University of West Hungary – Science Centre

Location: Sopron, Bajcsy Zsilinszky utca 4.

Date of completion: 2011

Architect: RADVÁNYI Katalin

Associate architect: VARGHA Júlia

Interior designer: SCHINAGL Gábor

Landscape designer: HAVASSY Gabriella


The major function of the Science Centre (Ligneum Visitor Centre) is the interactive presentation of the University of West Hungary in Sopron (NYME), the education subjects of its traditional faculties – those of the Faculty of Forestry and Timber Industry in the first place (forest, wood, biology) – and the popu­larization of the university. Another objective is to provide information to visitors and students about the botanical garden and the research work of the university. The building has been constructed on the site of the University of West Hungary in a protected arboretum and nature reserve, where a new facility could only be built to replace existing buildings and only after their demolition.

The university had an open-air swimming pool functioning until the 1960s. The conditions of the disused facility deteriorated very much and it had to be demolished. It was replaced by the Science Centre. The new building consists of a basement, a ground floor and a gallery. Visitors arrive to a hall and reception area on the ground floor, which is an exhibition and presentation area at the same time. The information desk and a selfcontained textbook vendor unit are also located here. The two storey high exhibition hall with a gallery opens from this area, offering several posibilities to place interactive stations and to hold various events. The hall is connected to the basement and the gallery with a staircase and an elevator. There is a classroom, a storeroom – divided from the hall by a glass wall with showcases – a sanitary block and the building’s mechanical room at the basement. The building is two storey high, it has a double glued laminated timber structure and a glass elevation wall.

The building was awarded several prizes, including the Archi­tecture Award of Excellence 2013 in the “Public Building” category. A year later, in 2014 the Winkler Oszkár Plaquette was awarded to the Ligneum Visitor Centre of the University of West Hungary by the Presidency of the Sopron Town Embellishment Association – after the recommendation of their architectural commission. This award means that the architectural image and its position in the natural environment is exemplary among the buildings of Sopron.