The Metamorphosis of the Great Rock

By PLANT–Atelier Peter Kis魔山。已建成,动物园混凝土假山中新的建筑空间。

Project Specs

Location:
Materials:
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一个改建项目,改建的不是建筑,而是位于动物园的混凝土假山,在假山当中植入建筑空
间,赋予假山空洞的内部实际的功能。
假山位于布达佩斯动物园,高40米,建于1909年,内部有38850平方米的空间。
假山的外壳是钢筋混凝土,形态富有层次,融入各种自然元素,人们攀爬在其中非常有
趣,最后能在高处俯瞰整个动物园。内部的空洞在建立之初有各种用途,后来因为结构存
在威胁就被遗弃而作为储藏空间。
而改建,赋予这个百年空间新的梦想。
建筑师重新调查了山体,利用三维技术分析结构数据,在内部框架重建的过程中,在外部
喷上一层可以抗腐蚀的新配方混凝土,防止外壳泄漏。在现有岩石外壳表面加上一些隔热
玻璃天窗,为空间引入光亮,旅客在山洞里面行走,通过这些窗户看到外面不可思议的世
界,这真是让人特别是小朋友们着迷的体验。里面的很多区域处理得就像是山洞。内部建
筑自有一套结构,这与假山的支撑结构是相互独立的。里面的展览区易让人印象深刻的方
式介绍了地球特别的生物们以及他们的发展历程还有生活,并展望未来,让人们意识到世
界的多样性以及未来的环境的挑战。通过各种高科技让展示更加活灵活现。
新的改建一共有四层,共16个展览区:接待空间,远古海洋,时光隧道,复古之路,尼安
德特何故,学习生活,时光机,熊院,黑迷宫,菌群展示,世界时间,巨人,星系空间,
达尔文实验室,迪诺梯田,火星空间站。
 
非常感谢PLANT – Atelier Peter Kis将项目介绍和项目图片授权gooood发行。
Appreciation towards PLANT – Atelier Peter Kis for providing the following description:
 
 
 
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THE METAMORPHOSIS OF THE GREAT ROCK
Sándor Bardóczi
The Great Rock was created during the major reconstruction of the Zoo between
1909 and 1912, based on the specialist instructions of the Zoo Construction
Committee in the capital.
The zoological tasks were supervised by the director of the zoo at the time, Dr
Adolf Lendl, and the construction technology aspects by Dr Kornél Neuschloss.
The primary purpose of the artificial rock was to help the Zoo, that already
operated on a overly tight area, appear larger and provide greater space. Thus
instead of the completely flat area, with the vertical elevation, a divided and
at the same time larger surface would be created with the latest and most
spectacular animal runs of the time. 
The artificial rock as a zoo rehabilitation concept
The prototype for the artificial rocks were presumably the market booths
fabricated from log frames, and covered by cliff effect canvas that served as
the scenes for animals and showmen. The first occurrence of the concept of
animal friendly artificial rocks, constructed from more permanent structures,
was during the development of the Zurich Zoo. The idea according to the records
could have come from a sculptor by the name of Urs Eggenschwiler. Although the
plan was not realised in Zurich, the director of the Hamburg-Stellingen Zoo,
Karl Hagenbeck, jumped at it. The panoramic display later became an example for
great zoo constructions of the era, thus the Budapest concept also subsisted on
this very same prototype, which in the end surpassed Stellingen. (The Hungarian
Committee during its many study tours also visited Stellingen). Today – from
the artificial rocks that have survived – the Great Rock of Budapest, with its
architectural and sculptural achievement represents an outstanding
architectural heritage, with only the Vincennes Zoo of Paris being a match for
it in its genre.
The Hungarian Committee carried out a rather thorough preparatory work: several
natural scenes were examined for the shaping of the artificial rocks, as well
as seeking the opinion of the Magyar Királyi Földtani Intézet (Hungarian Royal
Institute of Geology). The dolomite peak of the Great Rock in the shape of a
limestone range, was in the end constructed based on detailed surveys and photo
documentation of the “Egyeskő” peak in Transylvania; it covered an area of
4,700 m2, with a volume of 38,850 m3 and a height to the peak of 34 m. The
plans were prepared by Gyula Végh, and during the three years of construction,
8,000 m3 of concrete was used by the company of György Pohl. The rock crust
itself was made from a 6-12 cm thick Portland cement wire lattice structure by
the same extraordinarily skilled rock carving and building architect artisans
who created the façade decorations of eclectic Budapest; their work being
supervised by geologists and sculptors. (The patterned rock cracks also hide
the dilatation gaps of the structure).
 
 
 
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A hundred year old dormant dream
The well-grounded question of whether it is an overly big extravagance in the
altogether ten hectares area of the Budapest Zoo (one of the smallest amongst
the zoos of the European cities) not to use or almost not to use such an area
under the rock arose even during the construction of the rock. Adolf Lendl
wrote about this in his concept of the zoo:
“The entire large hill will be made of cement concrete and will be empty
inside. We will open the wall on one of the sides with a cave like gate
entrance enclosing it with a light structure, and in the inside a huge hall,
this could even be 30 m long. We will erect a stuffed whale here from the
northern seas, perhaps together with the skeleton, and also several specimens
of dolphins, as these are not expensive and are very characteristic animals
that can rarely be seen".
However, a lack of money and the outbreak of World War I washed away the grand
dreams of the Zoological Museum. Although there were a few attempts between the
two wars for some sort of functional use of the space (e.g.: skating rink,
shooting gallery, riding school), mostly it operated as hay storage and junk
room, as well as a practice hall for horse trainers until recent times. Over
time, the permeability of the crust to water increased, water found its way in
and due to the large fluctuations of temperature in the internal space,
condensation was continuous, further damaging the condition of the wire lattice
structure. Large pieces split from the crust of the artificial rock, thus to
prevent accidents a safety steel mesh was stretched onto the reinforced
concrete frame.
The reconstruction works, from the surveying to the structural reconstruction
of the rock to the complete renewal of the inner space, were coordinated by the
architect studio of  Péter Kis. Between 2006 and 2008, both the framework and
the external covering of the Great Rock were renewed. However, just as one
hundred years ago, it seemed that the full utilisation of the space inside the
rock would come to a halt yet again due to financial reasons. Although a 3D
cinema did start up in the domed hall in 2009, the great dream of Lendl,
today’s version of the Zoological Museum seemed to be lost once more due to a
lack of funds. Fortunately, and thanks to European Union aid sources and
countless innovative ideas, the interactive life museum, the Magical Mountain
was finally realised in the Great Rock.
 
 
 
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Innovation in the deep
In order for the reconstruction design to commence at all, this huge amorphous
structure had to be surveyed, as no exact plans and geodesics were available.
It was Dr András Tokody and his team appointed to carry out the survey, who
proved to be a direct hit for this task. The versatile surveyors – who had to
be IT professionals, industrial alpinists and cave researchers all in one –
had to carry out their survey in minus twenty degrees in the belly of the
concrete mountain, which turned into an ice-pit in the winter of 1995. Tokody
et al developed a three-dimensional computer-processing program, which at the
time was considered a novelty. They wrote a separate auxiliary program and
built a geographic information system database that assigned to every single
beam, the text based data describing their condition and metric parameters. 
Remedying the structural problems that had been mapped by the survey was not an
easy canter either. From several experts experienced in framework
reconstruction, in the end, on the recommendation of the excellent engineers of
ÉMI, Dr Béla Kovács and Tibor Andorka, the net-liked cracked external crust was
covered by a thin layer of sprayed mortar; the supporting beams were covered
with a special plastic-concrete mix, which stopped or even reversed the
corrosion processes. As soon as the structural problems of the artificial rock
were eliminated, the leaking of the shell improved. There was only one more
(however not any less serious) engineering problem to be faced in order to
utilise the internal space. This was the horrific level of fluctuations in
temperature. The wire lattice structure had no insulation of any kind, which
resulted in the usability of the internal spaces being somewhat seasonal!
The architects in their first architectural concept outlined the creation of a
“night garden”  inside the rock. This concept in reality – by keeping the
existing structural elements – would have meant the construction of a heat
insulated glass cube structure, separated from the structural elements of the
rock and leaving it untouched. The glass structure itself, in the transparent
large space separated in this way would have allowed visitors full view of the
wonders of the original framework. Yet, it was undertaking even more: looking
at the world outside of the cubes as quasi-furnishable glass cabinets, it
formed lit, but for visitors inaccessible exhibition spaces from the areas
between the glass and the rock crust. If realised, visitors would have
undoubtedly become confused sooner or later from this poetically transparent
space game, not knowing, whether they were the audience, or at times the
watched. In such a space, the roles of the “exhibited” and the “recipient”
are sometimes interchanged with everything becoming somewhat relative. In the
end, it could have not been realised and the reasons for this are rather
ordinary: it is impossible to keep this amount of glass surface clean,
especially as the majority of the visitors are fascinated little children. The
concept had to be rejected.
 
 
 
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The Magical Mountain
The modified concept vision is a cave, carved into the rock block. The new mass
forms a crystal-like structure inside the rock that extends into the existing
reinforced concrete structure. The shell of the broken form is self-supporting,
the new structure following the historically protected reinforced framework of
the Great Rock.
The two bodies according to the concept complement one another, making up for
an existing shortfall inside the rock. The resolution of this lacking goes
beyond the archetypal connection of the rock and the cave (namely, one is
positioned inside the other). A kind of dramaturgy has an important role to
play, which builds on wandering and observation within the space. The visitor
can continuously walk in and out of the new crystal structure, providing the
option to admire alternatively one or the other structure from external or
internal viewpoints. This experience is reinforced by the observation openings
positioned at distinct points.
The internal halls of the rock were fully completed according to the final
plans by 2011. The reconstruction added 3,000 m2 of flexible internal space to
the 1909 concept (which only intended to utilise a section of the rock), and in
addition, the use of renewable energy became one of the guiding threads. The
heat from the thermal water feeding the Széchenyi Bath next to the Zoo has also
been utilised, with the inclusion of a heat exchange system to supply renewable
energy to the Great Rock, amongst the 30 buildings of the Zoo. With this, the
operation itself was placed on a more sustainable basis.
The Zoo, which continuously has struggled with a lack of space, gained several
thousands of square meters of exhibition area, as well as the option for
housing cultural and other events. The wonders of the main structural elements
supporting the Great Rock are sensitively highlighted by the reconstruction,
and in the coordinated spaces an origami-like layer is added to the organically
creasing boundary walls. The deep foundation of the framework, built in the
past on a once boggy soil, even made it possible to excavate a complete new
level above the base structure, thus they were able to increase the already
considerable – so far unutilised – internal volume.  Wherever possible, the
light enters naturally into the spaces from above. An exciting, playful,
accessible, and versatile string of space has been created, providing the Zoo
with new opportunities for cultural events.
The Magical Mountain exhibition (Life museum), designed for the internal space
of the Great Rock, has set as the objectives – a unique and spectacular
presentation of the special life forms that have appeared on the stage of life
that is Earth, of the development of life and its impressive richness, where
the audience may meet “wondrous rarities”. The principal thread is provided
by the multiplicity of life forms and of living and non-living systems, where
diversity is interpreted as a response to the challenges of the environment as
well as to the problems to be solved; its unique true-to-life appearance is
achieved through a range of extremely varied exhibition-technology devices that
take advantage of the space.
We have designed an interactive exhibition system with adventurous games, \
displays of live animals and models of giant animals, with projector
microscopes allowing an insight into the micro world. This together with richly
equipped discovery areas and lecture theatres creates an exhibition system that
can be found nowhere else in Central-Europe.
The Magical Mountain exhibition is divided into a total of sixteen exhibition
areas set over four levels; its thematic is divided according to the following
areas: Reception hall, Ancient Sea, Time Tunnel, Path of the Ancients,
Neanderthal Valley, Life School, Time Machine, Bear Corner, Dark Labyrinth,
Colony Gallery, World of the Minute, Hall of Giants, Star Space, Darwin
Laboratory, Dino Terraces, Mars Space Station .
 
 
 
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Bibliography used in the text:
Kis Péter – Szabon Márta – Persányi Miklós: Nagyszikla (2009)
Dr. Lendl Adolf: Milyen lesz az új állatkertünk? – Fővárosi Közlöny (1909. 6.
szám)
Andorka Tibor (ÉMI-TÜV Bayern Kft): szakértői vélemény az Állatkerti Nagyszikla
felújítási munkálatairól (2006)
A Budapest Székesfővárosi Állatkert  – Magyar Építőművészet (1912. évi 11-12.
szám)
Dr. Tokody András: A budapesti Állat – és Növénykert Nagysziklájának geodéziai
felmérése (1996)
Andorka Tibor: A budapesti Állatkert vasbeton szerkezetű mesterséges sziklái –
Magyar Építőipar (1996. évi 5-6 szám)
 
 
 
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Architecture: PLANT – Atelier Peter Kis Kft.
Architect: Péter Kis
Architects:  Bea Molnár, Péter Nyitrai, Tamás Ükös
Staff: Péter Romvári, Orsolya Hőna, Péter Hámori, Róbert Erdélyi, Piroska
Varga, Ádám Potzner
Renders, plans: PLANT – Atelier Peter Kis Kft.
Photo:  Zsolt Batár www.batarfoto.hu
 
 

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