A public pool in Budapest is a monument to the art of swimming

In Budapest, Plant and Tecton’s design for the Dezső Gyarmati complex is a stately, generous and almost luxurious institutional architecture.

The decline of welfare, as intended in the modern age, has been often accompanied by the deterioration and the disappearance of the estate assets where its functions were performed. A material disappearance, in case of abandon or demolition, but also a symbolic disappearance, as the public building has become increasingly unassuming, dull, undersized, inefficient. Plant and Tecton’s Dezső Gyarmati swimming pool, in Buda, goes against this trend, standing out as a contemporary ‘monument’ in its own right to the art of swimming. 

Plant and Tecton, Dezső Gyarmati swimming pool, Buda, Hungary, 2019
Plant and Tecton, Dezső Gyarmati swimming pool, Buda, Hungary, 2019

Many elements contribute to this unexpected rehabilitation: the imposing barrel-vaulted ceiling covering the Olympic-size basin, the elegant ‘pleating’ of its elevations, the alignment of the entrance hall and of the two main pools (indoor and outdoor) along an almost processional sequence, as well as the global generosity of all spaces, both quantitatively and qualitatively speaking.

The project can certainly be blamed for the affectation of a few golden details, such as the thin foils embellishing its façades. Inside the building, some finishing materials undeniably suffer from a certain pretentiousness, their selection affected by the choice to stick to the not so innovative concept of “the distinction between dirt [dark] and clean [bright]”. These are all venial sins, though, when considered in regards to the opening considerations to this reflection: the matter of principle, here, is way more important than the matter of taste.

Plant and Tecton, Dezső Gyarmati swimming pool, Buda, Hungary, 2019
Plant and Tecton, Dezső Gyarmati swimming pool, Buda, Hungary, 2019
Project:
Dezső Gyarmati swimming pool
Program:
public swimming pools
Location:
Buda, Hungary
Architects:
Plan and Tecton
Plant Team:
Péter Kis, Bea Molnár, Anikó Tóth, Zsolt Krausz
Tecton Team :
Béla Varga, Tamás Ükös, Péter Tokaji, Dalma Szunyoghy-Kollár
Interior design:
Plant
Completion:
2019

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