A new visitor centre built at the Duna-Ipoly National Park in Pilisszentiván, Hungary has been designed to blend into the surrounding village environment while retaining all of the characteristic functions of a public facility.

Completed in 2020, the 265m² visitor centre is located in the heart of the Danube-Ipoly National Park (DINP), a uniquely diverse region encompassing mountains, river valleys and plains spread out in the vicinity of Budapest.

The brief for Építész Stúdió was to design a visitor centre that harmonised well with the residential setting of the village and also integrated all the functionality of a public facility.

“The section remained in residential scale, but the length of the house gathering new functions leaps to public facility scale. On sloping terrains the building line usually follows the gradient. In this case, however, this traditional approach would have resulted in significant altitude difference between the two endpoints of the ridge. This was handled with a slight leaning of the ridge instead of slicing the volume. This solution reserved the public building characteristic while keeping residential proportions on the end facades,” Építész Stúdió explained.

A wooden slat shell made of larch (Larix decidua) frames the original white plastered house. This shell creates transition space between the outside and inside, with the slat structure setting up a pleasing pattern of light and shadow in the building.

The original ground floor continues to be the functional core of the building, and serves as the exhibition space, while an open office on the top floor meets the needs of park employees. The attic space functions as quarters for visiting schoolchildren.

The outdoor landscape has been designed to meet the requirements of the practical courses offered by the National Park. Key features also include an outdoor learning space on the steep slope, the wooden slat bordered garden terrace, the familiar loft terrace connecting the children’s quarters, and the cookhouse in the garden.

Photographs:  Juhász Norbert Photography