Railway station - Szeged (H)

Szeged Railway Station

A major conservative restoration project in which Italian tiles have been integrated into a historic setting of high architectural value
Carlo Paganelli
Luciano Busani
Tibor Hajós, Hajós Épitész Iroda
Year of completion

In the past, large railway stations (symbols of the modern age ushered in by the Industrial Revolution) often underwent radical redevelopment or new construction work, whereas the tendency today is to carry out large-scale conservative restoration projects. Although stations built in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries were originally positioned at the edges of cities, the subsequent urban expansion has meant that they have ended up in very central locations. They therefore have great socio-economic significance due to their dual role as mass transport structures and as places for relations and interchange. The work carried out on the station in Szeged reflects these two aspects.
Szeged, a university city and an important economic centre in south-western Hungary, underwent radical redevelopment in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries following the devastating floods of 1879 which destroyed 95 percent of its buildings. Of these architectural works rebuilt after the tragic event, one that stands out in particular for its beauty and compositional rigour is the new synagogue, a monumental Liberty style building with Moorish influences and which is one of the most interesting in Europe with a wealth of coloured decorations ranging from white to gold and intense blue.
Colour qualities and compositional rigour, key characteristics of the romantic architectural language that was commonplace in Eastern Europe, are also visible in the railway station which has recently undergone renovation work featuring the use of Italian ceramic tiles. The design concept chosen by the Hungarian architecture firm sought to satisfy two seemingly irreconcilable requirements: to carry through a project in accordance with twenty-first century modernity while respecting the original cultural milieu of about a hundred years ago.
Tiles from Casalgrande Padana were chosen on the basis of the company’s experience in supplying products used in high-traffic structures such as shopping centres and railway stations. The chosen product was Marte collection porcelain tile, a product that maintains its initial performance characteristics even after several years of use.
In addition to renovating spaces and expanding some environments while maintaining the wide range of colours present in the original decorations, in order to satisfy the station’s new functional requirements special tactile guided routes had to be created for visually impaired passengers. Furthermore, it was essential that these preferential routes would not interfere with the spirit of the original decorations featuring the rigorous geometric compositions of the decorative tradition of Eastern European countries with its abundance of repetitions and references to oriental art. In this context, the Loges series from Casalgrande Padana offered various options capable of facilitating movement for people who have mobility problems associated with the visual perception of space.

Casalgrande Padana, Granitogres, Loges and Marte series
porcelain stoneware
30x30, 30x60 cm
Verde Guatemala, Grigio Egeo, Giallo Reale, Nero Acapulco
Technical characteristics
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): <0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): nessuna alterazione
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): illimitata
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): compliant
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): compliant
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): N/mm2 50÷60
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R9 A, R11 A+B
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