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House of the Hungarian Millennium

 House of the Hungarian Millennium

Area: 1250 m2

Architect: Archikon Kft.

Implementation: Épkar Zrt.

One of the Városliget's most beautiful buildings, the former Olof Palme House, will be renovated to become Millennium House. Among the oldest structures in the park and formerly a venue for the "Hungarian millennium" exhibition, the building will be opened to the public in autumn 2018 thanks to the Liget Budapest Project.  The house will be restored with a focus on tradition but in accordance with the standards of the 21st century, opening with a temporary exhibition showcasing the golden age of the Városliget. It will later hark back to the most successful period in Hungary's modern history with a permanent, interactive display focusing on turn-of-the-century Budapest.


Designed by Ferenc Pfaff, the structure was built as an arts hall for the 1885 National General Exhibition, and the critics of the day felt that it was one of the most beautiful elements of the event thanks to the unique Zsolnay decorations.  However, the house almost immediately proved inadequate for exhibitions, so the significantly larger Hall of Art was built a few years later and still operates today. The house later functioned as the Budapest Museum, but it was damaged during World War II and the original interior décor was destroyed. With the establishment of the Art Foundation in the 1950s, the building was used as a sculptors' studio, before the Fine Art Production Company later moved its headquarters here and later came under the ownership of the Hungarian Creative Art Public Endowment, but a suitable artistic or cultural function was never found for it.
The restoration begun in late 2017 is taking place according to the original architectural blueprints, returning the building's imposing spaces to their former glory. 




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The main entrance will be returned to the original Hermina Street side, in front of which a new rose garden will be created as part of the park's new landscaping. The building's subsequent additions have been removed, while the building has been returned to its original structure. The construction of a new roof clad in huge glass surfaces and the restoration of the remarkable Zsolnay ceramics decorating the building's facade have also been completed. With a 1250-square-metre footprint, the building will be renewed as a cultural community space boasting an exhibition area and a restaurant/café evoking the atmosphere of the late 19th century and the "Hungarian millennium", with the lowest level housing a small auditorium and conference room, as well as a space for museum pedagogy.
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The reconstruction of the building in keeping with its status as a cultural monument is soon to be finished, and the building will welcome visitors under its new name of Millennium House from the autumn.  Through the Liget Budapest Project, architectural additions made subsequently to the building's original inauguration have been removed, the original structural framework has been restored, the new roofing has been covered with expansive glass surfaces, and the remarkable Zsolnay ceramics ornamenting the edifice's facade have been restored.

Following the comprehensive rehabilitation of the park and its institutional network, the Millennium House will become one of the gems of the Városliget. It is also a symbol of the goals of Liget Budapest as its concept not only preserves tradition and reinforces links between the park and art, it also turns one of the Városliget's oldest buildings into a genuine community space and activity centre.
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