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What ever happened to...Zaha Hadid's Hungarian pebble

Astragal’s occasional series revisits Zaha’s Szervita Square proposal in Budapest

The plan: Originally commissioned in 2006, Hadid was asked to create a landmark building and public space in the historic Szervita Square, Budapest. One of two Hadid projects currently proposed for the Hungarian capital. The 35,000 m² proposal will replace a communist-era car park with of shops, offices and a nightclub. The ambition was ‘comply with the traditions (ahem) of the city and create something new at the same time’ .

Signs of life: The scheme was redesigned in 2007 and work was initially scheduled to start in autumn 2008. However the carpark still stands proud today. The AJ was told by the developer in 2008 ‘The design was changed (40m height instead of 48m height) because the authorities requested it. Even at 40m height the design does not conform with the Master Plan of the City but we are hoping that it will be accepted by the City (and we have had indications that it will be accepted).’

What happened next: The latest word from the developer - Orco Property Group - is that the project is on hold and that planning permission has not yet been sought. Due to the economic climate the scheme has not been developed past the conceptual stage and it could be as late a 2010 before the planning process begins.

And Astragal’s highly scientific ‘will it ever get built’ rating?: 66% - how soon depends on global economic recovery.

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