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Budapest Museum of Ethnography

  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Competition / Research

The New Museum of Ethnography is designed with a holistic approach to embrace the content of its multiple programs, the park and the surrounding city, the climate and ecology. It creates an inspirational space for future visitors, curators and researches.

The museum is designed as a place where visitors can introspectively reflect on themselves in relation to the society by understanding differences and similarities between cultures. This will be unlike any other museum: it is about us and how we live our lives. It is a place of aspiration, pride and reflection, and the design of the building responds to this.

As an ethnographer compares and analyses the characteristics of different societies and the relationship between them, the proposed design is intended to respond to the terrain and genus loci of both the city and the park and create new spatial interactions between them.

By elevating the main exhibition hall volume above the ground level, the museum frees up the visual connection between the city and the park. A soft and hard landscape is generated by the intersection of a rigid city grid with the organic form of the park.

The tension generated by those two flows converges into the site and forms attractor points: the initial seed of programmatic cones is planted. The cones are branching up, enveloping the program and supporting the main exhibition area nested between the park`s trees.

The visual connection between city and park is therefore preserved and enriched by new visual perspectives. Each cone opens either towards the city or the park in response to the programs it contains. The interlocking sets of conical surfaces are thus creating a new high level landscape were the cultural program of the museum is located. At the galleries level the museum exhibits and the Budapest context are fused together by unobstructed views.

Each cone will vertically envelope a programmatic area of the New Museum and will guarantee the necessary functional independence while visually connecting each part to the whole. The result is ensuring a coherent vision from the outside and many opportunities of approaching and entering the building. The landscape is activated with secured external space where visitor of the park or the museum will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy their time. The presence of mature trees along the building boundary creates an opportunity to carve masses out of the solid volume: the trees are enveloped within the building fabric.

Visitors, park, city and history are eventually fused in a space to learn and reflect about us, our past and our future.




Zaha Hadid & Patrik Schumacher

Project Director

Viviana Muscettola

Project Architect

Michele Salvi

Project Associate

Daniel Fiser

Project Team

Maria Loreto Flores, Anat Stern, Armin Senoner, Sobitha Ravichandran, Hee Seung Lee, Julia Hyoun Hee Na, Micheal Rogers, Sam Mcheileh, Ashwanth Govindaraji, Afsoon Eshaghi , Marko Gligorov

Local Architect

Spora, Budapest

Structural Engineering

AKT II, London

M&E Engineering

Max Fordham, London

Quantity Surveyor

Gardiner and Theobald, London

Museum Consultant

Casson Mann, London

Landscape Architect

Grossmax, Edinburgh