Benyei Architecture Studio

Benyei Architecture Studio

Budapest, HU


Luxury of Nature and Human Contact Is Brought to the Forefront of This New Condo

As our lives become increasingly metropolitan, many of us are seeking to be closer to nature. The pace of urban life can be exhausting as we lose ourselves to our mobile phones and the digital age, which can make the importance of connections with our fellow humans all the more significant. Restoring our connection with both nature and personal relationships is crucial for a harmonious lifestyle, and that’s the overriding thought behind Benyei’s architecture studio’s latest plan. The modern-day sense of a luxury residential space goes beyond quality of design or premium construction materials; the true luxury is a building’s ability to unite family, friends and the silence of nature.

Benyei’s architectural studio has a specialty for understanding the intimacy of a building’s environment, and this new four-apartment luxury condo in Budapest’s forested hills is no different. Respect for the surrounding trees is integral to the structure, which has been embedded within the forest and encircled by nature. “It is not the gold handle but the human relationships, closeness to nature, and silence that is the real luxury,” says Benyei of the team’s goal with this building. “Paying attention to relationships begins in our architectural workshop: every member of our team feels this philosophy,” he adds.

This is a key attitude of the holistic vision that guides the team at Benyei’s architecture studio: architectural solutions, interior design and garden design. It is within a forested area of Budapest that designers István Benyei, György Hoffman and Zsuzsa Cinkóczki were able to impart the values of recharging from the noise of the city.

To help with this plan, the four-apartment house - which is built into a steep, sloping plot - is almost completely hidden from view due to how the top floor is level with the street. However, the need for intimacy created a serious challenge for architects, who needed a solution to overcome the issue of creating a building that would not stand out among the natural environment. With this in mind, a footbridge leads to the entrance of the building, while a bridge was also built for vehicles that are then brought to the underground garage by an elevator, therefore minimizing the impact on nature's integrity.

For the design team, this was perhaps the most important aspect of protecting the environment. Nowadays, customers are willing to sacrifice large sums of money for a plot with trees and in the case of this luxury condo, the forest dominating the area was the starting point. Instead of planting trees after construction, the designers instead placed emphasis on preserving trees. Respect for nature requires a philosophy of non-interference and to avoid destruction of the existing natural landscape.

The building itself, which meets the requirements of a passive house in every respect, has a total of four apartments. The lower floor includes two apartments of 130 and 140 square meters, while the first floor has the largest residence of the building at 290 sqm. Lastly the upper level is occupied by a 160 square meter penthouse apartment. All four units have their own terrace.

The interior is also dominated by a sense of naturalness with huge glass panels to make the view of the forest almost internal, blurring the boundary between the various living spaces. The designers made this same fluid separation between the gardens of the four apartments. Architectural and horticultural solutions were employed to discreetly mark the plot’s boundary, allowing for the lack of fences that ultimately leads people to rethink the concepts of barriers and common spaces. As a result, future residents will have private gardens to visually cover the entire area.

Due to the novel manner of having the top floor at street level, light was naturally an aspect of the building’s design that needed to be handled carefully. While the glass helps to direct the light to the interior vertically, water does the same job horizontally. The Budapest condominium has several water surfaces in the gardens, reflecting the sun into the lower apartments as well as fulfilling the human desire to be close to water.

Even the structure itself has been built with nature as a source of inspiration, the most prominent feature being the bold wave of the building's roof which follows the dynamics of the canopies. The playful shape of the roof determines the view of the house, with the structure loosening upwards. Yet at the same time, this dynamic shaping separated into five waves doesn’t only reflect the forest, but also that of the area’s surrounding constructed environment as seen with the sight of thousands of rooftops from beyond the location.

The construction of the building will be completed in 2020.

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Status: Under Construction
Location: Budapest, HU
Firm Role: Architect