Today's universities are in need of settings where both personal and intellectual connections can be experienced and experimented with. This can be promoted through architectural tools that convert the strict central corridors and cell-like classroom sytems into open spaces supporting spatial non-individuation.
Amongst the Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design’s third stage campus development building triad, MOME MASTER has undergone a cycle of rebirth, unlike Building B (BASE) and the Innovation Centre (UP), which came into being from a fresh contemporary vision.
The central theme approaching the design here was the union between two notions; preservation and modernisation, the harmony between the past and the present holding space for unceasing development.
MOME MASTER (Building A) just as the name suggest, is the stage for the masters’ programmes. The asymmetrically shaped building formulated in the formal language of classicist country mansions was originally Farkasdy’s design from the 50’s. The seemingly antiprogressive attitude of the architect was dictated by the compulsory socialist realistic style of those times,yet it is a modernistic building in disguise, this secretive element partly revealing itself in the inner layout.
According to Farkasdy’s plans the main building A would have formed an axis between the other two axes, building B and C, and this composition would have ensured complete symmetry. Building C was never constructed, but MOME UP was built in its place during the third stage of the campus extrension process. Although a different composition manifested on the site compared to Farkasdy’s plan, still, the element of ’preservation’ and ’rethinking’ is present on the campus.
As it is a heritage building, the exteriors were left untouched for the most part, while the interiors underwent a complete modernization process. Reshaping the interiors put the building’s flexibility to the test by breaking down the inner walls. The expansion of the inner space mainly affected the lower and upper levels: the former basement level gained natural light and became a fully-fledged interior accomodating a couple of student offices and classrooms. The administrative units of the institute were placed in the attic, requiring the façade to be raised by half a meter.
The middle corridors have disappeared, and from the main staircase’s reception area a voluminious space unfolds. This space is fragmented by soundproof glass walls, which still cater to visual connections while creating versatile rows that serve as the playground for workshop work, presentations, discussions, teamwork and individual creative immersion.
The student service centre is located here alongsode the lecturers’ quarters as well as the offices of the rector and the chancellor. The space itself gives the experience of grandiosity and flexibility to inspire and encourage cooperation. The upper levels are characterized by spacious, interconnecting ’home’ rooms and the seminar rooms.
Despite this grand renewal of the MASTER, the building’s iconic essence has not been lost and the complexion of the old interior is well-recognizable. The characteristic elements of the corridors, the internal columns, the stair railing and the circular windows overlooking the park have all been preserved, and the auditorium has been beautifully renovated.
From Farkasdy's work an open, yet rationally arranged spatial structure was created, which will carefully serve a worthy 21st century art education practice.