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Why This Courtyard Garden Works When so Many Others Fail?

Paulay Garden

Paulay Courtyard Garden, by Ujirany/New Directions in Budapest, Hungary. What is your first thought when you see a landscape project for the first time? The answer is straightforward: Do you like it or not? Could you explain why? To answer this question, let’s do an exercise, taking as an example a 430-square-meter project located in the capital of Hungary. According to World Atlas, Budapest is the most populated city in Hungary. Budapest’s climate is humid continental, which basically translates into a huge temperature difference across seasons, meaning that summers can be extremely hot and winters extremely cold. Consequently, species that live in this type of climate must be able to withstand extreme seasonal and temperature changes. Back to our example: Paulay Garden was designed by Ujirany, and it is located at V. Paulay Ede Street, 65.

Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Image credit: Ujirany

Designing a Landscape for Mixed-Use Buildings

The Paulay Eden Building was competed in 2007, and it is a mixed-use building that blends residential and office apartments. Paulay Eden was one of the first mixed-use projects in downtown Budapest, as reported by Habitat Consultants. The offices are situated on the ground level, and there are 44 luxury flats on the upper levels. The inner yard, called Paulay Garden, is surrounded by offices.

Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Photo credit: Ujirany

The main idea of the project was the creation of a representative and playful area for both the residences and the offices. Each of the offices has a small deck in order to create an open and intimate area, allowing people to enjoy the summertime even during working hours. Furthermore, these decks divide the Paulay Garden into two different areas: a private one for people who work in the offices and a public one for the residents. Another interesting element in this garden is the large, pebble-shaped ceramic, in which water flows to form a little artificial pond.
Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Photo credit: Ujirany

Now that we are aware of some of the characteristics of the Paulay Garden project, let’s think about a few other points.

What is Your Perception of Paulay Garden?

What was the budget for the construction? Do we have sufficient knowledge about the local culture? What about the people who are really going to use the place? What do we know about them? At this moment, you are probably thinking that there are too many questions and almost no answers. This is exactly the purpose of this article: to make a self-criticism and question ourselves as to what extent our tastes and culture override the local culture and context of the project, influencing our repository of knowledge and creating positive and negative influences over our perception of good and bad.

Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Photo credit: Ujirany

Should We Use Curves or Straight Lines in our Design?

Far away from the curves of Burle Marx, Paulay Garden was designed and built based on straight lines, from the shape of the decks to the shape of the pathways. Is that good? The answer is certainly not objective. Is that wrong? Absolutely not. You might rather see the curves of Burle Marx or the symmetry of André Le Nôtre, but it does not make the Paulay Garden project right or wrong. Related Articles:

Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Photo credit: Ujirany

 
Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Photo credit: Ujirany

Instead, the question should be what were the main characteristics the landscape architect was prioritizing, what result was he willing to obtain with this shape, and what is the main concept underlying its conception? In some cases, the answer is not obvious; in others, you might not find one. However, in all of the answers, you should find an underlying concept.

Finding Meaning in the Pebbles

At a first look, who thought the pebble size was exaggerated? Honestly, I did. However, when analyzing the entire garden, the pebbles (designed by ceramic designer, Edit Szabo) were indeed special and they bring a different concept to the project. First, because the river pebble can be found in great numbers in the vicinity of the village and can be considered a symbol of Budapest. Secondly, the pebble holds two important roles: one especially during the winter, and the other when the spring comes.

Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Photo credit: Ujirany

Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Photo credit: Ujirany

During the snowy days of winter, the turquoise pebbles break the monochromatic feeling caused by the snow, and their size is perfect to be seen from the residences in the upper levels. In the spring, the pebbles sprinkle water and announce that summer is arriving. Without a doubt, those who have lived through a harsh winter know how it is to expect the spring and the summer days. There is a small number of species used, basically bamboo, that are complemented by the astonishing variety of flowers showing the colors of spring.
Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Photo credit: Ujirany

Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Photo credit: Ujirany

Playing With Areas of Contrast

Contrasted with the couryard, this always sunlit place is a resting area designed for the occupants. The yard and three wooden terraces were given space here. It provides the possibility for the occupants to organize community meetings or family meals and parties. Amongst the raised terraces and the paved surfaces we find a lot of grassy and planted areas. The pergola organized on the line of the chimney-like ventilation tubes supports the fragrantly blooming climbers.

Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Photo credit: Ujirany

Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Photo credit: Ujirany

Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Photo credit: Ujirany

Last, but not least, who is this project for? What are the opinions of the people who use the space? We all have the habit of looking at a project and immediately making some points emphasizing what should be different in order for the project to suit our own taste. Indeed, if architects are not born with this critical sense, we easily develop it in the university. Taking into consideration this critical sense, what are the points that you like in the Paulay Garden, and what are the ones that you do not like?
Paulay Garden

Paulay Garden. Photo credit: Ujirany

Full Project Credits For Gubei Gold Street

Project Name: Paulay Garden, at 44-flat condominium Designers: Ujirany/New Directions Ceramic Designer: Edit Szabo Location: Budapest, Hungary Total Area: 430m² Project Year: 2005 Status: Completed in 2007 Recommended Reading:

Article by Sarah Suassuna Return to Homepage

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