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How can a group of young architects find a place for refreshing in today’s world in a small town of Eger’scale, characterized by general (also cultural) emigration? Only if they create a suitable environment for themselves, from which the local community can also profit.
In recent years, the revitalization of existing buildings has come to the fore. Throughout our work, we experiment with different renovation strategies, in terms of design as well as financing. Out of the impulse, as our own initiative, we contacted the local government to provide us a vacant building that no one found the inspiration to refurbish and was too expensive to maintain.
We were granted a 15-year lease of the decaying state-owned building located in the middle of an old park. We had undertaken to implement a value-added reconstruction and fill the building with cultural content.
In defining our aesthetic standards, our guideline was to satisfy the basic technical requirements, but in terms of usability, we sought to achieve maximal functionality. In a collaboration involving the social sphere, the institutional sphere, and the construction industry, we managed to realize an exemplary renovation, making use of already available resources, without seed capital and cash flow.
We reversed the usual course of planning: first, we found material support for the required tasks and then came up with architectural solutions to match these. In less than a year, we managed to renovate the building using the materials received and recycling the objects found on site.
We involved students of a local polytechnic high school and convicts from the local penal institution in the process.
The planning process gained new meaning, and the construction became a collective activity, which pushed the building into the background: the greatest added value of the project turned out to be the growing social network of the collaborators.
Owing to the architectural intervention, a building that was once considered worthless has become a space full of life: a small but emblematic example of the power of community and the will to make a difference.
What makes this project of limited budget special is its reliance on existing resources, including the use of objects and materials found on site, their transformation and endowment with new meanings according to the building’s new function.
Throughout the renovation, in keeping with our limited budget, our guideline was to satisfy the basic technical requirements. We never sought to achieve perfection.
The project is permanently on the verge of achieving completion, compensating this with the quality of details and by giving unusual function to some components.
Limited conditions compel us to think even more about the essence of the project. Clear thoughts are often the result of a tight budget.