Architect: POTTYONDY Péter
The House of Dialogue is the spiritual and cultural centre of the Jesuit order in Budapest, it facilitates the creative dialogue in the field of faith, culture and social integrity. The complex of three buildings has been reborn through the reconstruction, the street and courtyard facades have been beautified and the interiors have become more spacious, livable and easier to navigate.
In 1910–1911, when the buildings of the project were built, the Society of Jesus was a major and influential religious order in Europe and in Hungary as well, with a safe financial background. The construction of this complex of three buildings had been funded by private donations to accommodate the Hungarian Province of the Society of Jesus and its affiliated civilian establishments. After the nationalization in 1950, the Institute of Linguistics of the Marx Károly University of Economics, a special collegium of the university and the practice studios of the College of Theatre and Film Arts moved into the buildings. In 2004, the Jesuits got back the buildings in very poor condition. The Society of Jesus was still significant in the spiritual and cultural life of Hungary, but the number of Jesuits dropped to 40 and they had lost their financial background.
The main objective of the client’s concept, including each of the three buildings and the neighbouring Heart of Jesus Parish as well, was to achieve the realistic sustainability of the building complex. The Jesuits wanted to keep and renovate the buildings for the original functions, but for a smaller community. They intended to put up the unused parts of the buildings for rent, accepting tenants in line with their ethical rules. The main objective of the architectural concept was to create a unified complex from the three buildings with a clear traffic system, despite the significant difference of height between the various floors. This objective has been achieved in the design by reconsidering the functions and the spatial connections, proposing new openings, additional stairs and elevators; but the concept has been only partially realized, due to financial reasons. In 2008, the street and courtyard facades of the buildings at Nos.18–20 Horánszky Street were renovated. The interior alterations, done during the state-owned period, were demolished at No. 20, where a new arrangement of spaces was realized, adjusted to the new functions, but based on the original spatial texture. The two most important spaces of the building at No. 20, the chapel and the theatre had also been refurbished by 2011. The rooms of a special university collegium have been established by the Jesuits in building No. 18, independently from this project.
Though the comprehensive original development concept of the client and the architect could not be completely implemented so far, there are serious and interesting religious, cultural, social and economic events taking place in the refurbished parts of the buildings, along with the Jesuits’ daily activity. The House of Dialogue has become a major forum in the culturally colourful neighbourhood, hosting conferences, book launch events, lectures, workshops, exhibitions, music concerts and film clubs.
Location: Budapest, VIII. Horánszky utca 18–20.
Built: 2008, 2011
Architect: POTTYONDY Péter
Associate architect: WEIMPER Viktória
Interior architect: Terence CURRY (2008), KERECSÉNYI Zsuzsa (2011)
Area: 6718 m2