On the 23rd of January 2022, the House of Music in Hungary opened in Budapest: a new contemporary cultural landmark dedicated to music in Budapest. The House designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto will provide a unique artistic experience combining landscape, architecture, and exhibition design to offer visitors new perspectives on music-making and its impact on our lives. The project is part of the Liget Budapest Project, Europe’s largest and most ambitious urban cultural development that envisioned the complete renewal of Budapest’s largest and most iconic public park.
House of Music Information
- Architects: Sou Fujimoto
- Local Architect: M-Teampannon
- Location: 1146 Budapest, Olof Palme stny. 3-5, Hungary
- Topics: Museum, Circle Series, Blurring Boundaries
- Implementation: Magyar Építő
- Area: 9 000 m2
- Project Year: 2017-2022
- Photographs: © Courtesy of Liget Budapest
Working in one of the first public parks in the world is immensely inspiring. Designing the building was an especially exciting task because it is not just a building that we created here: we integrated the experience of the park into the project. The Liget Budapest Project, and within that the House of Music, Hungary is an emblematic development project which we hope will serve as an example for the urban developers of the future since it seeks to realise harmony between the green and the built-up environment.
– Sou Fujimoto 1
House of Music Photographs
Text by the Architects
The vision for the project is to bring the experience of music to life through the interaction of nature, sound, and light. Situated in Budapest, Hungary, which is a historic center of music in Europe for both classical music repertoire and Hungarian folk traditions, the House will host a range of live music from classical to folk, pop to jazz, alongside exhibitions and education and learning programs designed to create opportunities for anyone to play and experience music.
Music making is at the heart of human experience. The House is a one-of-a-kind institution created to introduce the beauty of sound and music, alongside the important role it plays in every aspect of our life.
– András Batta, Managing Director of the House of Music
Forest of music inspired architecture
The impressive 9,000m² (total ﬂoor area) building nestled amongst the trees of the City Park is designed by Japanese practice Sou Fujimoto Architects. The designers have taken inspiration from the synergy between sound and nature, presenting the building as a continuation of its park context and an ambitious rethinking of a 21st-century museum space.
The House’s facade is paneled in a glass curtain to create a completely translucent building that blurs boundaries between indoor and outdoor space. The glass facade comprises 94 custom-manufactured, heat-insulated, horizontally undivided panels, and its height reaches almost 12 meters in some areas of the House.
Consistent with its naturalistic setting, the House is equipped with an innovative heating and cooling system, mainly geothermal energy and other renewable sources covering the House’s energy requirements.
The feeling of being in nature is further enhanced by a canopy of over 30,000 decorative tree leaves set in the suspended ceiling and secured in place by a steel structure made out of 1,000 honeycomb-shaped elements. The building’s unique roof structure is also inspired by the varying form of sound waves. The vast undulating roof structure changes depth and remains below the City Park’s foliage. The roof has been designed with nearly 100 unique, crater-like holes in the surface, which allow the trees to slip through while channeling light into the depths of the building, lighting the interiors and creating a unique atmosphere, as if visitors are walking under the trees.
We were enchanted by the multitude of trees in the City Park and inspired by the space created by them. Whilst the thick and rich canopy covers and protects its surroundings, it also allows the sun’s rays to reach the ground. I envisaged the open ﬂoor plan, where boundaries between inside and outside blur, as a continuation of the natural environment.
– Sou Fujimoto
Movement of a score: exhibition and education spaces
The layout of the House is set across three distinctive levels reﬂecting the three movements of a musical score and interweaving nature and music. The subterranean level will provide a space for permanent and temporary exhibitions and a unique sound dome. The park level will be home to the glass-walled concert hall and open-air stage, and the top level will be dedicated to educational spaces.
Unique sound dome
One of the most notable features of the House – regarded as a rarity across the globe – is the hemispherical sound dome. The concept was inspired by the 20th-century composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, who created the ﬁrst 3D aural experience in the form of a spherical concert hall, which debuted at the 1970 World Exposition in Osaka, Japan.
Designed as a fully immersive experience, up to 60 visitors can be accommodated to experience 360-degree surround sound emitted from every direction from more than 31 loudspeakers, creating ‘hologram-like’ walls of sound. Enhanced visually by a projector, visitors can experience the permanent sound installation composed of sounds of Hungary and from the Carpathian Basin during the day.
The dome will act as a venue for DJ sets, screenings, and smaller-scale concerts in the evenings.
Permanent exhibition ‘Sound Dimensions – Musical Journeys in Space and Time’
The institution brings Hungary’s rich music traditions and landmark role in the history of European music to domestic and foreign visitors alike with its interactive exhibitions, both permanent and temporary, utilizing 21st-century technology, music education workshops, as well as music events, and open-air concerts.
The permanent exhibition, titled ‘Sound Dimensions – Musical Journeys in Space and Time,’ will provide an immersive musical journey through two thousand years of music-making in Europe – from the musical exploits of primeval man, the historical turning points in music’s history such as musical notation and polyphony, to the wide spectrum of avant-garde and popular music driven by the technological revolution of the 20th and 21st centuries. Through six main themes, visitors will discover each era’s contrasting sounds and styles through the life and work of iconic composers, including Monteverdi, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Liszt. The audio-visual experience of the show will be accompanied by an instrument lab and a plethora of sounds that can be heard within the sound dome. The ﬁrst temporary exhibition will showcase the history of Hungarian pop music from 1957-1990, focusing on the performers and music scene of the Socialist – so-called Kádár – era.
The ground ﬂoor houses two indoor concert halls; the smaller hall primarily functions as a lecture and workshop space, alongside acting as a concert venue and an auditorium. The open-air stage located on the level of the building’s entrance will host daytime and evening concert events, allowing visitors sitting on the hillside opposite the stage and in the adjacent garden terrace to observe.
The glass-walled concert hall has a capacity of 320 seats and is equipped with a sinkable stage and suitable for musical experimentation. Undertaken by Japanese ﬁrm Nagata Acoustics, known for the acoustic design of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, and Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg, Nagata, and Sou Fujimoto navigated the challenges of this unique glass design by creating a zigzag-shaped wall that allows incoming sound to reverberate and disperse from the glass indirectly, producing homogeneous sound.
House of Music Plans
House of Music Image Gallery
About Sou Fujimoto
Sou Fujimoto is a Japanese architect who established his practice, Sou Fujimoto Architects, in 2000. Graduated from the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering at Tokyo University, Sou Fujimoto Architects, now has ofﬁces in Tokyo and Paris. Among his recent renowned projects is his winning design of Montpellier city council’s Folie Richter competition in 2013, L’Arbre Blanc.
Additionally, he won several international competitions in 2015, 2017, and 2018. In Japan, he was selected as the Master Architect for Tsuda University Kodaira Campus Master Plan development in 2019. In 2020, he was chosen as the Expo site design producer for the 2025 Japan International Exposition (Osaka/Kansai Expo). In 2021, he won the Design Proposal for Oita Airport Sea Access Passenger Terminal. His most notable works include “Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2013” (2013), “House NA” (2011), “Musashino Art University Museum & Library” (2010), and “House N” (2008).
Works from Sou Fujimoto
- Design Extras interview with Sou Fujimoto at magyarzenehaza.com