Zsolnay Cultural Quarter
Zsolnay Cultural Quarter

Zsolnay Cultural Quarter

The contemporary buildings of Zsolnay Cultural Quarter demonstrate a fine example on how to turn history into post modern art through innovative, thoughtful design. Architect Pethő László has brought the old porcelain factories to life, when reinterpreting the characteristics of the original buildings, transforming the building complex E2 and E22 (belonging to the Faculty of Arts of the University of Pécs), to zeitgeistial attractions worthy of their students’ talents. 

The building complex, which is connected to the bridge structure that represents the gate of the Quarter, has become one of the defining elements of the area, with extensions accentuated by characteristic COR-TEN® cladding.

The existing design was formed with a heterogeneous system in mind, including both a traditional masonry and a brick tray pattern between steel beams held up by a pillar frame support structure. The ascending facade demonstrates a mixed picture, combining plastered, raw and painted brick. 

E2 and E22 were once abandoned factory buildings. Today, they are home to young creators of Hungary and have become the textbook example on how designing for creativity sometimes calls for a more subtle yet playful approach. Both buildings consist of three floors, giving the faculty the opportunity of hosting many students and the students plenty of room to be creative. E2 is also provided with an attic where the students’ artworks are stored.

Architect: Pethő László
Location: Pécs, Hungary
Completed: 2010
Photography: Török Tamás

COR-TEN steel used as facade steel
Perforated COR-TEN steel

László’s passion for the art have steered the project in a direction that allows for a mixture between materials, colors and textures, but his architectural tone of voice breaks through when looking at the combination of aesthetics and functionality. The architect enhances the importance of universal design:

“The building (E2) is completely barrier-free. We have made sure to equip it with a vertical traveling core, consisting of a two-armed staircase and an elevator for the disabled”, explains Pethő László. 

The redesign was almost carried out according to plan. Since the idea was to reinterpret and not redesign the building complex completely, a few compromises needed to be made. Hence, some of the doors and windows were kept as they were due to the risk of losing their genuine characteristics if they were to be renovated.

Preventing reinforcement of continuous redesigns, László chose to exploit COR-TEN® steel for some parts of the facade, determined to create both a long-lasting structure with no need for maintenance and thus, be able to design sustainable yet aesthetically pleasing elements, enhancing the characteristics of the old buildings of Zsolnay.

COR-TEN steel in a old town setting

Endless possibilities

Order sample

Order a sample

For a hands-on experience of COR-TEN® as a façade material, you are welcome to order a sample of the steel before the patina has formed. Just fill out a simple form and you will get a “Natural Beauty” mailed to your address.

Design guide

Naturally, you want to make a COR-TEN® façade look as good as possible during the years. Since COR-TEN® is self-protecting it needs no regular attention or maintenance, as is the case for almost all other façade materials. When installing COR-TEN® there are some things to consider:

Showcase your projects here

We are always looking for the most interesting and creative architecture to be showcased by SSAB. The only condition is that COR-TEN® steel is an essential part of the project. Our team of editors will review your submission, and if approved, it will be featured.