Rácz Thermal Bath, reconstruction and development

Budapest, 2010

Former designs: Ákos Kaszab, 2001–2006
Modified building permit drawings (bath and hotel):
Senior designer: Tamás Dévényi, Ybl Prize laureate architect, 2007
Architecture: Tamás Dévényi, Péter Kis, László Pethő (hotel)
Contributors: Gábor Balázsa, Zoltán Bun, Eszter Mihály, Orsolya Takács, Viktor Vadász, Csaba Valkai, Anikó Varga
Model: Ivett Tarr
Architectural rendering: Attila Domokos, FRT Raszter Kft.
Final construction drawings (bath):
Senior designer: Tamás Dévényi, Ybl Prize laureate architect, 2007–2010
Architecture and interior design: Tamás Dévényi, Csaba Valkai, Anikó Varga, and Orsolya Máté, Eszter Mihály, Donát Szakmári, Tamás Ükös, Viktor Vadász

This was the first time it had been possible to fully explore archaeologically and completely restore Budapest’s 450-year-old Rácz Bath, which is situated near the Danube, in a World Heritage site. In the process, we restored every part of the building to a state as close to the original as possible, while keeping the rich structure of the complex, which evolved through the centuries. After 300 years, we can walk again on stones from the age of the Turkish occupation, and the Turkish domes are revealed again after 200 years. We reconstructed the Baroque, Classicist and eclectic elements, and found Gothic and Renaissance carvings along the way.
We restored every section with the building technique of its age, as fully as possible. There is consequently no electric lighting, heating or mechanical ventilation in the Turkish bath, and the water pressure in the Ybl baths is as much as could be attained at the time. Over and above partially destroyed sections that could be restored authentically, we could rebuild the so-called Shower Hall – built between 1865–1870, and later completely destroyed – without making the mistake of falsifying history: we built a fully functional 1-to-1 model for it. To link the old building fragments, a new structure had to be established between them, which could fully serve and “play up” the historic parts.
The end-result is a functional, 500-year-old bath complex. Following lengthy preparations, construction began in 2007, and was completed in 2010. The hotel connected to the bath was constructed after the design of László Pethő and his associates.

Photography: Bujnovszky Tamás