidden under this lifted layer of nature. As paths go up on the hills, no stairs or elevators are needed for the deck. The plan saves and enlarges green areas an organic way, generating a natural, continually changing landscape. Existing sculptures and monuments remain on their place, and the hillsides might be used as potential outdoor exhibition area.
It was important for us, to apply cheap, sustainable, locally processed building materials. The older trees are used for the wooden deck. Walls are built of a special cement stabilized clay brick, which can be produced on the building site by volunteers and inhabitants. We use as less concrete as possible, to reduce energy-consumption. The cost of maintenance is cut down by using alternative energy sources, such as solar cells integrated in the cone-structures supporting the deck. In the middle a stone or concrete slab lays. Summer time it is covered with a thin water film as the integrated fountains are working. This way the surface remains clean, and water is cooling the air. Winter time a skating rink is in operation, or even an open-air stage can be built here.
The existing structure of the cultural center remains untouched, and filled with smaller multifunctional rooms for rent. A new theater and a coffee shop is needed, and also a large foyer should be built for exhibitions. It can be reached from the park and from the street. To sum up: our concept is rather a philosophy of community and landscaping, than an exact plan. It is a comprehensive action to change the environment in a positive way.