Grimshaw, in collaboration with Nautes Architects, WSP, Vogt and Turner & Townsend, have been awarded first place in an anonymous competition for the renewal of Budapest Nyugati Railway Station. Selected from a shortlist of 12 international design firms, the winning design creates a "permeable station campus" with a series of car-free streets, walkways, public squares and a park, which open up the station complex to the city and restores its significance as one of the most vibrant and historic cities in Europe.
The competition asked the participants to "increase the capacity of the existing station, preserve the heritage of the Eiffel Hall, and connect the station to the city by injecting a ‘new lease of life’ to the surrounding area". Grimshaw's winning entry was commended for its ability to create transparent, open, permeable, human-scale spaces that provide complex connections through logical lines. The proposed masterplan integrates new pedestrian routes across the site and the underground station, and connects Lehel Tér in the west to Kodály Körönd in the east to a new boulevard, rising above the railway via a new bridge. The eastern and western sides of the site are linked by a bridge spanning centrally over the surface station, connecting people to various public, commercial, and residential sites around the station.
To further protect and celebrate the city's historic Eiffel Hall, the structure is integrated with new subsurface station and surrounding landscape, and uses natural material to further connect the station to its city surroundings. The masterplan repositions the culturally-significant building as a pedestrian public hall that celebrates the "grandeur of arrival and departure from Budapest" by integrating new entrance porticos to the east and west flank elevations, as well as incorporating cafés, a food hall, and bookshop at the ground level.
Towards the north-east of the Eiffel Hall, a new station arcade highlights the railway's engineering with a long span roof structure soaring over the station, serving as a new entrance to the station on Podmaniczky Utca. Openings between the levels of the new station arcade and the Eiffel Hall allow for a flood of natural light throughout the underground spaces.
Central to our design concept is guardianship of heritage, adaptive reuse and humanizing of the passenger journey. The approach developed through a collaboration of our London and Sydney studios and with local and international consultants, is one which protects and preserves the heritage of Nyugati Station and places its 21st century life firmly in the aesthetic of a civic space. Travel for passengers will no doubt be enhanced, but in parallel a new, revived destination for this beautiful, historic city will be created. We are incredibly honoured to be selected as the winners of the competition and look forward to working with the Budapest Development Agency to deliver the design and construction of the station in the coming years. -- Mark Middleton Partner at Grimshaw
A 3.5-hectare Linear Park along Podmaniczky Utca sits towards the southern side of the new station arcade, housing public amenities such as a football pitch and dog park. Following an approach of adaptive reuse of existing structures, the Motor Hall within the park is restored, with an option of being reused as a cultural and leisure facility. Towards the west of the Linear Park, a new revitalized station square pushes cars to the periphery of the site, allowing for micro mobility across the station campus.