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A central courtyard replacing the missing dome. How can we fill the diverse spaces of an unfinished sacral building?
The Church was designed by Farkas Molnar, a great Hungarian architect of the mid-war period. It has never been finished, and since 2001 it is out of use. It is surrounded by a peaceful green neighbourhood in the outer district of Budapest, Hungary. The construction has the atmosphere of an other world. One can imagine to peacefully spend the last period of his or her life here.
Hungary has only a few of places where terminally ill people can spend their last days, and even less with this kind of peaceful environment. Aside from other qualities, this gives a perfect place for caring elderly.
By creating different kind of places, social interaction is enhanced. The community gardens provide the opportunity for the residents to feel more at home, while activities help restoring mental health. What we did was to divide the community and the private residential functions. On one side there is a library, a canteen and a separate room for the departed, discreetly screened from the other functions. On the other side there are rooms for the ailing patients and for the caretakers upstairs. Private rooms offer solitude, just like the chapel, which we kept according to the original plan. Besides the chapel we payed attention not to change much on the existing building. We wanted to maintain the timeless structure which has not changed since its creation. By opening up the front gate we connected the outer and inner space, thus making the environment harmonize with the building.
We turned the cold appearance of the stone and concrete structure into a welcoming and cosy residence by using natural materials and placing plants all around the surrounding areas.
Although this building has never been finished, there could be a lot of opportunities in its usability, and still plays an important role in the architecture of Budapest. We find it essential to give a social role to it, such as a home for terminally ill people.
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