Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music – Reconstruction

Location: Budapest VI., Liszt Ferenc tér 8.

Date of completion: 2013

Senior architects: POTZNER Ferenc, MAGYARI Éva és PAZÁR Béla (MNDP Építőművészeti Kft.)

Interior designers: MAGYARI Éva és PAZÁR Béla (MNDP Építőművészeti Kft.)


The Academy of Music was founded in 1875 and the building of the Old Academy of Music – as it is called today – was completed in 1879, but it was quickly outgrown by the institute. Therefore a new building of the Academy of Music, designed by Flóris Korb and Kálmán Giergl was constructed between 1904 and 1907, which became a Gesamtkunstwerk, a total work of art. The best artists and craftsmen worked on the exterior and the interior of the building. The elevations were ­covered by richly carved Sóskút limestone cladding, the plinths were faced with carved and polished granite blocks, while the main facade was decorated with rich architectural courses, stone and bronze friezes and statues. The Academy of Music is one of the first Hungarian public buildings with reinforced concrete structures:  the reinforced concrete slabs, balcony and roof structures were designed by renowned civil engineer Szilárd Zielinski.

The complete reconstruction of the Academy of Music was decided in 2003 with the purpose, that the old and renewed values of the outstanding building could serve the world-famous Hungarian music culture – education of the highest standard and concerts – the best way possible, in line with the requirements of the 21st century. The modern spaces, meeting the requirements of these two functions, had to be installed so, that the original atmosphere of the building was preserved at the same time. After the reconstruction, the building offers more up-to-date conditions and a larger area for concerts and education. The interior has been enlarged with about 3000 square metres, strictly observing the regulations of historic monument protection. The interior spaces are exceptionally beautiful, they have been preserved in their original conditions, refurbished and authentically re-painted according to a complex iconographic program.

The public areas of the building have been enlarged by utilizing the two courtyards. The ground floor of the multi-storey courtyard on the Király Street side accommodates a snack-bar serving the educational part of the institution in the daytime and the Grand Hall in the evening. There is another snack-bar connected to the Chamber Hall, above the library on the first floor, in the courtyard between the Chamber Hall and the Grand Hall, suitable for smaller events and receptions as well. The stage and the rigging-loft have been replaced in the Chamber Hall, therefore it is suitable for teaching opera and holding chamber and historic opera performances. The Grand Hall is the best-known, most decorated space of the Academy of Music, beloved both by the artists and the audience. The Hall had to be refurbished according to its original image, but also providing up-to-date technical background.  The classrooms have been remodelled according to the requirements of modern music education with advanced floating floor structures, soundproof partition walls and acoustic cladding, preserving and restoring the original spatial system.

An air-conditioned instrument storage room has been built in the basement, under the stage of the Grand Hall and the number of toilets has also been increased. The development of the premises had to provide infrastructure for the concerts that had been missing so far: modern stage technology and systems, an instrument storage room, changing rooms of sufficient size and number for the orchestra and the choir, changing rooms for solo artists and a special, modern studio to record the events in the concert halls. The vibration-free and sound-proof boiler room and the rooms of the cooling and ventilation systems have been installed on the top floor, while the mechanical room of the Grand Hall is located in the bridge structure, supported by new reinforced concrete service blocks, designed to replace the back wings of the courts. The building was awarded the Europa Nostra Prize in 2015, as an outstanding example of the best reconstructions.