A student neighbourhood on the Danube
Snøhetta has won the Budapest South Gate International Masterplan Design Competition with their creation of an “island” neighbourhood for 12,000 students off the River Danube.
The competition was part of the Budapest 2030 plan, aimed at creating a more sustainable, energy-efficient and socially minded city.
A channel of water from the Danube will form a new peninsula, and the 135-hectare site is planned to include sport and education facilities set between parks and recreation areas, as well as an athletics arena and connection to the Danubius railway station.
Managing Director of Snøhetta Studio Innsbruck, Patrick Lüth says Snøhetta’s design proposal, “focuses on identity, diversity and sustainability.” He also says they are “keen on creating a dense urban district for a variety of people and lifestyles.“
“The location next to the river helps to create both a public urban waterfront as well as a naturalised shoreline and wetlands. So, Budapest South Gate Peninsula can be developed as showcase for a diverse and sustainable city of the future well connected to the existing urban fabric.”
Water is the main design element of Snøhetta’s plan, and also a driver for sustainability. The peninsula is created by channels that reach into the new district, and all buildings in the area engage with the water either through direct contact or picturesque views. The river banks of the Danube are not currently accessible as they are shaped according to flood control measures, so the project focuses on creating an urban waterfront.
A wetland park, naturalised shoreline and fluvial landscape will allow for ecological water treatment and enhance the biodiversity of the city. These wetland zones can be accessed on foot or by bike.
With all the characteristics of an island, Budapest South Gate will include green-filled boulevards that prioritise bikes and pedestrians.
All the Budapest South Gate buildings will have usable roofs- either accessible green roofs, winter gardens, terraces, or space for photovoltaic panels.
The jury of the Budapest South Gate International Masterplan Design Competition praised Snøhetta’s clever use of water and green space, saying that it “captures the opportunities of the area – offered by water, green belts and the characteristics of an island.” Further, they described the entry as being, “among the best by virtue of its landscaping solutions. The park planned for area … creates a well-chosen balance between semi-natural structures (wetlands) and the intensive needs to use the park, while it is achieved by state-of-the-art designer methods.”