The greenest House of Music in Europe is in Hungary

Last January the spectacular House of Music was inaugurated in Budapest, a building that enters a park like no other has done so far.

Last January the spectacular House of Music was inaugurated in Budapest, a building that enters a park like no other has done so far.

We can never give up, it is not in our DNA. We should never throw in the towel, let alone commit to a lack of intentionality. Our objectives are clear. Wherever we are, wherever we go, architecture must open the doors to the future, respecting the past and dignifying the present. That is why it is very exciting for me to present this week’s unique building: The House of Music in Budapest.

casa de la música
In Budapest is The House of Music. ©LIGET BUDAPEST_Palkó György_

The House of Music in Budapest

And it is that music seizes our senses in an extraordinary way. The lost emotions, the most hidden memories, emerge in us. It makes us live with excessive force, and it is fair to recognize a place for it, not only in our lives, but also in the built environment. The most ambitious cultural project in Europe is located in Hungary, it is called Liget Budapest, and one of its most captivating elements is the music building.

casa de la música
The Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto was commissioned to design the building. ©LIGET BUDAPEST_Palkó György_

Its cost was 80 million euros, and its creator was the popular Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto. He won a contest in 2014, and while his design left no one unfazed, many people didn’t like the bold contemporary sketch he envisioned. Luckily, a majority did like it, and the construction of this modern Hungarian icon that will go around the world was promoted.

A building that traces the history of music

The construction replaces a complex of buildings called Hungexpo. This one occupied about 10,000 square meters of the park, while Fujimoto’s work occupies only 3,000. The property has a total of 9,000 square meters built, and inside it has a museum that tells the history of music of the last 2,000 years, a sample of the current one, and the one that is to come.

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The property has 9,000 square meters. ©LIGET BUDAPEST Palkó György_

A huge hat-like canopy protects the entire property, protruding from the only façade of the building, which surrounds the property in a curved shape. Below this roof there is a concert hall with 320 seats, a comfortable conference room, a spectacular spiral staircase, which runs through the three floors and gives access to a multimedia library; a Hungarian music archive, the cafeteria, classrooms, administrative offices and other rooms.

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Inside it has a concert hall, conference room, cafeteria, classrooms, library and offices. ©LIGET BUDAPEST_Palkó György_

A “green building” thanks to glass

But let’s go with the «little things» that make the building unique. We have seen the first one on occasion, but not in different dimensions. We are talking about a series of patios, specifically 97, that perforate the ceiling, allowing light to penetrate many areas of the building. In addition, they allow the trees planted in the patios to give fresh air and overwhelm the interior user.

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Some spectacular spiral staircases connect the three floors of the building. ©LIGET BUDAPEST_Palkó György_

The design seeks a harmonious cohesion of the building with the surrounding nature. To do this, the glass covers the facades up to 12 meters high, allowing the direct exterior-interior connection; or the corridors of enormous rooms that surround the property, allowing green to grow between them.

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Inside is an archive of the last 2,000 years of music. ©LIGET BUDAPEST_Palkó György_

The façade, roof and rooms simulate the shape of a tree

Of course, glass reflects the immediate surroundings, making the green greener. To this we must add that the visible roof is adorned with 30,000 bronze leaves that imitate the leaves of the trees. The thin metal pillars that allow the canopy to protrude from the façade, almost projecting, also contribute to this integrating effect.

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The building was built between 2020 and 2021. ©LIGET BUDAPEST_Palkó György_

For the realization of the project and its execution, the Japanese architect had to rely on a national team. In this case it was the M-Teampannon studio, whose intervention was decisive, above all, because a large part of the building was executed between 2020 and 2021, years marked by the pandemic. They were in charge of direct work, dealing with construction companies, checking materials, measurements and stakeouts.

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It is a green building that uses geothermal energy for its heating. ©LIGET BUDAPEST_Palkó György_

The heating of the Casa de la Música is sustainable

One of the jewels of the property is a part of the dome, where up to 60 people can join to experience a sound coming from 360 degrees, caused by 31 speakers. Quite an experience. Now, the true nod to nature cannot be other than a sustainable nod. And it is that the cooling and heating system of the building is provided with renewable supply. Specifically, it has 120 probes introduced to a depth of 100 meters.

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Its aesthetic is reminiscent of a tree due to the green of the glass that covers it and the bronze of the roof. ©LIGET BUDAPEST_Palkó György_

Geothermal energy becomes a regular supply of energy, since the temperature inside the earth’s crust is very stable. However, the demand for these buildings is quite large, so in summer their consumption is also supported by the excess energy capacity of the nearby ice rink. In the end, a whole work of art that Hungarians, their families and even visitors can enjoy.

*Photographs courtesy of Palkó György.

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