The long-awaited reconstruction of the Olof Palme House will also be realised within the Liget Budapest Project.
After being unused and in a poor state of repair for many years, the Neo-renaissance building in the heart of Városliget will re-open its doors at the end of 2018. According to plans, it will be operated as a cultural venue and restaurant.
The building, with a basic area of more than 1,100 square metres, was originally constructed for the 1885 National General Exhibition as an exhibition venue of fine art, and as recorded by contemporaneous reviews, it was one of the most impressive structures of the complex. At the time of its building, it was praised mainly for its colourfulness, thanks to the unique Zsolnay porcelain decorations of the facade.
Unfortunately, the building proved to be too small for the planned exhibition, or ’art hall’ functions right after its completion; therefore, another, far larger and more suitable building was constructed in Városliget by 1896: the present building of Műcsarnok. During World War II, a military hospital operated in the house, which was damaged in the bombings, and its original interior decorations were destroyed. After the establishment of the Fine Arts Foundation, the building was used as a sculptors’ workshop in the 1950s, and then as the central office of the Fine Arts Implementation Company. In this period, the structure was completely altered, and nothing was done to preserve its original beauty: it was at that time that its interior assumed an industrial, office-like character. In 1994, the building was owned by the Hungarian Creative Arts Public Foundation, established as the legal successor of the Fine Arts Foundation, but its utilisation for the purposes of art failed, so the increasingly dilapidated structure was put to various uses: serving as a café, a pub and even a dance school.
The overall reconstruction will commence in autumn 2017 according to the design by Ferenc Pfaff and will include the restoration of the original, colourful Zsolnay ceramic decorations of the facade.
The new facility will also house an events centre equipped with technological solutions that will fully meet contemporary expectations, as well as a restaurant.
The main entrance will also be restored to its original place.
As a new architectural element, the design will include a terrace on the south side: it will be adjacent to the park and directly accessible from both the restaurant and the events areas.