Budapest, Sept. 15, 2016 – Today Central European University opens two state-of-the-art buildings in downtown Budapest, offering high-tech space for learning, teaching, research, and the exchange of ideas in line with the University’s commitment to open debate and community engagement. The two buildings, one of which retains its historic façade and interior elements, and both of which feature green technology, represent the completion of Phase I of a three-phase campus redevelopment project. Designed by award-winning Irish architects Sheila O’Donnell and John Tuomey and their Hungarian partner M-Teampannon, the general contractor is Market-Strabag. Both buildings are part of CEU's campus along Nador utca (street) in Budapest's downtown, within a UNESCO World Heritage Site buffer zone. Images of the new buildings are available here.
“The CEU Campus Redevelopment project is helping the University reach new heights, literally and figuratively,” said CEU President and Rector Michael Ignatieff. “The marriage of classic Hungarian elements with ultramodern, energy-efficient features is profoundly meaningful to us as an ambitious graduate education institution with deep Hungarian roots and a global reach, providing innovative learning environment for the leaders of tomorrow.”
In December 2014, CEU appointed the consortium of Market Epito Zrt. and Strabag as general contractor. The contractor has extensive local and international experience in developing educational buildings in constricted urban environments. The DVM group carried out the technical supervision tasks and played an active role in the project management as well. TOMLIN Kft. Was responsible for the cost management and quantity surveying services.
“We took on the renovation of Central European University with great pleasure, since Market Epito has been responsible for carrying out construction projects for several educational institutions in its 20-year history. This project held a number of exciting challenges for us due to the tight deadline, the downtown environment and the complex tasks involved. It also required serious technical knowledge to execute the detailed and demanding plans. Education has always been an important part of the development of our society, so it is essential that students seeking to acquire new knowledge can do so in the best possible environment. CEU now offers this opportunity in every way, and we are proud to have been a part of it,” said Sandor Scheer, CEO of Market Epito Zrt.
The new and renovated buildings are acoustically treated to dampen sound in corridors and open spaces and enhance sound quality in the auditorium and classrooms. Classrooms and meeting rooms offer the most advanced connectivity options, allowing professors, guest lecturers and students to share notes, presentations and other media via electronic whiteboards and screens using the Barco Clickshare system. Two tiered classrooms offer broadcast technology for recording and webinars. The amount of social spaces and communal gathering spots has increased dramatically for CEU’s nearly 1,500 students, who come from over 100 countries. Study banquettes were installed in corners on each level of Nador 13, and the main courtyard of that building features a grand, pitched glass roof over the courtyard, making the space open, airy, and ideal for gatherings.
The new auditorium facing Nador street seats 400, more than double the size of CEU’s previous auditorium. The room can be divided into two separate, acoustically sound rooms for conferences or performances and also offers video and broadcasting technology as well as stage lighting and a backstage area for arts productions. All parts of the buildings are wheelchair accessible and power points are situated lower for the convenience of all University guests. The new CEU Library – which contains the region's largest English-language collection – will occupy the top five floors of Nador 15 and will open in October. The Nador 15 building also features two cafes that will serve the daily needs of the University and the local community as well as offer catering for events and conferences.
“We are delighted to have designed this complex and fascinating project for Central European University. Our intention was to create 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,” said Sheila O'Donnell of the Royal Gold Medal award-winning firm O'Donnell + Tuomey. “We have a special interest in making new architecture in historic settings, and in the radical transformation of existing buildings. This project offered the chance to do both. Our architectural approach builds on the characteristic qualities of the courtyard buildings of downtown Budapest. The new buildings are clearly contemporary in character, while respecting the materials, scale and proportion of their historic neighbors.”
O'Donnell and Tuomey designed the new campus to comply with CEU's commitment to sustainability. In July 2015, the CEU campus design was awarded “Very Good” status by BREEAM officials, making it the second higher education institution in continental Europe and the first in Central and Eastern Europe to receive this distinction. BREEAM is the world's leading sustainability assessment method for masterplanning projects, infrastructure and buildings. Every detail was considered to lessen environmental impact and lower utility usage, from the microshading technology in glass structures and windows to the natural ventilating system created through the pitched roof design and the communal rooftop garden featuring locally specific bird- and bee-friendly species and rainwater collectors. A smart building management system (BMS) designed by Siemens monitors occupancy and adjusts utilities accordingly to significantly reduce heating and cooling needs and costs.
“We are proud of the energy and craftsmanship that went into transforming our campus in this first phase of the project – from the initial concept to the final touches, completed by a dedicated and talented team,” said Pal Baross, CEU Director of Campus Redevelopment. “We look forward to welcoming the public into this new space that not only enhances learning for our faculty, students, and researchers, but also provides educational and cultural space for our neighbors and the greater Budapest community.”
One of the main goals of CEU’s redevelopment project is to consolidate the University into one spacious, interconnected campus. In this phase of the project, the CEU Business School moved to the Nador 13 building. Phase II of the project is now underway and includes replacing CEU's building at Oktober 6 utca 12, renovating the Faculty Tower within the University's Nador utca 9 footprint, and adding a wing linking those two structures. In the process, it will create a public passageway through the preserved courtyards of its buildings, connecting Nador and Oktober 6 streets. In the project’s final phase, tentatively scheduled for 2019 and 2020, CEU will renovate its Nador utca 11 building and, to a minor extent, the Monument Building at Nador utca 9. Complete information on the campus redevelopment project is available here.
CEU is fundraising for the project, which is financed in part through a loan from the European Investment Bank. The total cost of the three-phase project, which is expected to be completed in 2020, is estimated at 34 million euros, with additional funding for modernizing the library and IT/AV functions.
CEU COMMUNICATIONS OFFICE
COLLEEN SHARKEY | International Media Relations Manager
Phone: +36 1 327-3000 x 2321
Mobile: +36 30 916 2273
Market Epito Zrt.
senior pr manager, Republic Group
Mobile: +36 30 525 5617
marketing and pr director
Mobile: +36 20 326 0890
Mobile: +36 30 474 1478