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Competition: Budapest South Gate

The Hungarian government has launched an international competition for a new 135ha residential district and ‘Student City’ in southern Budapest (Deadline: 14 August)

The anonymous competition is open to multidisciplinary teams of architects, landscape architects and highway engineers with relevant experience. It seeks innovative proposals for a new neighbourhood for 12,000 students along with educational, recreational and sports facilities.

The project, backed by Hungary’s Centre of Key Government Investments, is the latest attempt to transform the South Pest and North-Csepel regions of the historic city. Twelve teams, including Squire & Partners, have already been invited to participate in the competition which has a €890,000 prize fund.




According to the brief: ‘The goal of the design competition is to implement a viable urban development in line with the strategic objectives of Hungary and Budapest. This development should, through the creation of the Budapest Student City, produce housing of appropriate standard for nearly 12,000 students, catalyse the urban development of the area and with its new functions, sports facilities and community spaces it should be an attractive quarter of the whole capital.

‘The proposed master plan is an urban development design proposal relating to the build-up of an area of almost 135ha, delimited by the Danube, the Rákóczi bridge – the route of Könyves Kálmán Boulevard, Soroksári Street, the access road with topographical lot number 209968 – and Weiss Manfréd Street. With the designer selected in the design competition, we wish to sign a contract for designing the masterplan documentation for the Budapest South Gate Development project following a public procurement procedure by negotiation without announcement.’

Budapest was created in the late 19th century by the unification of Buda on the east bank of the Danube and Pest on the west bank. In recent years the southern part of the city has been the focus of several large-scale regeneration projects.

In April, UNStudio defeated Zaha Hadid Architects, Wilkinson Eyre and Knight Architects in the competition for a major new bridge connecting Galvani street in Buda with nearby Csepel Island and Illatos road in Pest.

The crossing – featuring a tram line and three motor vehicle lanes in each direction – will complete the city’s outer ring road and is intended to kick-start regeneration across large areas in the city’s undeveloped south.

UNStudio's competition-winning New Danube Bridge

UNStudio’s competition-winning New Danube Bridge

UNStudio’s competition-winning New Danube Bridge

The latest project aims to develop a new riverside neighbourhood with new sports and educational facilities on a large brownfield site. The development aims to expand higher education provision within the city and also preserve historic monuments, create new community spaces and improve connections to the river.

The Budapest South Gate competition languages are English and Hungarian. Pre-selected teams already invited to participate in the contest include KPF, Squire & Partners, Norway’s Snøhetta, ADEPT Architects from Denmark, KCAP and Sasaki Associates.

Submissions will be judged on architectural quality, relationship between city and water, innovation, connectivity to public and individual transport networks, pedestrian and bicycle solutions, sequencing, green concepts and smart solutions.

Participating teams must either have experience of masterplanning areas larger than 100ha; river, sea, or lakeside areas; university campuses; or parts of settlements home to more than 45,000 inhabitants. Judges include London South Bank University head of architecture Lilly Kudic and Tihamér Szalay from the Hungarian Chamber of Architects.

The overall winner will receive a €90,000 top prize and be invited to negotiate for the design contract. A second prize of €50,000 and third prize of €30,000 will also be awarded along with two commendations worth €20,000 each. The invited teams will also each receive a €40,000 participation fee.

How to apply


The deadline for applications is 14 August

Contact details

Katalin Sirály
Centre of Key Government Investments
Horvát utca 12-26.

Tel: +36 17998330
Fax: +36 17990141 

Visit the competition website and view the contract notice for more information

North West Cambridge case study: Q&A with Aecom

The multinational firm discusses lessons learned masterplanning an extension to Cambridge in England

How did your masterplan create an appropriate residential expansion for Cambridge in England?

At the very beginning of the process we sought to understand the character of Cambridge. We wanted to capture the city’s key attributes in our masterplan and translate them into Eddington as an urban extension. This included consideration of the relationship between parklands and open space alongside residential, research space and a new market square for the community to meet. The process was captured in a document called ‘What Kind of Place?’, which was a framework for the architects.

North West Cambridge masterplan by Aecom

North West Cambridge masterplan by Aecom

North West Cambridge masterplan by Aecom

Equally important was reading the site, which is at the edge of the city. Our masterplan needed to consider the site’s connectivity to Cambridge city centre and how it could relate to existing and new housing in the area, in addition to strategic employment sites and transport interchanges. It was also important to keep existing hedgerows and woodland areas, which would not only enhance the setting for future residents but retain the integrity of the site.

Which architectural, material, visual and other methods did you harness in your design?

The ‘What Kind of Place?’ document provided a framework that facilitated true collaboration, which included guidance on architectural rhythm, materials and technology. We worked together with the architects and the whole team involved themselves in the process, which enabled strategic design coordination as well as architectural differences in response to specific briefs. This type of teamwork was key to the success of the scheme.

North West Cambridge masterplan by Aecom

North West Cambridge masterplan by Aecom

Source: Image by Jack Hobhouse

North West Cambridge masterplan by Aecom

Landscaping was an important visual element of the masterplan. Aecom’s landscape architects worked hard to maintain the site’s landscape features and preserve its connection with the adjacent countryside. Using landscaping created an attractive space that was usable, sustainable and enhanced the ecology of the site.

What advice would you have to contest participants on masterplanning a major residential extension to Budapest?

Understanding the character, community and climate of Budapest and the site’s connectivity with the city should be integral to any masterplan. Masterplanners have a responsibility to create a vibrant space where people will want to live for a long time and that will become a treasured area of the city. Never repeat past mistakes but seek to find a solution that works in the specific context and responds to the climate of the site.

North West Cambridge masterplan by Aecom

North West Cambridge masterplan by Aecom

Source: Image by Jack Hobhouse

North West Cambridge masterplan by Aecom

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