Historic Restoration and Jesuit Community

The Horanszky street building was originally built by the Jesuits in 1892. It was originally designed as a national center for youth ministry in Budapest. The building had multifunction spaces, classrooms, a theater, offices, and a historically significant chapel. The building also housed a Jesuit community. In 1956 the building was “nationalized” by the Soviet government. The Jesuits were forced to leave, the chapel was desecrated and turned into a television studio. The rest of the building was given to a state sponsored language school and functioned as a student dormitory.

In 2005 the building was returned to the Jesuits. Since it was nationalized very little maintenance was done. The roof needed to be replaced, the historic facade was delaminating, the windows were inoperable, there was water damage throughout, hazardous materials were found in the basement, and the interiors were all destroyed. I was asked by the Hungarian Jesuits to help with the historic restoration, strategic planning and the design of a Jesuit community in the building. The photos on these pages focuses on the interior work.

The interior represented here is for a community of 8 Jesuit priests. These are men who voluntarily live together in community engaged in diverse works. The community setting needed to provide sleeping and work spaces, living spaces, a kitchen, toilets, laundry, recreation and meeting spaces. The design was influenced and shaped by the existing building. The materials used were modest, but of good quality, consistent with the values of the religious order. In addition to the architectural design, I did all the interior design of the casework and architectural woodwork, and built much of the furniture as well as the interior of the chapel.

The project was done through the Szt Jozsef Studio Kollegium, a design institute that I founded in cooperation with the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. In addition to offering an opportunity for students to work on their graduation projects with community service organizations, the Kollegium provided high quality design services for a reduced fee. These projects also provided opportunities for recent graduates of the Kollegium to work as interns under my direction.

Terrence M Curry (Designer)
Szabolcs Portchy (Project Manager)
Peter Potonya (Project Architect)