Power Distributor Competition - An alternative for the Decision

2020. május 01. - 13:18

The news on the demolition of the Electric Power Distributor Station in the Castle district by Csaba Virág have surfaced once again, now without doubt, it seems. We could say goodbye to the building at the altar of the failed dialogue of the architectural profession, decision-makers, and public opinion, if this dialogue has ever even started.

Additions to the Castle District of the 60’s and 70’s inserted the aesthetics and technical toolset of their time into the heritage environment without compromise. Buildings by Csaba Virág and his contemporaries illustrate the architectural views of the age well, and how these fall into line with the continuing narrative of previous eras. As Virág himself describes the Power Distributor: “if it were placed on a sheet of glass, it would still be a contemporary building.”

Despite the difficult circumstances and insufficient technical possibilities this relentless awareness established an internationally relevant quality, which contemporary architects should learn from. Architects of the State Planning Offices did not adjust their plans to past big developments which concentrate on the representative function of the Castle but to the organic fabric of residential buildings, while their ideas stayed brave and free from constraints. Today, we view these buildings as unavoidable parts of our architectural history education.

Meanwhile, we see that they could disappear at any time, despite the almost unanimous protest of the profession.

“Considering that the specialized function of the building, which it fulfilled until 2007 is not economically adaptable to a different task, the decision had no alternative. The demolition was also called for by a previous residential initiative. A new building has to be built here, which fits the historical environment.”

We believe that the Decision has an alternative.

We would like to think that the role of architecture is not just to implement given tasks, but to widen the spectrum of thought and create more sustainable alternatives and opportunities that serve communities better. There can be differences of opinion on the evaluation of the heritage of different eras, but the dialogue can only start when we see everything that could be.

If you had 5000 m2, and a magnificent tower in the Castle, what would you do to make it the best place? How could the Distributor Station be transformed economically after all? How could you convince the public opinion and the owner, that the building should stay? Is it only a matter of removing the wrinkled foil from the façade? Or should it really be demolished? What would it be instead?

The Frozen Musician is calling all architecture students, city dwellers or practicing architects, who can imagine alternatives to the decision about the building to participate in the competition.

This can be articulated in design plans for the building, but it can be a text, montage, video, or any other format. Our goal is not to receive designs that are structurally feasible or fulfil the concept of traditional heritage but on the contrary: we would like to show that architecture can not only have an executive role, but can act as an initiator, and that respect towards buildings doesn’t mean that the only two options are full restoration or full demolition.

(We especially recommend the study of Levente Szabó DLA under the "Literature" folder, which analyses the building and its era in English.)
We are accepting entries until 3rd May 23:59 at the

muzsipalyazat@gmail.com email adress.
We will not be awarding or ranking the entries, but they will be published online by The Frozen Musician (anonymously on request).
We are excited to see your work!
Megfagyott Muzsikus - The Frozen Musician: