Work has begun on O'Donnell + Tuomey's first project in Hungary. The new collection of buildings and restoration projects for the Central European University in Budapest sits within existing courtyards in a dense area of the city. Bringing a total of 35,000m² of new space to the inner-city campus, the project consists of a new library spread across five floors, an auditorium, multiple public spaces, teaching and learning facilities, study rooms, and a café.
In an interview with Sheila O'Donnell and John Tuomey on the occasion of the RIBA Gold Medal ceremony earlier this year, the Irish partnership commented on this project:
We’ve noticed that the pattern of buildings in Budapest, compared to the pattern of buildings that we’re used to in Ireland or London, is very strong and therefore very evident. The whole city has its own dimensional orbit which is not the same as what we’re used to.
Sheila went to the City Architect in Budapest at the time in which were developing our initial designs. Before introducing our project she gave a reading of the city – one that stemmed from out efforts to try to look at it very closely – but from a basis of innocence, as it were. At one point in the presentation the City Architect interrupted and said “I see you’ve fallen in love with our city!”
The €34million scheme spans six buildings in Budapest's historical city centre. The first phase of the scheme is set to complete in 2016.