Renovation of Blaha Lujza Square to begin this year

Hungarian version of the article: Idén megkezdődik a Blaha Lujza tér felújítása

January 25, 2021 at 3:00 PM

Traffic flow around Blaha Lujza Square will be redesigned, creating a pedestrian-friendly space with new trees. The grass-covered areas of the square will increase, and water games added. A unique pavilion for events and cultural purposes will be built. The facade of the Corvin Department Store will also be restored. Work beginning in 2021 will last for roughly one and a half years.

Renovation of Blaha Lujza Square, the underpass there and Somogyi Béla Street will begin this year. The reconstruction will take about a year and a half, the Budapest Transport Center (BKK) told the MTI on Friday.

The government and Budapest City Council have provided a total of 2.67 billion HUF for the improvements. The report states that the grass-covered areas of the square will grow, forming a pedestrian-friendly square that meets the demand of the modern age. Water games and an event pavilion, the latter being built as a result of cooperation between the council and the private sector, will also be constructed.

Blaha Lujza Square to be renewed (Photo: bkk.hu)

The junction will be made easily accessible for those with limited mobility and the underpass renovated. The traffic flow of the area will be reorganised, the roads bordering the square will also change. For example, drivers will be allowed to make a right turn onto József Boulevard directly from Rákóczi Road.

Blaha Lujza Square will be transformed into a community space with a unified appearance, to satisfy the needs of modern urban life. The memorial to the Popular, later National Theatre that once stood on the plaza will also be restored. The Mushroom Fountain, which has stood on the square since the 1960s, is also being restored. In addition, the network of sub-roads and car parks that currently fragment the space will be eliminated – reads the BKK statement.

Concept for the completed renovation (Source: budapest.hu)

As it was written, a small building for cultural purposes will be erected, as part of a separate project, on the renovated Blaha Lujza Square. The contiguous space in front of the pavilion will fit larger events.

In addition to retaining the valuable trees on the square, 65 new trees will be planed, and over 1,000 square metres of new green space added, the BKK said.

According to the communiqué, two MOL Bubi collection stations will be installed alongside several bicycle stands and rubbish bins. The owner of Corvin Department Store will remodel the building as part of a private investment project and renovate the historical facade with state subsidies. Following the reconstruction of the square, drivers will be able to turn right directly to the right onto the fully two-way Márkus Emília Street and József Boulevard from Rákóczi Road. Somogyi Béla Street will be one-way from Gutenberg Square towards Stáhly Street.

The statement highlights that as the plans need to be amended before the project commended, there are currently no final plans for Blaha Lujza Square’s future appearance. Due to the loss of funding changing demands, the plans for the renovation will be modified as follows: the design will be adapted to incorporate the bicycle lane on the Grand Boulevard, the planned extension of the underpass will be cancelled, and the new public toilet will be built on the surface.

The pavilion will serve cultural events, visual from 2019 (Source: budapest.hu)

The staircase connecting the square to the underpass will be renovated but remain the same size and in the same place. The unique paintwork of the bus stops has also been scrapped to reduce costs. Furthermore, the planned pavilion building will be realised in a different form and financed in another way. Finally, the creation of a central tree line on Rákóczi Road will be delayed to support “long-term public transport development.”

 BKK emphasised that in July 2018, the company signed a contract with the winning consortium of the public procurement tender, “KÖZLEKEDÉS” a cooperation between the Fővárosi Tervező Iroda Kf and UVATERV Út-, Vasútterező Zrt to create the plans. The construction plans were completed in 2019; the last permit received in June 2020.

Following local council elections in October 2019, the completed plans had to be amended “by the newly elected leadership, to consider social needs, the immediate challenges posed by climate change and a loss of funds throughout the capital’s entire development portfolio.”

BKK stated that the project's public procurement tender was announced in December 2020 and contracts should be finalised by April. 

Source: MTI | Abridged in translation

Cover photo: Renovation of Blaha Lujza Square to start this year, visual (Source: budapest.hu)


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