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Palace of Arts

alias MÜPA
history of the theatresupplementtechnical dataHistoric equipment

Important events

(detail)14.03.2005 | Opening, Concert Hall

(detail)16.03.2005 | Opening, Festival Theatre


Gábor Zoboki |architect


Architecural description

The three main functions of the multi-cultural building consist of the theatre, the concert hall and the museum. Smaller additional functions make complete the building such as the bookstore, the small conference room, the cafeteria and the administrative premises. It is also worth mentioning the spaciously designed generous corridor spaces, which give possibility to arrange receptions, chamber concerts and literary readings on them as well.

The formation of building mass supports these cultural functions by employing an irregular pentagon-shaped shell. The different functions are located independently within the shell and operate separately; like cuboids, the sides of which had been cut irregularly. Entrance access to the Palace of Arts is possible form the northern entrance from Komor Marcell Street and from the western entrance through the Danube side entrance. On the facades of the building two substances appear: stone and glass.

The south side is parallel to Rákóczi bridge (former Lágymányosi bridge) where the service functions are situated. In the west part of the building found place the Ludwig Museum, with squared mixed structured combination, an institution with a predominant contemporary museum profile. The museum's interior was designed fitting this function. It has spacious high-ceilinged, streaming spaces with clean white walls. At some points some skylights were placed with interesting breakthroughs and see-overs.

The designers were given the possibility of variability. The house opens up to the National Theatre, the city, the Danube and the Gellért Hill, with high curtain walls. On the one hand it opens from the inside outwards, and on the other hand from outside provides free insight, thus bringing closer the building to the habitants.  The building appearance shows the XXIth century interpretation of the folk theatre and folk opera functions. It also gives place for representatives of high-quality artistic performances; it became one of the major cultural centres of Europe.

The Concert Hall and the Theatre open like a shell from the closed stone mass. From inside the mass of the Concert Hall appears as a beautifully developed wooden beehive. The Bartók Béla National Concert Hall has a horseshoe-shaped auditorium with balconies on three levels. The orchestra pit is movable, which also has an acoustic importance, while it is also able to increase the area of stage. The stage is almost fully surrounded by the audience. The interior is designed with light wood panels and the voice baffles were painted to different colours. The curiosity of the room is a baffle shade which resembles to a beetle back. This can be moved to achieve appropriate sound with movement of up and down, and be tilt also.

In the Festival Theatre especially smaller concerts and dance performances are held. Here the dark wood paneling is accented. The auditorium has linear confronted axial type form. During the mass formation the designer paid special attention to the "fifth" façade; the roof. The Concert Hall and Theater are covered with cupper plates, which appear on the roof as a statue. This space is opened for the public so all parts can be toured and can be explored by the audience.



The Palace of Arts in Budapest is situated in the newly built Millennium city centre on the Danube bank in the vicinity of the Lágymányosi bridge (the newest Danube-bridge) and the National Theatre (opened in 2002).

The Palace of Arts (or, better known by its Hungarian acronym: MÜPA) is the most outstanding cultural investments of our decade, which has been built in the PPP – Public Private Partnership construction with the collaboration of the Ministry of National Heritage and the TriGránit Development Corporation. The designer of the complex was Gábor Zoboki and Zoboki-Demeter and Co. Architectural Bureau, with several specialist collaborators. The constructions started in the spring of 2002 (the foundation stone was laid on the 22nd March 2002, and the building was finished on the spring of 2005.

Sándor Demján, the president of TriGránit declared that in the last century there has been no similar institution founded in Hungary, and the multifunctional model represented by the Palace of Arts will surely be repeated throughout Europe and all around the world. The Ministry of National Heritage founded the Művészetek Palotája Limited, lead by Imre Kiss, which is in charge of the operation of the venue.

The large-scale spaces and the cutting edge technology enable the coming to life of both traditional and experimental productions. Te venue can host classical music, prose and musical theatre, opera, dance, world music, jazz and quality pop music as well as the contemporary and classical fine arts.

The MÜPA gives permanent residence to the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Choir, the National Dance Theatre and the Ludwig Museum – the Museum of Contemporary Art.

On 4th March 2005, before the opening concert the Ludwig Museum was opened, which moved from the Buda Castle to MÜPA’s wing on the Danube bank, with two exhibitions: “Fsztített művek” (Works Stretched Out) and “A modernség talánya” (The Mistery of Modernity). The first was selected from the museum’s own collection, while the latter was rented from the arts collection of the Musée National d'Art Moderne Centre Pompidou.

Before the festive opening of the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall as a special guest José Carreras arrived, to “test” the concert hall, already world famous for its acoustic. The programme of the gala concert was composed of: Beethoven’s Consecration of the House Overture, the Piano Concerto by Franz Liszt, three pieces by Béla Bartók in the orchestration of Zoltán Kocsis and Psalmus Hungaricus by Zoltán Kodály. The organ of the concert hall was finished in 2006, which was a joint effort of the Pécs Organ Building Limited and the company Mühleisen in Vienna. On the inauguration concert István Baróti, Zsuzsa Elekes, László Fassang and Xavér Varnus played, the latter performed the Organ Concerto by Frigyes Hidas written for this occasion (with the cooperation of the Danubia Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Ervin Lukács.

The Festival Theatre was opened with Claudio Monteverdi’s first opera, L’Orfeo, on March 16, played by the Opheo Consort on contemporary instruments and the Purcell Choir, conducted by György Vashegyi. The director of the performance was Csaba Káel.

The Hungarian Post Rt, released for the occasion a special stamp series with the value of 500 Forint in 80 thousand copies.

In 2006 the Palace of Arts won the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence 2006 – Specialized Category, which is considered the ‘Oscar’ of architecture.



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