Architect: ZALAVÁRY Lajos
The eighty year old building of István Medgyaszai, outstanding representative of Hungarian concrete and folk-inspired architecture, became a multipurpose cultural center after reconstruction and extension; a venue for exhibitions, theatre performances, concerts and other events. The building has been renamed after its designer in appreciation of his work.
István Medgyaszay used the motives of folk architecture, mostly those from Transylvania on his buildings, but he had also been influenced by the architecture of the Far East and he was a forerunner of todays organic architecture. He began to design the Nagykanizsa Municipal Theatre in 1925, the opening ceremony took place on 14 March 1927. The theatre building is considered to be one of Medgyaszay’s major works because of its modernity, the integration of vernacular traditions and the unmatched richness of details. The National Theatre of Pécs had performed regularly there until World War II, but later mostly movies were screened in the building. The nationalized cinema was closed in 1992. The well worn building was ripe for reconstruction, but the utilisation of the building became possible only in 2003. During the survey, the dilapidated condition of the building became obvious, deteriorated also by earlier interventions, both outside and inside. The municipality intended to use the building, with some extensions, for various cultural purposes. After the extension and reconstruction, the complex with its great hall, kitchen, restaurant, multipurpose rooms and stage has become suitable to accommodate various events. The rooms in the back wing can be conveniently used for section meetings of conferences and training courses, but also as changing rooms for theatre performances. The toilets are accessible for disabled persons. The high standard HVAC system of the building meets all requirements, the rebuilt electric system serves the smooth organization of the events. The building is called Medgyaszai-House now and operates affiliated to the Nagykanizsa Cultural Centre.
Reconstruction started with the treatment of the timber roof structure against insects and fungal decay. The damaged structural elements have been replaced, the burned down roof of the rigging loft has been rebuilt, the floor slabs and the load bearing walls have been made damp proof. In the interior of the building, the former split-level podium have been rebuilt in the main entrance foyer, together with the benches decorated with peacock patterns. The timber beam ceiling has also been reconstructed and the cloakroom desk and racks, designed by the interior architect, have been installed. In the theatre hall, the large joists have been structurally reinforced, the decorative wall finishes, the wooden doors and the artistic, ornate chandeliers designed by Medgyaszay have been remanufactured. The most imposing features of the building are the sgraffiti on the main facade and in the lobby, depicting scenes from popular Hungarian plays, painted by painter Ottó Beszédes after designs by painter Dezső Raksány. The paintings were much faded and became slightly damaged in the course of time, but they have been carefully restored.
Location: Nagykanizsa, Sugár utca 5.
Architect: ZALAVÁRY Lajos
Associate architect: MOLNÁR Tibor
Interior architect: KERECSÉNYI Zsuzsa
Landscape architect: HAVASSY Gabriella
Area: 1430 m2