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Arany Janos School

Csorna, Hungary
1 of 16

Arany Janos School for Children with Intellectual Disability was built in Csorna in the northwest part of Hungary, designed by 3h architecture.


Csorna is a market-town with traditions of over seven centuries. In the early Middle Ages the development of the settlement was followed by the late-mediaeval birth of "designed" sections - called Felsoszer and Alsoszer - with the characteristics of a rural town.

The appearance of streetscapes is based on houses standing on the plots' boundary with gabled facades and solid fences with large gates. The service roads between the long plots of land - also called Arany Janos Street - became dwelling-house areas in the second half of the 19th century by the distribution and division of plots. However, the development method remained uniform on the newly inhabited areas. Since the 50s, this settlement began to disintegrate. The view of Csorna nowadays reflects an image of a polarized rural town with controversial appearance.

The plot of the school has undergone similar changes. At first a educational building was situated on the parcel in insufficient circumstances. The rear wing was the only part of the existing building which was worth retaining.


Based on morphologic research 3h complemented the existing building to be a large farmer's manor with a thoroughfare yard. They transformed traditional elements in an abstract way. The final result is a self-coherent modern building according to its special program without denying its traditional roots.

The drive-way coming from the entrance gate followed by the "abstract barn" ends in a back yard surrounded by walls. This area is the place for breaks between lessons, but had to be designed to hold celebrations as well.

3h applied the paraphrase of transitory spaces. Such building-parts have excellently been adapted to local climatic conditions. They have numerous variations of designs for these spaces. In this case covered spaces open from the sides are the continuations of the student lounge in the rear wing, the extension of living space in the transitional seasons. This is strengthened by the fact that children can always feel quite well here. They can stay in the open air even if it rains, but also when the sunshine is strong. The roof hanging above is a gesture of protection and invitation as well.

Interiors have a simple, economical but unique design. Light comes through the windows and the upper skylight along the staircase. Upstairs the alternation of slanting and flat roof surfaces are refined into a kind of dialectics. On this floor, the experience of the inclined roof is dramatized at the student lounge and the classrooms.

The tension created by tradition and its abstraction is also presented in the use of materials on the facade. The brown shade of the plaster-work evokes the colours of plankings used on barns.

The aesthetical asceticism of the exterior is complemented by a colourful interior world. The exterior is free from decoration: pure walls, windows with flat-plate frames and roof planes compose the house. But this pure character is always complemented by the liveliness of the fresh and colourful interiors.

The school doesn't link solely to reality, rather to memories, sentiments, cityscapes of the past. It ponders. It removes elements, transforms them, discards some parts, adds other ones thus creating a new entity. The final result is a fusion of past and present.