Market Hall / Piac
Budapest Teleki sqr / tér

Teleki Square is one of Budapest’s most storied squares, in one of the city’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. It was a literal and metaphorical meeting of urban and rural worlds. Its namesake was László Teleki, a mid-19th century statesman noted for his advocacy for the rights of minority nationalities in Hungary. Teleki Square has a distinctive place, too, in local Jewish life, since the market had a significant number of Jewish merchants and the square’s synagogue is the city’s only Sephardic one. Many of Teleki market’s poor Jewish peddlers originated from the more insular Hasidic communities of the Eastern Carpathian mountains. In 1910 this area had some of the highest density in the city, with 70,000 per square kilometer. Conditions in Teleki were harsh, as a 1917 newspaper account described: Teleki tér even in peacetime is one of Budapest’s most sorrowful squares, but now, since the war has placed its own sad stamp on it, Teleki tér itself with its boisterous, loud marketplace is truly a bleak place.
In between the two wars the unemployed and unskilled waited for day labour here while others stood in line for scarce foodstuffs. The Second World War brought tragic days to Teleki as everywhere else in the city, including a pogrom in October 1944 and some of the city’s first Yellow Star houses, indicating where Jews lived. Losing the used-goods market to another location in the 1950s led to a decline in the square’s life, as it lost its raison d’etre and only half-heartedly filled the role of urban park. In 2013, Teleki Square showed near total abandonment.
District 8, also known as Józsefváros (Joseph City) is located in central Budapest and is divided into strikingly different quarters, including the Palace Quarter with its renovated buildings and young intellectuals and the Magdolna quarter with some of the highest unemployment and lowest education and income levels in the city. After World War II, the Jewish population was largely replaced by the Roma minority, which now constitutes 30% of the district. Although the entire district has historically had a pejorative connotation, its sharpest boundary in the mental maps of most Budapest residents is the Great Ring Road. The areas outside of it, including Teleki Square, constitute a periphery of sorts, historically plagued with prostitution, petty gang crime and homelessness. In 2004 the Magdolna Social Rehabilitation program began in the Magdolna quarter. This kind of urban regeneration program, already in practice in other European cities, was new for Budapest: a renewal approach that simultaneously deals with social, economic, environmental and architectural renewal, with particular attention to improving the quality of life of the most disadvantaged. Crime prevention, family support, community development, occupational training and architectural and public space renewal are all essential components. Part of this project was the renovation of Teleki Square and the creation of the nearby FIDO sport center targeting disadvantaged youth.
[Remaking the agora: the community-based design of Teleki Square By Kristin Faurest, Ph.D, György Alföldi DLA, TOPOS, 2015/91, pp: 44-49.]

Designers / Tervezők : Rév8 Zrt
Design Team / Tervező csapat: Alföldi György, Faragó Csaba, Gál Borbála, Sámson Rita, Hegedűs-Balog Katalin, Kázár Katalin építészek/architects, Tölgyesi András (HMI Mérnök Iroda) statikus/structure, Frastaczky Károly gépész/engineering, Baracskai Gyula elektromos/electricity, Fenyvesi Zsolt tűzvédelmi/fire protection, Pandula András akadálymentesítés /design for clearway,
Client / Építtető: Józsefvárosi Önkormányzat
Projekt manager: Fernezely Gergely, Annus Viktor, Sipos Mátyás
Built surface / Beépített m2: 3900 m2
Building cost / Építési költség: 2 mEuro
Photos: Faragó Csaba, Frikker Zsolt, MTI

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