CET Budapest by ONL



Architects ONL (Oosterhuis Lénárd) have designed a whale-shaped building between two existing warehouses on the banks of the river Danube in Budapest, Hungary.


The project also involves the renovation of the warehouses, which will be shortened by 20 metres to make way for a new square.


The 27,000 square metre development will be used as a cultural and commercial centre with a large event hall, retail units and catering units; building is due for completion in 2010.


Here's some more information from the architects:


CET Budapest
by ONL [Oosterhuis_Lénárd]

CET = Central European Time. CET is also a synonym for a whale. The Mixed Use Development CET at the Kozraktarak site between the Petofi and the Szabadsag Bridge is both.


The CET concept refers to Budapest as an important metropolitan centre in the heart of Central Europe. The CET shape somehow refers to the smooth and friendly streamlined body of a whale. The new CET development has the potential to put Budapest once again on the map of the world. Name and shape of the CET symbolizes its cultural potential and commercial pole position in one of the best preserved cities in the world.


The river Danube fascinates in Budapest for its fast flow on its trajectory downward from the German Schwarzwald to the Black Sea. While the Danube both separates and unites Buda and Pest, the CET aims at re-establishing visual contact at this point between the two sides of the river. Newly planned inviting terraces will visually open the once hermetic Kozraktarak to the Technical University of Budapest and the Gellért Hotel.



The body of the CET landmark building is developed along the flow of the Danube. Its architectural and urban expression evolves with the direction of the flow. The CET’s origin stems from the side of the city centre, grows in size between the two parallel existing buildings of the Közraktárak and then culminates at the south side, the side of the National Theatre and the new Cultural Centre MuPa. The striking landmark building represents the state-of-the-art in architectural design and building technology, not unlike the old long ago removed Elevator Building from the 19th Century wherefrom the goods were distributed by rail to the 6 warehouses which originally occupied the banks of the Danube.


Transformation from Old to New. Three of the 6 warehouses are now remaining, and the brief requests to keep at least 60% of the volume intact, while rightfully demanding to take away the first 20m of the 2 warehouses closest to the city to create a small square to improve the connection with the city south of the beautifully renovated Vásárcsarnok. Tak­ing this into consideration, the design team proposes to develop the Közraktárak landmark complex in a smooth transition from old to new. The first two warehouse buildings will be carefully renovated while adjusting the size of the vertical windows as to open up the hermetic nature of the buildings to the Danube, to the interior gallery and reach out to the adjoining district with the successful Ráday utca nearby.


Site: Közraktárak, Budapest
Client: Porto Investment Hungary, Budapest
Date: 2006-2010
Total Floor Area: ca. 27000 m2
Design: ONL [Oosterhuis_Lénárd]
Design team: Kas Oosterhuis, Ilona Lénárd, Rafael Seemann, Paulina Gurak, Michael Gorczynski, Lidia Badarnah, Jan Gasparik, Petr Vokal, Marthijn Pool, Attila Bujdosó, Judit Márku, Péter Romvári, Béla Káli
Engineers: MTM, SMG-SISU

Renders: Homologue


Posted on Friday December 19th 2008 at 2:04 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • torok

    I’m always glad to see budapest on dezeen
    budapest welcomes dezeen, dezeen welcomes budapest

  • jans1

    blobz power !

  • Shorty

    “The new CET development has the potential to put Budapest once again on the map of the world.”

    thank you very much, lol

  • scarpasez

    Great project…I love these types of interventions into older architecture…but larger sections and elevations, please! They seem like beautiful drawings, I’d love to get a closer look.

  • Név*

    "The CET concept refers to Budapest as an important metropolitan centre in the heart of Central Europe."

    hmmmm…. , I'm wandering how the design refers to this >:), but I like this building anyway.

    • balaskom

      CET in English=Central European Time
      CET in Hungarian=whale :)

  • togon

    yup, dezeen should link the current pictures/drawings to larger ones when we click it.

  • Azm

    Great merger!!

  • kgt

    Another trendy whale… nice…

  • schumi

    someone’s discovered GC basics.

  • Abdullah

    It really beautiful

    big greating to Zoha hadid
    and big greating to ONL which i deal with them in making the structural design for one beautiful beaulding which they did it before.

  • mrs.vicary

    nice, but I don’t like the main entrance, it ‘s not as creative as the other parts of the project.

  • Jimmy

    Not nice at all!

    Simple idea, just another reason for someone to make money!

    Why not fully restore the beautiful old buildings?

    The warehouses look nicer!

    Thank you!

    • Nada

      You are right! Not to destroy the old core of Pesta!