Architects: DOBOZI Miklós, ROSCH Gábor
The general reconstruction and development of this outstanding example of Hungarian neoclassical architecture has been accomplished with the utmost regard to the principles of monument protection. The technical problems have been solved, the original sequence of spaces has been restored, the newly discovered original colours have been used on the walls and the floor space of the building has been enlarged underground. With all these interventions, the museum meets both the modern professional requirements and the expectations of the visitors.
The museum, designed by Mihály Pollack, was built in 1847 and it had been altered many times in the past 150 years. The first major alteration happened just 20 years after it had opened: the ornamental staircase was built, with frescoes by Károly Lotz and Mór Than and the interiors were richly decorated, which was a typical practice of the era. The reconstruction in 1926-1928 focused on the simplicity of the classical style, so some of the interior decorations were painted over or removed. The building had often been subjected to inefficient or rough interventions and it had suffered damages during the war as well. Owing to the reorganization of the overcrowded collection and the development of modern technologies in conservation, the reconstruction of the building, fully observing the aspects of monument protection, became imperative. While the development of modern museology and the growth of the collection required modernization and the considerable expansion of the floor space, the appearance of the protected historic building could not be changed at all.
Pollack wanted the museum space to serve the exhibited objects, he strived to avoid the dominance of architecture, so this was the principle the reconstruction design also followed. Nevertheless, owing to the changed use of the museums, the needs of modern day visitors had to be considered as well, besides the requirements of exhibition and research. The most spectacular task of the long lasting design and 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 floor finishes, the frescoes and the decorative painting have been explored and restored. Moreover, considerable functional alterations and technical improvements have been implemented. The extension of the floor space could be realized in three locations. The attic space, that had partly been utilized since the reconstruction in the 1920s, has been fully built in as a third floor and accommodates collection storage rooms and restorer workshops. Further possibility of extension was the underground establishment of new spaces in the two courtyards. The lapidarium, exhibiting Roman stones, has been built under the southern courtyard and different restorer workshops, storerooms and service areas under the northern one. New elevators have been installed, providing accessibility and allowing heavy art objects to be moved around more easily, without damaging the neoclassical surroundings. There is a new copper sheet roofing; the original copper roofing had been used for war purposes and it was substituted by galvanized steel sheets. The completely wet basement has been dried out and an effective waterproofing system has been installed, so 4500 square metre, perfectly dry storage area has been established here. The facade has been renovated in line with Mihály Pollack’s designs and the neoclassical fence has been 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 at the time of the reconstruction, owing to financial reasons.
Location: Budapest VIII., Múzeum körút 14-16.
Architects: DOBOZI Miklós, ROSCH Gábor
Interior architect: KERECSÉNYI Zsuzsa
Area: 30,700 m2