New National Gallery & Ludwig Museum
Budapest, Hungary

289,710 sf (incl. landscape & civic space) • 26,915 sq m

Davis Brody Bond participated an invited competition to design the the new National Gallery and Ludwig Museum in Budapest. The etymology of “Buda” and “Pest” can be traced to their geomorphologic bases: “Buda” refers to water and “Pest” means cave. We envision our building as a merging of these two archetypical attributes. Ground levels host public functions that cascade into the park. Much like the strata of limestone formations, the exhibition and office spaces step inward and outward to offer a contrasting, yet intimate user relationship with the artifacts. The elevated volume containing these spaces floats, shrouded in a skin of natural pattern inspired by the organic structure of leaves. The porous skin allows an abundance of light and a kaleidoscopic pageant of shade and shadow to bathe the limestone cladding.

The overall planning and stacking strategy for the building situates public- and event-based programs at grade and atop the building, while the galleries and staff offices are located in between. This placement of dark and dense gallery program higher up in the building helps to liberate the ground plane, freeing it up to become a civic-based event plaza. The planning of the gallery provides both the New National Gallery and Ludwig Museum their own individual floor plates to better reinforce each institution’s singular identity. Temporary and permanent collections are split via an open air atrium that intuitively draws patrons up and through the building, reinforces the city axis, and allows natural light to come deep into the center of the sheltered plaza below.

The landscape design consists of an organization of serpentine bands or striations that respond to the organic geometry of the museum building and the topology of the historic park setting. Landscape curvatures are ultimately derived from the museum’s roof section, thus establishing a relationship between building and landscape. The subtle integration of building and landscape through curvature, within the park context, generates an overall impression of movement and natural rhythms.