Lánchíd 19 is the first Hungarian member of Design Hotels. History: The designer of Lánchíd 19 was selected through a design competition of 6 selected architect teams in the spring of 2004. The 4-star hotel has 47 hotel rooms, restaurant and several meeting rooms.1. Dialogue with the Architectural ContextAssimilationFrom the Chain Bridge to the Ybl Bazaar a uniform architectural structure of a of 5-6 storey high eclectic apartment houses has been developed more than a hundred year ago. The only exception was No. 19. Lánchíd street where a 2-storey high, late XIX. century stable stood before its demolition.
The new building on the vacant site had just to fill the gap in the chain of facades.
Urban concept for the site and local authority required to fill precisely the space given: cornices, roof ridges and slopes and façade planes are adjusted to the neighbouring buildings.
Inspiration for the Outline:
In the space-concept of the building between the two wings of hotel rooms facing the Danube and BudaCastle a building-high narrow courtyard, an atrium is the third volume. Hotel rooms facing the Danube are opening from the lateral passage. Rooms facing the Castle can be approached through glass bridges in order to avoid making the narrow atrium tighter by another passage. Glass bridges have different position on each floor so that you can’t see the whole height of the atrium. This variation created a unique spatial effect with special atmosphere. Roof-lit inner courtyard is an upgraded, adapted version of the apartment houses with galleries known from the historical districts of Budapest.
The row of courtyards on the back street is continued by the intimate, hidden backyard of the hotel opening from the first floor. The backyard facing the Castle-hills high buttress and rich vegetation is used as the restaurant’s breakfast terrace. The hotel is behaving “social”, not isolated from the neighbouring reality; you can look through from your courtyard the next one.2. Dialogue with timeLánchíd street and Öntőház street facades translate built heritage in a complex way, integrating and mixing various traditions. Most of the houses in the line were built at the end of XIXth century. Vertical axes’ set on equal distances on facades (windows above each other) and horizontal divisions follow classical-eclectical tradition. French windows nearly have the eclectical windows’ size (old buildings had larger inner height and openings).
Balconies and round windows of the staircase refer to the neighbouring building from the interwar modernist period. Fine (playful) variation in the plane of the room windows are inspired by some houses in the Castle District from the sixties (designed by Zoltán Farkasdy and György Jánossy).
The shading glass lamellas on the Lánchíd street façade create a contemporary layer, like glass curtain strips. Behind the glass curtain the classical façade structure is visible: the basic concept of the façade is the transparency of the layers from different eras and spaces. More translucent than transparent: unity of structures is not didactic, not intrusive, rather suggested.
Play with citations of elements from different periods of the built heritage is completed with real archaeological relics from the site. Even for the researchers a sensational finding was the large wall on basement level with real historical value from the period of Sigismund of Luxembourg and some remaining of a wooden water-lifting structure. The tower-formed building could have been part of the BudaCastle’s water supply system in the Middle-Ages. Ruins are the lobby’s attraction: accessible through the stairs, and the walls are visible through a glass roof.
Inner space reinforces consciously connection to the water: illuminated glass bridges in the atrium and gently gliding glass elevators create a kind of underwater atmosphere, in this context the atrium’s glass roof is the water surface. 3. Dialogue with the DanubeBetween the line of houses leading to Ybl-Bazaar and the Danube there used to be a row of palaces demolished during the World War II. Present houses in Lánchíd street were not meant to be on the river side, the only one to take this challenge is the new Hotel. It’s motto is continuous dialogue with the Danube.
The permanently moving and changing glass structure on the façade ‘reflect’ the Danube’s surface. Besides, Lánchíd street façade transmits a characteristic architectural message. Message for the city, for the citizens, for the guests. The illuminated building stands like a lighthouse on the river bank. In the dark and silent silhouette its interactive permanently moving and changing façade provokes dialogue. Provoking in the positive sense: stimulating change, moving, reflexion.
Surrounding eclectic apartment houses – as usually for buildings from the same period – are full of ornaments. Shading patterns appearing on the glass lamellas and butterfly-motives etched in the prefabricated concrete façade elements adapt the tradition.About “Dead and Alive Architecture”Lánchíd 19 is tempting to make outer environmental effects visible on the interactive façade. (Motorical movements of the glass lamellas are affected by the weather station equipment placed on top of the building). On the other hand users –hotel guests – are actually involved in the game. The guests can change movement of the lamellas and change the façade opening the French window or turning room lights on and off. This way the upper architectural concept is related to the issue of design hotels.