BIG, OMA and Herzog & de Meuron in the running to design a home for Budapest's Museum of Ethnography

The protracted development of Budapest’s museum quarter has taken a surprise twist, with organisers launching a second design competition for the new Museum of Ethnography building.

Last year, French studio Vallet de Martinis DIID Architects won a competition to design a new home for the museum – which has a collection of more than 200,000 ethnographic artefacts and 400,000 historical documents. However, a government decision to relocate the planned building has led to the announcement of a new competitive tender.

High-profile studios including MVRD, Bjarke Ingels Group and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture have been invited to submit designs for the project, with two other spots on the 15-team longlist to be decided by a new two-stage international design competition.

The deadline for pre-qualification applications is 15 January and the winner will be announced on 17 May. The total prize money for the winner and runners up will be €400,000 (US$429,000, £293,000).

“For the first time since the foundation of the Museum of Ethnography over 140 years ago, it has become possible to permanently place the museum in a building worthy for the collection, to be built specifically for this function,” said project developer Városliget Zrt.

“Moving the institution into a state-of-the-art building will provide the opportunity to display a significant part of the artefacts, thus far locked away from the general public, in a permanent exhibition, under modern circumstances.”

The wider HUF75bn (US$277m, €235m, £183m) museum quarter scheme – launched in 2011 and funded by the government – will see the construction of several other new museum buildings in City Park. These will include the House of Hungarian Music designed by Sou Fujimoto, a New National Gallery by SANAA, a PhotoMuseum and Museum of Hungarian Architecture – both designed by Hungarian firm KÖZTI Architects & Engineers – and a National Museum Restoration and Storage Centre.

In other developments, the Hungarian Museum of Science, Technology and Transport is also being expanded, the City Park Theatre is being restored and a ruined fort building is being converted into the Fort Csillag Centre for Arts, History and Warfare. The park’s green spaces are also being enlarged, including extensions to Budapest Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Speaking at a parliamentary hearing last year, László Baán, the government commissioner in charge of developing the park, said the project would draw an extra 300,000 tourists to Budapest every year as the city tries to compete with other popular culture destinations across Europe, such as Prague and Barcelona.

Work on the development is expected to start this year, with the quarter scheduled to be open by March 2018 at the earliest.

The full long list to design the Museum of Ethnography building:

- Herzog & de Meuron


- BIG- Bernard Tschumi Architects

- Dominique Perrault Architecture

- Sauerbruch Hutton

- Coop Himmelb(l)au Architects- Emre Arolat Architects



- Balázs Mihály and EPK- Napur Architect Kf

- Bánáti + Hartvig Építész Iroda Kft.

- Open slot (decided by the competition)

- Open slot (decided by the competition)

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The protracted development of Budapest’s museum quarter has taken a surprise twist, with organisers launching a second design competition for the new Museum of Ethnography building. Last year, French studio Vallet de Martinis DIID Architects won a competition to design a new home for the museum – which has a collection of more than 200,000 ethnographic artefacts and 400,000 historical documents. However, a government decision to relocate the planned building
The current home of Budapest's Museum of Ethnography
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