Ethnography reflects the knowledge and the system of meanings in the lives of cultural groups. The house of ethnography should be a medium between the cultures and the people who are part of the same. As so, the Ethnographical museum is important to culture as houses are to people, and the approach to it should be the same. The museum in se is not the main attraction, as the main attraction in a house is not the house, but the people who live in it. Still, houses represent the families living in them and their characters, who they are, what they do and where they live. In the same way the home of ethnography needs to showcase whom it is the home, and that should be clear without reading the name on the bell, but just passing by.
As ethnography studies mainly utensils, costumes and decorations, the museum building is approached as a tool for conserving, studying and showcasing ethnographical artefacts, which is decorated on the outside. The site approach is crucial in this context on the boarder of the city and the park, and as happens in characteristic environments, the architectural solution can be given by the site its self. The prolonged lot in between the urban context and the park, and the ideal orientation ask for different approach on each side, considering that there is also a third side towards the promenade. The north side towards the park has a beautiful morning light and a nice shade during the day, as well as the view on the trees of the park. It is the natural orientation for spaces that are occupied all day long, for the workers, and can be opened with glass walls without any shading devices to let as much light as possible and free the view. The urban side of the lot is oriented to the south, so it has many of sun, and needs to take in consideration the relation with the city. This side is treated as a continuous single fascia from Ajtósi Dürer to Dózsa György, which creates the relation with the surrounding buildings and protects the interior from sun rays. Typical rhomboidal folk decorations for clothes and textile are used in form of windows to decorate the fascia. The windows scheme mimics the folk design, putting together form and function to make the building recognizable at first glimpse as an ethnographical institution. The ground level on Dózsa György is setback to give space to the sidewalk and to the existing trees, but also to create a connection between the street and the museum main level through a diagonal curtain wall, making a connection between the happenings inside the museum and inside the city.
The façade towards the promenade needs to be its focal point and highly representative of the museum. The central shape takes inspiration from the antique wooden cradles. The shape is the metaphor of the function of the Museum of Ethnography, which protects and preserves the cultures and their uses, with the same care as a newborn would be protected and looked after.
In plan the building reflects the site constrains and project demands: main entrance from the promenade; museum employees spaces towards the park; intersection of the axis promenade with the axis park-to-city (north-south) which creates the central space of the museum and divides the exhibition blocks, but also connects the corner between the streets and the park creating a secondary entrance; vertical circulation on the city side to be a filter between exhibition and the city and to create relation between visitors and the street; cafeteria on ground floor on the park side; children museum to be connected to the park; parking entrance easily approachable and not on the main facades.
The exhibition spaces are divided into two blocks, the temporary and the permanent with children museum and learning. The first finds space over the main entrance, to it is added the office block towards the park. The permanent exhibition block is hosted in the south part of the lot in a circular space to take advantage of the triangular form, at ground level the museum learning spaces, on level 1 the children museum which descends to the ground at the park, levels 2 and 3 are occupied by the permanent exhibition and the roof level is an open terrace closed to the city and opened to the park, which can host agricultural artifacts. Permanent and temporary exhibition spaces are connected just on level 2, through the museum shop and the exit.
At ground level there are multiple entrances from the main axis. On Dózsa György are placed the shops to open directly on the street and the entrances to lecture and event halls. Cafeteria is placed in the building center towards the park to serve at best all the museum. From the promenade is the main entrance and reception hall. Level 1 is the main distribution level to exhibition blocks.
In the underground level are situated the artefacts storages and working spaces. The underground parking is 4m tall to let trucks approach the storages. All the mechanical equipment find place on the park side where clean air can be find.
The museum structure is in reinforced concrete, for ease of construction and to support the heavy loads of the museum. The façade towards Dózsa György is appended on beams which stand on the circular structural columns. The columns are the main structure and are disposed on grids to optimize the exhibition spaces. The façade materials are concrete, cor-ten steel and glass, all of which need few maintenance.
The building design takes in consideration the climate of Budapest. The energy concept is to reduce at minimum the energy use and its wasting, but also to produce optimal micro-climate in the various parts of the museum. Therefore geothermal air cooling-heating, solar water heating and rain water use are applied. Calculations show that geothermal cooling is enough to answer the museum needs in the summer without any added help, while the heating during winter needs added energy which is given by fan-coils, in this way the optimal output of the air temperature and humidity can be controlled continuously, mainly in the exposition areas and artefacts storages. The use of green roof gives many advantages, not just perfect thermal insulation, but it’s also a natural rain water filter, which can then be stored and consumed for non-potable uses. 160m2 of new generation solar collectors surface on the roof can give hot water during winter cloudy days, enough to meet the museum needs. For all this systems to work well a perfect insulation is needed. Exterior walls are 60cm thick to accommodate appropriate thermal insulation (material to be chosen in base of local offer), all the glazing are to be 3 layers with aluminum mullions, the green roof gives natural insulation. The space between the exterior walls and the exhibition halls is providing thermal stability to the spaces hosting artefacts, which need to control thermal differences caused only by visitors. This control is provided by a central system which constantly monitors temperature and humidity and reacts accordingly.Location: Budapest, Hungary Authors: Uros Novakovic & Renato Pucci Project: BUDAPEST ETHNOGRAPHIC MUSEUM Project type: Competition Entry Project Year: 2014