KÖZTI–Bayer–Artisjus Office Building

Location: Budapest I., Mészáros utca 15–17.–Pálya utca 4–6.

Date of completion: 1993

Architect: MAROSI Miklós

Associate architect: FARKAS Dániel

Interior designer: SZÉKELYI Zsuzsa



Owing to “spontaneous privatization”, KÖZTI had to give up its downtown headquarters in Kecskeméti Street and joined forces with the similarly privatized Szerzői Jogvédő Hivatal (Artis­jus – Hungarian Bureau for the Protection of Authors' Rights) to construct their new headquarters. The company had to build its new workplace in eighteen months while renting office space temporarily at the MOM office building. This risky undertaking – although it had depleted all the financial reserves of the company – was successfully implemented.

The area that was allowed to be built up by the detailed development plan was extremely limited. A regulation line adjusted to a gently curving street line – different from the curve of Mészáros Street – cut off about one third of the building plot. The compulsory front elevation and ridge heights have me­ticulously projected every small change in the roof-line of the surround­ing buildings on the new construction. The insolation require­ment for the ground floor apartments in Pálya Street further “softened” the building volume. Mészáros Street has typical buildings with plaster architecture and high-pitched roof in an unbroken row – the closing fragment is an important part of the composition: the corner house offers the possibility for a change.

According to long-term plans, the area of the southern railway lines will be roofed in. When this dream is realized, the high tech world of the huge surface will make a real sense of the convex mirror of the front elevation, stretched out to reflect the surroundings. The corner of Győző Street and Pálya Street is more tamed, it only wants to respond to the varied impacts of its environment with the plastic effect of glass and ceramic tiles, its hidden projections and changes of proportion and rhythm. The “mirror” is a product of modern industry, the architect can only determine the proportions of the mullions and rails, its cornice and lintel do not conform to the classical building trad­itions. At the same time their necessary fixture is the rail of the window washing equipment. This structural element is installed as a crowning cornice. The butterfly wings woven from stainless steel wire, the inclined flag holders in front of the corner, the “tower” used as a sign dissolve the geometrical mono­tony. Positioned between two mirrors, their sight is multiplied interminably. The layout of the building is basically divided into two units: the Mészáros Street front accommodating the cellular office space and the Pálya Street wing with large offices and studios are connected by vertical communication towers with sanitary blocks, located at both ends of the light well. There are three split-level garage floors underground. The building is fully air-conditioned, the mechanical rooms are located in the attic.

The building materials and structures have proved to be suitable and the internal adjustments and modifications ­induced by business policy and organizational changes have been implemented without visible effects, as is was shown by a modification 15 year later when the hall – accessible from the axis of the main entrance from Mészáros Street – had been ori­ginally designed as the branch office of a bank and later it was used as an AGFA showroom and service shop became a two-­storey space chamber hall and artist club, seating 150 ­people. The hall has become suitable for several functions, such as conferences on copyright issues, association meetings, concerts of contemporary Hungarian classical music, chamber music and literary evenings, small performances of choruses, of classical and popular music pieces, introduction of new CDs and other sound recordings at press conferences.

The foyer and its service rooms make it convenient to host a small artist club in Buda, similar to the larger FÉSZEK Artist Club in Pest. Its main entrance opens from the pronounced axis of Mészáros Street. Disabled people can access the hall from Pálya Street, through the office entrance one level higher. The car entrance also opens from Pálya Street, musical instruments and equipment can be taken in and out through the entrance opening from the car drive. The hall incor­porates an amphi­theatre seating up to 150 spectators, inter­preter cabins for four languages, a video and sound control room, gents’ and ladies’ toilets, mechanical rooms, a foyer, a small snack bar and a cloakroom.