Urban Crack

Revitalizing a neglected square in the center of Budapest

Design Studio Project

BME University, Budapest

Kádár Bálint

Linn Nagel, Ester Castellote, Carla Ejarque 

Budapest, Hungary

April 2016

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map Budapest

Urban Crack is a project about reforming Klauzal square in the city center of Budapest. Klauzal square is at the middle of the 7th district, one of the most dynamic and evolving parts of the city. Today is a conventional square with a fenced perimeter, a small playground and basketball court inside. Since the whole district has no other big square even though is full of public life and activities, the project envisions the creation of the public “heart” of the district.

The concept for the new design grabs the idea of this heart lying beneath the public ground and “cracking” it as it beats. Three big plates are formed overlapping each other and creating a semi-hidden space below them. This space is used to maximize the public use of the square while still presenting the horizontal open space above. The access to the lower level is made through staircases or ramps formed between the main plates. The axes of them follow important elements of the surroundings.

The public space beneath the plates is divided into two parts, one below each plate. At one side the more cultural functions are concentrated, while the other side has facilities for sports. The plates are lifted up gradually with their highest point being at the center of the square. Through this design gesture, two things are achieved. Firstly the functions get more sunlight and views to the rest of the underground open air space and secondly it makes the underground part more welcoming to the pedestrians walking around. The north part of the square has no building beneath, letting big trees and rich greenery to grow. The retaining wall of this part is turned into a green wall both for emphasizing its importance but also offering an interesting view to the users of the underground space.

The public space beneath the plates is divided into two parts, one below each plate. At one side the more cultural functions are concentrated, while the other side has facilities for sports. The plates are lifted up gradually with their highest point being at the center of the square. Through this design gesture, two things are achieved. Firstly the functions get more sunlight and views to the rest of the underground open air space and secondly it makes the underground part more welcoming to the pedestrians walking around. The north part of the square has no building beneath, letting big trees and rich greenery to grow. The retaining wall of this part is turned into a green wall both for emphasizing its importance but also offering an interesting view to the users of the underground space.

Not only the sportive character of Klauzal square is being enhanced but it gets combined with cultural and recreational activities.  At both levels the new square constitutes a sports, cultural and recreational destination for the whole district, aiming to be the heart of it, a heart that never ceases to beat.