Today, this fantastic building is almost unknown at 29 Vadász Street. Its story and fate are intertwined with the past of Hungarian industry and glass production, the history of modern architecture in the 20th century, and the memories of the deportation and persecution of Jews. The building was designed by Lajos Kozma in 1935 for the Gyula Weiss Jr. glass shop; the architectural interpretation provided Kozma with an unusual opportunity to present glass as a tool of modern architecture, from the glass staircase to the unconventional use of glass in the interior spaces and facades. The building is a historical monument, so there is still a chance to save what is preserved. The building is also a historical monument – a fact that is now commemorated by a modest little museum. During the Second World War, this building was the site of the rescue mission of tens of thousands of Jews, with the help of Swiss diplomat Carl Lutz.

The design brief was essential to renovate the building in a commercially viable form, and to design the memorial site in a dignified way. The specified office use offered the best possible prospects for this. A more exciting and beautiful job we could perhaps not imagine. The task here was to renovate and extend an existing building in a manner that conserves and respects Kozma’s building, and to create a worthy memorial, which was also a great work. The situation of the narrow downtown site, which is familiar to us, was not made very problematic by the regulatory plan, nor was the size of the extension.

On the ground floor, we designed a large communal lobby by reconstructing the original partially colored glass surfaces and staircase, which will provide space for a café and the information desk, an access ramp to the memorial, besides the office entrance. The memorial is in the expanded basement, in spaces articulated by the skylights of the courtyard. The façade on the street side was designed to be as authentic as possible, while the façade on the inner side, the extended built-on areas, was designed with a glass façade that takes advantage of the possibilities of the 21st century.

Unfortunately, the project was suspended at the concept design stage and we have not heard any more about the client’s intentions since then, but we hope that one day they will come back to us…