Executive summary from the outline plan "Development and Reconstruction of the Museum of Applied Arts"
Produced by the Museum in March 2011 under the supervision of the Director, Imre Takács, under the action plan of the Ministry of National resources
The Budapest Museum of Applied Arts is one of the world's "art and design museums", a category which has existed since the mid-19th century. It has earned considerable international prestige through its place in history, its extensive collections and the building itself. The main building is the principal masterpiece of Ödön Lechner, one of the great innovators of architectural style, and it is one of the country's emblematic historic buildings, a major tourist attraction and an object of cultural pride.
The building suffered considerable damage in the wars of the 20th century, especially the fighting in 1956, resulting in the critical, near-disastrous state it is in today: the roof and wall tiles have loosened, corroded fittings have started to fall off, water pipes regularly fracture in the building's interior, the electrical system is overloaded, fire and other hazards are everywhere, and the survival of the collections and the safety of staff and visitors cannot be assured. The renovation, restoration and technical upgrading of this historic building cannot be further postponed.
The restoration of the building is a key factor for Hungarian industrial development. The unprecedented quantity of building ceramics involved in its original construction was a major spur to the development of the Zsolnay company of Pécs. Reconstruction today would involve a major state order, inducing research, expanded production capacity and new jobs, and ultimately the renaissance of a once-famous Hungarian product.
The model development programme is aimed at creating lasting cultural value. At its core is new 10,000 m2 exhibition space which will include the Hungarian Design Museum, thus filling a long-felt gap; and the Hungarian furniture-history centre (exhibition, restoration centre, furniture reproduction and manufacturing workshop) in Nagytétény Castle. These are projects which will considerably contribute to national prestige. They will allow the Museum of Applied Arts to mobilise and optimise much of its underused potential, giving it world-standard capabilities and offering Hungary the chance to make great strides forward in art and design.
Principles and objectives of the development projects:
• fully restore the Museum's historic building;
• render the building capable of accommodating up-to-date museum functions (full renovation of technical facilities and building utilities, modern lifts and access systems, up-to-date areas for visitor services, exhibitions, administration and museum departments);
•set up an extensive new cultural space (10,000 m2 permanent exhibition, the "treasure-house of the nation", served by a comprehensive museum-function base (producing exhibition plans, massive restoration programme, exhibition-technology and installation-planning programmes);
• integrate the history and recent development of Hungarian design into the national self-image, and present the hidden achievements, brilliant ideas and revolutionary innovations flowing from Hungarian creativity to improve public self-esteem and national image;
•establish the working conditions essential for a well-organised, dynamic and productive professional museum community;
•set up a broad-based information base for knowledge transfer (full digital collection database in the exhibition knowledge background and on the web);
•set up a museum school to provide broad-based popular education and novel training system, thus raising the Museum's public utility and enable people to be better informed;
• apply the principles of sustainability, energy-awareness and job creation.