Metro Line 4 in Budapest has been the largest infrastructure project of the city for the last decades. Following a national competition in 2004, PALATIUM Studio Ltd. led by Zoltán Erő and Balázs Csapó built up a network of architect offices to cooperate with large engineering companies. PALATIUM Studio had a primary role in defining the architectural tasks and the design background; however, the architects worked out a common architectural language together. Thus, similar gestures of handling spaces, functions and materials inform the world of the stations, and at the same time, each station became unique, based on the artistic intentions of the designer. The new line with its ten stations therefore can be regarded as a building of ten wings, where each wing has its own atmosphere, while they clearly belong together.
The stations of Budapest Metro Line M4 and their designers in charge:
- 01-Kelenföld vasútállomás (Palatium Studio Ltd., VPI Építész Ltd.)
- 02-Bikás Park Station (Palatium Studio Ltd.)
- 03-Újbuda Központ Station (Palatium Studio Ltd.)
- 04-Móricz Zsigmond körtér Station (Gelesz and Lenzsér Ltd.)
- 05-Szent Gellért tér (sporaarchitects Ltd.)
- 06-Fővám tér Station (sporaarchitects Ltd.)
- 07-Kálvin tér Station (Palatium Studio Ltd.)
- 08-Rákóczi tér Station (Budapesti Műhely Ltd.)
- 09-II János Pál pápa tér Station (Puhl and Dajka Ltd.)
- 10-Keleti pályaudvar Station (Gelesz and Lenzsér Ltd.)
The ten stations of the new line are the results of architectural experiments with space, structure and light. During the design process architects made a strong effort to find optimal solutions among the requirements of construction technologies, transport technologies and the creature of artistic architectural spaces. Predicted by the cut and cover construction technology for the stations, the underground boxes of the stations bordered by diaphragm walls provided enormous spaces, in which only the structural elements, the large horizontal supports in the form of beams, slabs, or pressed rings are visible with their rough, characteristic shape. Fair-faced concrete is used widely for the primary structures, while those elements, close to travellers are in a finer human scale. To use the possibilities of the large open spaces to an extreme, there are smaller or larger openings for the natural light from the surface, ensuring that stations enjoy an atmosphere of free, airy spaces. It is not only natural light that can specially define architectural spaces, but artificial lighting of the station areas has also a series of innovative and specific solutions. A high level and a high temperature of general illumination provides clear and clean feeling for the spaces, while the use of additional coloured lights result in special effects giving unique character for the stations. Although only partially visible from the passenger areas, the structures of large ventilation and smoke exhaust systems were decisive during the spatial design, and, for safety reasons, fire protection became one of the most important issues. It is generally considered that the stations have added new public spaces for the city of Budapest with new aesthetics and high architectural quality of the large infrastructure, they provide attractiveness and high quality architectural environment for public transport.