Simplon Udvar in Budapest
Budapest-based practice Studio T2a, founded in 2004, is run by two architects from different generations. What unites father-and-son team Gábor and Bence Turányi is not so much the quest for a recognisable architectural style as a flexible approach to architectural design and an open working relationship that combines traditional values with innovative contents as well as a focus on technological expertise and experimentation.
«This is the only way to achieve a perfect balance between the technical and economic aspects of architecture,» say the two designers. «The primary aim of our work is to find the solution that best fits in with the characteristics of the natural and built environment. We are constantly in search of correlations between location, function and material.»
The result is evident in their works, a wide variety of natural-looking buildings that appear to have emerged spontaneously from the surrounding environment.
A good example of this approach is offered by Simplon Udvar in Budapest, a prestigious residential complex located in the South Buda area which has seen numerous urban regeneration and strategic development projects. Set in an exclusive area close to the river Danube and the green space of Gellért Hill, the building also enjoys a privileged position in terms of quality of services, including accessibility, public transport, institutional infrastructures and retail and entertainment facilities.
Arranged in a C-shaped layout on three sides of a block, the building delimits the internal courtyard and rises seven storeys above ground along with a further three underground floors for garages. Above the street level with shops there are five floors with luxury apartments and an exclusive penthouse that offers splendid views over the neighbourhood. Each residence is enhanced by large loggias that enliven the facades with a playful and colourful alternation of empty spaces and multicoloured glass surfaces. The innovative compositional use of colour on the external elevations, which display a contemporary reinterpretation of the ornamental motifs of historic buildings, is partly repeated inside the courtyard. The ceramic covering provides structural support to the original graphic and colour design of the facade, assuming a technical and functional as well as decorative role. The geometric design of the ventilated curtain wall that protects the building is defined by a rigorous orthogonal grid with a modulus size determined by the tile dimensions. The porcelain tile facing descends to ground level and covers the access balconies, integrating seamlessly with the other materials. The chosen ceramic tiles are from Casalgrande Padana’s Pietre Native line, Pietre Etrusche and Pietre di Sardegna series in colours Manciano and Tavolara and sizes 30×30 cm, 30×60 cm and 45×90 cm.