European Youth Centre Budapest – Refurbishment

Location: Budapest II., Zivatar utca 1–3.

Costruction in several phases: 2005–2011

Date of completion: 2011

Architect: POTTYONDY Péter

Associate architect: WEIMPER Viktória

Interior designer: SCHINAGL Gábor



Designed by András Csángó and his associates (from the Ministry of Construction and General Building Design Company) Hotel Youth was built in 1964. After several years of operation with changing success, owing to an agreement between the Hungarian Government and the Council of Europe, it was converted to a hotel and conference centre in 1996, maintained by the Hungarian state and run by the Coun­cil of Europe. In 2004, the ­renovation of the energy supply system and the general modernisation of the building could not be postponed any more, therefore a technical survey was prepared.

Relying on the survey, the refurbishment of the building began in 2005, according to the conditions defined by the min­istry responsible for the refurbishment and the operator of the facility. The first stage was the thermal insulation and the complete architectural reconsideration of the elevation. It was followed by the interior reconstruction of the storeys of the hotel rooms, in several stages. The architect’s job was to design the renovation of the building with thermal insulating plasterwork, as a minimum requirement of the maintaining company; but also to create a modern image of European standards, as required by the operator. Sheet metal plated sandwich panels, often used on agricultural and industrial buildings, provided the up-to-date solution, which could be kept within the budget limits. Silver coloured thermal insulating panels have been placed, with ventilation gaps, in front of the 300 millimetre thick plastered brick walls, built in the 1960s. The completely new facade of the building is working well in terms of building physics. The original wired glass para­pet has been replaced by a random composition of floortoceiling high tempered glass panes, steel bar railings and ­shading lamellas, placed in front of the balconies.

The arrangement and the size of the hotel rooms have not been changed, only the obsolete corridors and room interiors have been replaced by a new interior design, in line with the new function and the fire safety regulations. Full accessibility for disabled people had to be introduced in the whole building as required by the European principles. Accordingly, new lav­atories, a new loudspeaker system, new colouring, a Braille information system and rooms with disabled facilities have been installed in the building. According to the original concept, the kitchen at the basement and on the ground floor, the community areas on the ground floor and on the sixth floor were also supposed to be refurbished, but these works have not been done yet. The high quality original building – it had been awarded the Ybl Prize after construction – was rejuvenated. It is an imposing landmark on Rózsadomb (Rose Hill), the result of a successful cooperation of the ministry, the Council of Europe and the designers.