• TATC – Tokaj Active Touristic Centre

The hard rocks of the andesite mines located in the Csurgó Valley provided reliable building materials for many decades. The pit of the closed mine is about to get a new touristic centre. The project, designed by BORD Architectural Studio, is the perfect example of how natural and built environment can connect with each other while framing a peculiar garden and a spring.

The main function of the building is to provide gastronomical and wine tasting programmes connecting to the Tokaj wine region for the tourists visiting the area. It can host cooking workshops, gastronomical exhibitions, music and cultural programmes, presentations  or screenings. Its events perfectly fit in the programmes and festivals of the already existing touristic institutions’ on the banks of river Bodrog but it can also be an attractive destination in itself. There is a cooking studio, an exhibition hall, an open-air gastro cinema and a conference hall for 400 people in the building.

The new touristic centre connects to the city of Tokaj, which is part of the World Heritage. It is situated at the north foot of the Kopasz Hill, in the crescent pit of the closed Csurgó Valley andesite mine. The location is part of the ecological corridor connecting the habitat of its different species and is particularly attentive about the protection of local flora and fauna. The other attraction of the plot is the spring that comes to the surface right here with two tiny reservoirs which are frequently visited by the locals.

Humans consider springwater as a symbol of life. Wherever there are springs, there are local myths and legends too. Both tourists and locals like to go to such places to refresh themselves. People have always protected these natural treasures and settled around them since the earliest of times. These ideas inspired the concept of the building. Taking advantage of the geographical features of the location we created a camouflage building that blends in with its surrounding. This way the form created by the harmony of the landscape and the built environment highlights the spring, placing it in the centre while leaving it accessible for all visitors.

The natural walls of the closed andesite mine encompass the spring in a U shape. The volume of the touristic centre completes this bow shape of the pitch. The volume of the one-storey building is permeable and blends in with its environment. The visitor’s path leads from the enterior straight to the edge of the pitch which frames the garden and the tiny spring flowing in it. The sound and surface of the water creates a magical atmoshere. From the entrance level there is a public outside staircase that leads to the rooftop above the building. This connects almost imperceptibly to the forest path running on top of the pitch wall. The garden of the pitch can be observed from a different, new and exciting perspective from here.

The inside and outside spaces are all part of a composition, the borders of which are blurred by glass walls. Using the local stones and building materials further enhances the connection and unison of the building and the landscape.