peter kis atelier: the metamorphosis of the great rock
peter kis atelier: the metamorphosis of the great rock peter kis atelier: the metamorphosis of the great rock
may 31, 2012

peter kis atelier: the metamorphosis of the great rock

‘the metamorphosis of the great rock’ by peter kis atelier, budapest, hungary image © zsolt batár all images courtesy of peter kis atelier

‘the metamorphosis of the great rock’ is a refurbishment for ‘the great rock’ at the budapest zoo in hungary, executed by peter kis atelier of hungarian practice PLANT. initially constructed between 1909 and 1912, original plans to expand the constrained size of the 10 hectare zoo by inhabiting the space beneath the hollow form were halted due to budget constraints and the onset of world war I.

constructed with 6-12 inch thick portland cement, the artificial earthform uses a lattice structure to support the 8,000 cubic meters of concrete to create the appearance of a craggy dolomite terrain. based upon the ‘egyeskő’ peak in transylvania, the 34 meter tall representation covers an area of 4,700 square meters.

gallery image © zsolt batár

due to recently large temperature fluctuations, the growing permeability to water prompted action to maintain the historical piece. now 100 years later, the time was right to implement the vision up to today’s contemporary standards. after fixing the weakened structure, the experience of the interior gallery was produced, carving penetrations into the exterior shell to introduce natural daylight into the once cave-like volume. an interactive exhibition of games, models of animals and microscopes offer visitors opportunities for personal discovery.

heated water from the adjacent széchenyi thermal bath supplies renewable energy to the site.

original timber structure is celebrated within the white gallery experience images © zsolt batár

in reference to the original intentions of the open space within the hollow structure, dr. adolf lendl, director of the budapest zoo during 1909 had stated:

‘the entire large hill will be made of cement concrete and will be empty inside. we will open the wall on one of the sides with a cave like gate entrance enclosing it with a light structure, and in the inside a huge hall, this could even be 30 m long. we will erect a stuffed whale here from the northern seas, perhaps together with the skeleton, and also several specimens of dolphins, as these are not expensive and are very characteristic animals that can rarely be seen.’

images © zsolt batár

image © zsolt batár

overhead shylights within the exterior shell introduce natural daylight images © zsolt batár

during construction images © zsolt batár

images © zsolt batár

images © zsolt batár

image © zsolt batár

image © zsolt batár

graphic rendering

floor plan / level 0 1. entrance hall 2. main staircase 3. central space 4. parabolic space 5. ramps 6. skylight 7. cave

aerial view

section perspective

project info:

architecture: PLANT – atelier peter kis kft. architect: péter kis
architects – bea molnár, péter nyitrai, tamás ükös
 staff: péter romvári, orsolya hőna, péter hámori, róbert erdélyi, piroska varga, ádám potzner renders, plans: PLANT – atelier peter kis kft.
 photo:  zsolt batár

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