It is always a great challenge and a delicate task to renovate and extend a listed architectural monument. In the case of Unger Residence, which is an apartment block planned by Miklós Ybl, our studio has been attaching a new living space with a tiny optical trick to the old building.

This block, situated on Múzeum körút (Museum boulevard) is very well known among locals either because of its inner court covered by wooden cubes, its famous bookshop or as a shortcut passage between Múzeum körút and Magyar utca. Perhaps this is the reason why there have always been so many shops here. There was a shoe shop, a pizza place, cake shop, escape room, tattoo studio and last but not least Limes, the architectural modelling firm also started off from here. At the moment it is in a really bad shape and in need of renovation but its richness in details suggests an exciting past.

The circa 160 year old house was built around the beginning of the 1850’s as a property investment for the request of the Ungers, whose fortunes lay in craftsmanship. The plans were made by Miklós Ybl. Although the irregular T shape of the plot made planning somewhat difficult, he came up with the design of a special inner court without a hanging corridor. The building has two street facades. The one richer in decoration is towards Múzem körút, the other, which is more simple, is facing Magyar utca. In the old days horse carts could enter the small inner court from both streets. The two street volumes have separate staircases. The flats are positioned in renaissance style glassed arcades. This is one of the early works of Ybl but since its romantic atmosphere and unusual layout it is definitely a remarkable piece of his oeuvre.

The two-story palace-like building will be renovated with the conversion of the attic.  Our studio planned a solution where the new panels are fitted to the listed building in a uniquely delicate way. The line of the new roof is following the shape and angles of the original one. The lower part of the two-story converted attic will be shifted back from the existing ledges on the street levels. The roof loft will open towards the inner court. This way the street view will remain undisturbed.

Not using any new architectural elements with the original Ybl design was our basic concept therefore the new panels in the inner court are interpreted as sculptures independent from the building.

From the inner court, above the top ledge there is only a floating plane tiled by blue terrazzo.  The ledge running alongside the top on the court basically hides the newly erected part of the building. Its role is to frame the old Ybl building, retain the romantic atmosphere of the old residential block and maintain the proportions of the inner court and the facade while referring slightly to the presence of modern times. The rectangular geometry and the material of the floating frame harmonizes with the pavement of the passage court. At night the frame and the courtyard will be lit indirectly providing a special atmosphere where old and new architecture can meet.

Projekt info

  • Project Name Unger Residence
  • Location 7 Múzeum körút, Budapest H-1053
  • Loft conversion 10 apartments, 1.077m2
  • Years of Design 2014-
  • Client EHB Unger Residence Real Estate Developer Ltd.
  • General Design BORD Architectural Studio
  • Head Architect Péter Bordás
  • Coordinating Architect Dalma Kiss, Éva Domján
  • Architect Team Róbert Benke, Dorka Hindy, Tamás Mezey
  • Structural Engineering Hydrastat Engineering Office Ltd. – Zsigmond Dezső
  • Mechanical Engineering BORD HVAC Engineering Llc. - Zoltán Hollókövi
  • Mock-up Limes Model Ltd.