Impact and Innovation

The central concept of the building:

The existing CEU campus consisted of five adjoining buildings, each with their own entrance from the street, with minimal interconnectivity between the buildings. We have identified the opportunities to intervene in this downtown urban block, to make what is now a disconnected and disparate set of buildings into an Open Campus. We have employed a process of selective subtraction and addition to transform the campus into a metaphorical crossroads. By a carefully considered “surgical” strategy we propose to link all existing and new facilities through a legible sequence of connected courtyards. Our design philosophy prioritizes interconnectivity as a design principle.


The visitor experience of the building:

Our architectural approach builds on the characteristic qualities of the courtyard buildings of downtown Budapest. The design solution unites all of the departments & facilities within CEU into a clearly legible entity by connecting all elements, enhancing the sense of interconnectivity between academic activities. Glass-roofed courtyards will provide a series of social and educational spaces in a connected campus plan, characteristic of Budapest urban culture. Internal streets connect the courtyards at ground floor concourse level, while further new passages & flying staircases interconnect the upper floors of all buildings.


The Environmental Design Methodology:

We see environmental performance as a key measure of the success of the design of new additions and the rehabilitation of existing spaces at CEU. We understand the role an integrated approach to environment, architecture, structure and services plays, not only in creating a comfortable environment for staff and students, but in the conservation of natural resources such as energy, water, raw materials and clean air. The design team follows an Environmental Design Methodology that prioritizes demand reduction strategies over active supply strategies. This is an approach that defines how we validate architectural and technical design decisions, and ensures that we develop robust and reliable solutions for achieving a low-energy, low-carbon campus.


The interaction of the building, site and surrounding buildings:

The project changes the relationship of the university to the city. Routes through the courts make new shortcuts through the city block. A new building on Nador Utca provides a public face for the university in the city, on axis with the River Danube. The campus becomes integrated with the urban realm.


We want our new building to feel like it's made for Budapest and that it's part of the inherited cultural landscape of this city.

John Tuomey / O’Donnell & Tuomey, RIBA Royal Gold Medal winner 2015

The most successful aspect of the design:

We hope the new ground floor concourse, with its series of clearly interconnected courts to each other and the street, will become the civic datum and reference level for the social life of the whole university and its connection back to the city. Our concept and intention was to design an open campus to embody the crossroads ethos of CEU. We hope that our campus plan will encourage academic and cultural interconnectivity between the university and the city.