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Rehabilitation Institute in Koronco

Koronco, Hungary
1 of 17

For a long time, nobody believed that "dumb" modern architecture (or at least the modernist idiom) could be made to "talk" by mere architectural devices. But after the Second World War, some followers of the movement, despite their commitment, began to recognise - or at least to feel - that a system based on cool abstraction and formal reduction was increasingly difficult to sustain without traditions and a "colloquial" language of architecture.

The architectural manner of the Rehabilitation Institute in Koronco - by transforming typical, traditional elements in a contemporary way - finally becomes fresh and appropriate. This building was designed by the Hungarian 3h architecture in 2002.

Concept and requirements

The new accomodation building of the Rehabilitation Institute in Koronco presents a new aspect of this thread of thought. The architects, Katalin Csillag and Zsolt Gunther - although their buildings take its cues from the minimalism of classic Finnish - Scandinavian modernism and contemporary Austrian architecture - have also turned to another direction.

The circumstances have encouraged them to an exploration of the most elementary architectural traditions. Their client had only one requirement regarding architectural design, but a definitive one: The building has to be topped by a pitched roof. The architects' response was inventive: the building has an extremely simple, rectangular floor plan with a lamellar structure on one of the longer side. The latter forms a standalone, compact unit, a declarative rural tile-clad wooden structure, but not at all a jarring appendage.

Appearing to float over the upstairs terrace, propped on the timber structure of the portico along one side, and not closed by gables on two sides, the roof establishes informal relationships between the two units, in a kind of mutual aesthetic opening-up of the modern building and the ancient, associative roof form. Their coexistence is "multivalued", both interdependent and free, autonomous.

The architects play them off against each other, but achieve a special mood out of the interdiffusion of traditional and modern forms which, for them, is the most important aspect of the buildig.

Forms, characters and moods dissolve into one another throughout the building. Similar to the mutual interaction of roof and body is the relationship between the building and nature. Sunlight penetrating the interior spaces brings the browns and yellows of the walls to life, a response to the beauty of the surrounding pine woods.

The outer walls also appear to identify with nature: the alternation of plain and painted window frames, the muted pastel shades of the wall finishes, despite the measured geometry of the forms and structure, add up to a mirror image of the surroundings, and a heterogeneous, almost "picturesque" impression.

All in all, no less than a fusion of the architectural attitudes of modern abstraction and naturalism.Rather than being an assemblage of quotations or a juxtaposition of motifs, the building thus declares its essence as an attempt at reconciliation, through distant relationships, of what have hitherto been regarded as adversaries.

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  1. Architect's Website
mariathuroczy, December 1st, 2011
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