Glove Factory Community Center / “Kesztyűgyár” Közösségi Ház
Budapest, Mátyás sqr / tér

The defunct glove factory at Mátyás square is being transformed into a complex which will host alternative and education programs thus contributing to the neighborhood with a new, comfortable, and civilized space. The building itself is characterized by multi-functionality and openness. [Alföldi György, Kolossa József, Sárkány Csilla: Komuntni centrum Rukavickárna.; ERA21 8:(6/2008) pp. 23-25.];

The Designing Power of a Community / Culture Centre in Mátyás Square/ In Western Europe there have been disputes over the issue whether genuinely viable public spaces and urban districts can be created by applying this method at all. The doubt is rooted in the fact that there are at least as many disgraceful failures as spectacular successes of the realized projects.
Many professionals of city-planning say that the suitable solution is not guaranteed even by long-therm participative work involving the related disciplines ( sociology, psychology, cultural anthropology, economics, etc.), as residents of different parts of a city tend to represents partial interests, which does not help when creating the comprehensive concepts of development. They also emphasize that there is need for central designing based on the accumulated knowledge of the general science urban studies ( as well as for delegation directed downward ) and participation is only suited for partial tasks.
The six-year history of the renovation of Mátyás Square in Budapest has already enriched us with quite a few lessons. Located in the centre of Magdolna quarter of District 8, which is one of the most disadvantageous part of the capital from every aspect, the square was first renovated in 2002 after the change of the political system. The diagonal ways interspersed with green areas visible today were also created then. The remodeling project failed to meet expectations, both the plants and playthings deteriorated soon and passers-by did not like the park at all. It was obvious that professional work concerning the park must rest on new foundations. The difficult and complex task could not be postponed any more, so the local authority of Józsefváros and Rév8 Zrt launched the the project entitled Magdolna Quarter in 2005 with the aim to “stop the quickly worsening situation, eliminate disadvantages inherited by generations and accumulating in the families, to prevent elimination from society and reproduction of poverty.” Within this framework the square was remodeled once again in 2006 according to designs “finelized with the active participation of those living in the area concerned.” Colleagues from the Geographical Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Science as well as educators and students of Corvinus University were also involved in the project.
A second component of the program is the recently finished transformation of the building standing on the northern side of the square and the 19th-century Glove-factory joining it from its inner side standing vacant for a long time. The complex enclosing an L-shaping cortile primarily functioned as a community house and a cultural centre, but also the group Rév8 specialized in the Magdolna quarter and a youth counseling office housed here.
Designers György Alföldi, Csilla Sárkány, József Kolossa and their colleagues - architects with Rév8 Zrt - have radically reinterpreted the spatial system of the four wings, although the character of the overall image is defined by details of the former industrial building (such, as concrete pillars and beams). Wherever it was possible they preserved the original structural components, and did not essentially change the layout of the openings, but modified their sizes and forms in both directions. The elevations of the cortile wings have been plastered pink, whilst concrete sheets painted snow-white were placed on the street facade: the sight is finely varied as a result of bright palette of the panels at the windows.
As designers say the main principle of the form shaping was that “the house should be open for those living here to convince people of the importance and interesting qualities of services, whilst they also wished to mark the frames and borders of communal activities. As they wrote: “the bashful and not pushy enticement of the dwellers - both the young and the old - of the quarter” is needed, and they also emphasize that they wanted to create “simple, natural and yet hard and firm spaces”.
And indeed: in this chaotic environment the house draws attention to itself by its reservedness and clarity, without any bravados of forms, whilst retaining its firm character. The complex is a kind of continuation of the public space which with its intimacy and independence also marks the difference of functions. The appearance of the interior wings evokes the streets facades of urban houses, reinforcing the atmosphere of the cortile reminding us of free urban spaces. The building shows a “familiar” character for the users instead of the world bureaucracy-spirited culture centers “compulsory maintained”. Although the architecture is basically gaunt and closed, the overall impression is an associative one conveying important contents - this is what makes this remodeling a genuine architectural achievement.
Haba Péter: The Designing Powers of a Community, Culture Centre in Mátyás Square; RÉGI-ÚJ MAGYAR ÉPÍTŐMŰVÉSZET 2008:(4) p. 9. (2008); ISSN 1785 – 282X;

Designers / Tervezők : Rév8 Zrt
Design Team / Tervező csapat: Alföldi György, Kolossa József, Sárkány Csilla, Szabó Lea, Kolossáné Bartha Katalin építészek/arcitects, Andorka Tibor, Csiby Soma statika/structural, Mangel Zoárd épületgépészet/engineering, Piller Tamás, Somogyi Gábor épületvillamosság/electricity.
Client / Építtető: Budapest VIII. Kerület Józsefvárosi Önkormányzat
Projekt manager: Kázár Katalin
Built surface / Beépített m2: 1.200 m2
Building cost / Építési költség: 1,0 mEuro
Photos: Bujnovszky Tamás

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