Hungarian National Museum – Reconstruction

Location: Budapest VIII., Múzeum körút 14–16.

Rekonstrukciós tervezés: 1995–2006

Átadás ideje: 2006

Senior architects: DOBOZI Miklós, ROSCH Gábor

Interior designer: KERECSÉNYI Zsuzsa


It was an honourable task to design the complete reconstruction and development of this Neoclassical building, an out­standing historic monument of Hungarian architecture, but at the same time it also required modesty. The reconstruction provided continuous work for the designers and the building contractors for a decade. The museum was built according to the designs of Mihály Pollack in 1847. The building was reconstructed many times in the past 150 years, often ineffi­ciently, it was subjected to rude interventions and was also damaged by the war. The reconstruction of the building became necessary, fully observing the aspects of a historic monu­ment. While the development of modern museology, the protection of art objects and the growth of the collection required a considerable extension of the floor space and modernization, the image of the historic monument could not be changed at all.

The most spectacular task of the design and the construction was the full reconstruction of the grandiose public spaces of the building: the stairs of the main entrance, the foyer, the ornate staircase, the rotonda and the great hall. During the reconstruction works, the ornate facing, the frescoes and the decorative painting were explored and restored. Moreover, considerable functional alterations and technical improvements were also implemented (an automatic vestibule door system, underfloor heating, accessibility, etc.). Air-conditioning and a modern lighting system were installed in every exhibition room. The floor area was extended by 900 square metres under the ground level of the internal courtyards for the Roman lapi­darium and by 1200 square metres for the store-rooms of the central restauration workshops, where paintings and art objects were stored in a compact system. The National Széchényi Library was moved from the building, vacating space for a new row of exhibition rooms. New restauration workshops were established under the wide entrance staircase. New elevators and access elevators for the disabled were installed, ensuring accessibility and allowing heavy art objects to be moved around more easily, without impairing the classicistic values. The basement had been completely wet owing to earlier flooding, therefore a 4 500 square-metre, perfectly waterproof dry storage area was established here.

The facade was renovated in line with Mihály Pollack’s designs and the classicist fence was also replaced with an authen­tic copy. Although the designs of the reconstructed museum garden and an underground parking garage had also been prepared, they were not realized owing to financial reasons.