MArch 4 Studio 4

Topologies of Water: reappropriating the interface between water and the city

Budapest is internationally known as one of the great spa cities in Europe. Historically, water has deeply shaped the land in this region. Numerous natural hot springs pour out over 80 million litres of richly mineralised water every day. These hot springs have created a marvellous geological world underneath the city: a wonderful network of elongated caves lined with intricate filigrees of crystal formations, which present unique ecological characteristics and precious free geothermal energy. Likewise, the Danube river, which runs through nine European countries, bisects the city into two main areas. A substantial part of the city, including its river banks, is actually Unesco protected, and an application was filed seeking protection for its underground unique ecology too, where much is still to be explored.

Despite water being a crucial agent in structuring Budapest’s geology (karst topography and ecology), the city has neglected to celebrate its presence, its essence, and its natural laws. Water has been subsumed within the city’s activities, however there is a clear disconnect between the underground and above ground topologies: they speak a very different morphological language. In this context, we asked: is there a way to celebrate the presence of water in the city?

The aim of this studio was to investigate the role of water in shaping the city of Budapest and its architecture. Relevant topics included understanding water as a cultural object; water as an opportunity to unpack the layers of the city; the meaning of the geometrical vocabulary of water and karst; and, the architecture of the bath house.

Studio Lead

Katerina Antonopoulou
Rosa Urbano Gutiérrez
James Jones