Next Project

Borderlands In Budapest / Between Territories of the Marketplace

Part 2 Project 2004
Matthew Ball
University of Edinburgh Edinburgh UK
The project is to do with the new use of public space in the city.

The proposal is for the re-use of a city square (Klauzal Ter) in Budapest that is currently vague and underused, host to little more than a decrepit children’s playground.
The square is a Borderland in both its present day and historical context: It was formerly the site of one of Pest’s largest traditional markets, prior to the construction of the adjacent III Vasarcsarnuk (Market Hall).

The proposal seeks to engage with III Market Hall (the third of six in Budapest) by extending its practices of ‘exchange’ onto the square.
Thus, the buying of food in the market is given over to dining in the new Banquet House on the square, a programmatic extension that can be further drawn-out with a dance afterwards in the Dance Hall.
The emphasis of the programme is thus upon social exchange, with other facilities including a forum for the community and a library as well as a new children’s playground.
In this way, the proposal can be understood as another type of market, operating at a city scale between territories of the old and the new market.

Architecturally, the building engages with the landscape of the square, with equal emphasis towards building as well as landscaped space.
The square is already thought of as building; as a large public room in the city, which removes any confusion between the ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’: This is a fabricated landscape, whose naturalised, green spaces are contained, as in a walled garden – a microcosm whose details are brought to life by the individual user.
As landscape, the square can become habitable to the city dweller, whether they be engaged in ‘exchange’ or simply enjoying the passivity of the park.

In either scenario, the re-use of the square might elevate in an extraordinary way the simple, everyday procedures of the marketplace.

Matthew Ball


When a market is super one knows this prefix refers more to magnitude than quality of experience! At the height of Budapest’s ‘Belle Epoche’ of late 19th century, markets were designed into the city infrastructure. Perhaps these were early supermarkets where physical engineering mimicked economic engineering?

These covered markets still operate today but in the muddle left by the various conflicts of history, most notably and recently the forces of Capitalism since the removal of the Iron Curtain in 1989. In Budapest today street markets are as ubiquitous as ever, but they all tend to have proximity to their more structured neighbours, one seeming to question the status of the other. What is at stake in this tension of market forces is the question of what constitutes free exchange? The “invisible hand” of Capitalism often covers the answer rather than pointing the way!

Matt’s project frames this question by creating a local scale market on Klauzal Tèr adjacent to its run-down Belle Epoche designed version. Matt’s market requires market traders, consumers, playing children, internet surfers, coffee drinkers, banqueters and promenaders to operate together under community management in a cultivated landscape formed by the tectonic extrapolations from mappings of urban histories. These mappings of urban histories included those of the covered markets, notations of body movements in the processes of market exchange, and fictionalized geological forces that seem to have quaked the earth of Klauzal Tèr, the core of the 1944 Jewish Ghetto, and probably for some associated reason, lacuna in the plan for economic revitalization of the city.

2004
• Page Hits: 2039         • Entry Date: 15 September 2004         • Last Update: 15 September 2004