MI9 – Budapest
architectural and general design: Tamás Pintér and Miklós Dombi | DPI-DESIGN Kft.
electricity designer: Richárd Bartha | WTF Kft.
project management and technical supervision of construction: dr. Tímea Lídia Matuz | White Star Real Estate Ltd.
property developer: Bonemo Kft.
general contractor: Miklós Németh | Dömper Kft.
isible fittings behind the clinker bricks – MI9
A transformer house with the shape of American office buildings is being remodelled as an office block in Markó Street, integrating the needs of 21st century office workers and the elements of art deco. The main goal of the architects, Miklós Dombi and Tamás Pintér (DPI-DESIGN) was to restore the original atmosphere of the building and remove distracting architectural elements that had been attached to it during the years.
This year, one of the most fascinating, “A Class” office building – a former transformer house put in a new role – is being opened in Markó Street. The historic-listed art deco building owes its attractiveness to its location in the buzzing city centre, its historic character and unique interior design solutions. Occupants of Markó Offices 9 (Markó Irodák 9 I MI9) will profit from the inspiring atmosphere of the galleries, the “visible fittings” and the natural light. The 5-storey office block with galleries on two levels and 2,630 sq. m. unique and diverse floor space was tailored in particular to meet the needs of creative workshops, start-ups and progressive companies.
For almost ten years, unbuilt plots in the city centre have been difficult to find, therefore, one of the typical tendencies among property investors is renovating or reconstructing older buildings to meet the needs of the 21st century office; and this is what exactly has happened to the building located at 9 Markó Street, which is characterized by its outstanding architectural values and an atmosphere reminding of American office blocks.
The art deco building reconstructed under the direction of an “architect duo”, Dénes Györgyi and Ernő Román, and originally served as the electrical substation of Lipótváros (one of the neighbourhoods in Budapest) had been built in 1930 and its integrity survived WW II, as well as the revolution in 1956 relatively intact. It was listed as historic in 1978 and registered as historic monument in 1995; currently, it is a historic monument under national protection and the part of Budapest’s conservation area. It has undergone reconstruction works both in 1992 and 1997, and as a result of the latter it received a glass-enveloped staircase and roof windows. Bonemo Kft. purchased property in November 2014 and launched the Markó Offices 9 project with the aim of preserving the imposing form and style of the transformer house while giving the interior a modern appearance and new functions at the same time. Instead of following the stereotype of the austere office, they turned the whole building into an inspiring environment, by exploiting the unique space connections. The diversity of spaces, illuminability, galleries, green terraces and conservatories all add to the playfulness of the space.
The clinker brick façade of the transformer house is divided by vertical triangular wooden pillars, thus giving a certain rhythm to the front. This architecture, its emphasized corner solutions and industrial-style band windows bear resemblance to the Northern German brick architecture of the era, as well as American office buildings. This slightly archaic but also modern-style building is an outstanding representative of functional principles, which (according to relevant literature) “is the result of an urban planning relying on logical thinking”.
“The main values of the building: its mass, façades and their proportions. Therefore, the first and utmost criterion of reconstruction – in addition to meet the needs of occupants and respecting the concept of the architect – was to preserve the original characteristics of the building. The architect replaced all compromise related to the building’s listed status and to any other technical considerations with a creative exploitation of its uniqueness” – summarized Erzsébet Kőszeghy, property manager, representative of the developer.
Reconstruction of the building
Miklós Dombi and Tamás Pintér, architects (DPI-DESIGN) created a modern office building that meets today’s requirements by using contemporary tools, optimizing the space structure and installing economic renewable building services engineering systems. In the planning phase, their main goal was to restore the original atmosphere, therefore they removed any distracting elements attached to the building during the years. The top floor received glass envelopes running around then turning into flat roof windows, as well as internal patios, thus becoming a home for exclusive office spaces; the Northern and the Southern roof surfaces were transformed into rooftop terraces surrounded by glass railings. When designing the middle levels of the building it was an effort to create office spaces with high ceilings and display the original beams of the roof. By making the fittings visible, the designers summoned the atmosphere of the old industrial roots of the building.
The interior design of the ground floor hall is a subtle mixture of the elements and materials of art deco and modern architecture. Both the planning and the construction phase was implemented with the professional cooperation of the staff of the authority in charge of the conservation of monuments.
The high-quality, “A Class” office building in the middle of the city centre (the heart of the 5th District) is located in an easily accessible and prestigious neighbourhood, in the vicinity of numerous administrative, public and commercial institutions. The building was also the home of a bank branch, therefore, one of Budapest’s modern private safe-deposit services with separate entrance is also offered here (2 vaults with 900 safes). Prospective occupants will enjoy the advantages of high-quality building services engineering systems: energy saving solutions are granted by heat pumps and efficient heat recovery. A specific feature of MI9 is that the building can be walked around and as such, it has large-surface windows facing outside – mainly the inner garden – on each side, letting in the light throughout several floors. Thanks to its appealing coffered solutions, the building has a modern, yet classic appearance. It also has a fast charger station installed in the courtyard and one of the entrances was made accessible to the disabled.
Due to its innovative interior design ideas, Markó Offices 9 will be ideal for progressive companies (such as creative workshops, consulting or high-tech agencies) and start-ups, but it is also a perfect choice as the headquarters of multinational companies, as well as local businesses.