Set in a neighborhood that has a park and landmarks such as the municipal museum, the ING building maintains the scale and massing, though not the architectural expression, of nearby buildings. Van
Egeraat negotiated the difference in height between a 19th-century villa on one side of ING and a Communist-era concrete structure on the other by designing a roof that steps up from west to east.
Erickvan Egeraat —^t of architectural adrenaline to a staid streetscape with his ING HEAD OFFICES building in Budapest
By Tracy Metz
Hungarians talk about "the changes," a blanket term covering both the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989 and the country's entry into the European Union in 2004, but admit little has changed in terms of Budapest's architecture. "Socialism still has a strong grip on our minds," said a young Hungarian late one night at one of the clandestine cafés that pop up unpredictably at changing locations in the city's many interior courtyards. "Our buildings are still mediocre." Dutch architect Erick van Egeraat, though, is shaking things up with projects such as the ING Head Offices on Dózsa Gyorgy Street, commissioned by the real estate arm of ING, the large Dutch financial services company.
Van Egeraat, who had been a principal at the firm Mecanoo, now heads Erick van Egeraat Associated Architects (EEA), with offices in Rotterdam, London, Prague, Budapest, and Moscow, an arrangement that keeps him on the road 200 nights a year, he claims.
The ING project, a multitenant office building that addresses the street with a hyperkinetic facade, makes a striking addition to Budapest, with its tradition of solid, even stolid architecture. Located near landmarks such as the municipal museum, Városliget City Park, and the vast and empty Square of Heroes, the building sits around the corner
Tracy Metz is record's international correspondent in Amsterdam and writes for the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsbad.
from the increasingly cosmopolitan Andrassy Boulevard (home of Budapest's only Apple store). The building's expressive exterior has already become a symbol of a new era in the city's architecture. For the developer, the project turned out to be a very good deal: A day after taking possession, ING sold it to Deutsche Bank for a serious profit.
The 270,000-square-foot building, which sits above three levels of underground parking, accommodates public functions on the ground floor, such as a bank and a restaurant, with six floors of office space above (including EEA's Budapest branch), and a penthouse boardroom. It replaces two Stalinist-style office blocks from the 1950s and is bordered on one side by a Modernist box in the best Communist tradition (which EEA had renovated earlier), and on the other by a 19th-century villa: "It was my intention to bring cohesion to the street without copying the past," explains van Egeraat. The new building
Project: ING Head Offices, Budapest, Hungary Architect: Erick van Egeraat Associated Architects—Erick van Egeraat, Jdnos Tiba, Judit Z. Halmdgyi, Eszter Bodi, project architects; Zita Balajti, Zsofia Bdlint, Baldzs Beczner,
Ágnes Benko, Gabriella Grand, Zsófia Gutvill, Zoltán Gyüre, Sándor Kogan-Szabó, Darko Kovacev, Áron Láncos, Michael Rushe, project team Engineers: MTM (structural); SMG-SISU (mechanical and electrical) General contractors: Csarnok 2002
2. Banking hall
Van Egeraat broke the building into three volumes separated by a pair of glazed atria, then tied the composition together with looping, decorative metal ribbons (above). Fenestration on the sides and back is a sly reference to Dutch Modernism (below).
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Each of the two glass atria is stiffened by a cage of steel members and cables. Canted columns add a dynamic quality to the space (this page).
increases in height as it makes the transition from the older villa to the much larger Communist box. Across the entire length of the facade, van Egeraat floated shiny steel ribbons, vestiges of the flowing lines he drew in one of his very first sketches to indicate the continuity of time symbolized by these three buildings.
The architect broke the building into three separate volumes connected by a pair of glazed, asymmetrical atria that seem to sway in between. He clad all three volumes in irregular vertical strips of aluminum, glass, and stone, which were hand-mounted on the poured-in-place concrete structure. To this mosaic of verticals, he added silk-screened stripes that look rough and hand-painted, providing a craftsmanlike and tactile element to the skin of the various folds and creases. In his first project in Budapest, a rehabilitation and extension of a landmarked building for ING on Andrassy Boulevard, van Egeraat silk-screened the glass addition with a pattern bearing a remarkable resemblance to stone. That building is now empty, and the architect hopes it can be used as a fashion center, including a department store and restaurant.
The street facade of the new building seems to ripple, with parts
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