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Csontváry Museum


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Morgan Day


Hungarian Government


  • Daniel Gerse
  • Csaba Kovács
  • Tamás Máté
  • Áron Vass-Eysen

Project Status

Concept Proposal



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Project Description


Csontváry is said to be one of the greatest Hungarian painters.

He is not only known by his great technical skills and by his importance in the development of art but also acknowledged as a herald of an important spiritual message by his contemporaries. Also, his teachings about men and nation as a cosmic creature transcend through his lifetime and provide broad interpretations for future generations.

So we asked ourselves: what could be the main message and what is the location that fits to it the most? He is a unique person so we should avoid creating a museum that becomes one of many galleries. We should find a place which represents his legend, to where every culturally minded people from this region would want to travel.

Opposed to the “plaza-museum” strategy we searched for a site that is interesting and symbolic enough to become a pilgrimage destination. In the outskirt of Pécs, next to a lake in a crater of a former coalmine we found a perfectly dramatic ambiance that suits for this new museum.

The atmosphere of the building is created by the contrast of an enclosed “dark” core and a floating, sun-drenched communication system (exhibition space-community space). This tension applies for the structural idea too: the ferro-concrete heart of the house is surrounded by the lighter steal load bearing structure.

The crater of coalmine in itself looks dramatic: this lonely, characteristic phenomenon is situated in the woods, a turquoise lake in the middle surrounded by 70 meter high, steep walls. The museum and it’s context generates a strong visual tension similar to the emotional tension on Csontváry's paintings. The white, glossy, floating cube on the top of the crater encloses the reddish orange “hearth” of the building that recalls the glittering feel of his most famous paintings.

The revitalization of the coalmine can hopefully be interpreted by future generations as the painter’s symbolic message echoing from the past.
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