The aim of this competition is to renew the cultural identity and function of Gellért Hill and its fortress located in the center of Budapest. Both the hill and the citadel are historical locations that used to represent military and state authority. The hill itself received its name after Saint Gellért, a Hungarian bishop, who was thrusted down the ravines of the hill out of political motivation in the 11th century. The fortress also started out as a symbol of power – it was raised as a military base by the Habsburg dynasty in the 18th century intended to control and intimidate Hungarians. The Statue of Liberty, a more recent political element of the hill, was built in front of the fortress in 1947 in remembrance of the Soviet liberation of Hungary during World War II, and it became an unofficial, hated monument of the Hungarian communist rule.
Thus, the hill and its fortress have a lot of baggage that Budapest hasn’t dealt with yet. The fortress is especially controversial both in cultural and in architectural terms as it was raised to fulfill military purposes. Today with the original function behind us the building still stands distant and overpowering, needing a refreshed image and function.
Our proposal aims to solve this contradiction by an act of architectural metamorphosis, the so-called Gellért Hill Turnaround. With the help of the turnaround both the hill and the fortress will gain new functional and urban positions. As a result of the metamorphosis the citadel will change into a new panorama bath, and the shutters used for its construction will create a new public space floating on the Danube. This artificial island, the Gellért Island, directly at the foot of the hill will provide a new opportunity to connect the river and pedestrians and also give a different perspective of the fortress brought down from the hill.
The Gellért Hill Turnaround consists of the following steps: