The construction of the 143-meter-high MOL Campus started in October 2019. Since then, the project has posed various architectural, mechanical and design challenges. Budapest’s first skyscraper is scheduled to be handed over by autumn 2022. Still, the project strongly divides the local population. The question is: does it beautify or damage the panorama of Budapest?
The construction of the 143-meter-high MOL Campus is realised in the vicinity of the popular green oasis of Budapest, the Kopaszi Dam. The first stones were laid in October 2019, and since then, the project has posed various architectural, mechanical and design challenges. This is partly due to the particular shape of the building: it has a twice-curved surface. This surface had to be traced by both the glass and the supporting aluminium structure to make the connections airtight and watertight.
In addition, the shape of the building has been modified several times during the construction in order to make the interior areas interconnect and transparent. Accordingly, in the tower, there will be spaces connected by a high gallery, a conservatory and a floating staircase on three levels, thus helping the internal communication of the organisational units located on different levels.
The skyscraper will be a real, inspiring community space to the employees of the Hungarian multinational oil and gas company, MOL Plc. This is one of the reasons why
the 143-meter-high tower bears the name “MOL Campus” which in addition to vertical campuses, also provides space for community workspaces (library, office garden, skylab).
Despite the extra height of the skyscraper, its stability is guaranteed. Gergely Baumann, technical director of the contractor Market Építő Plc. revealed that a solid structure ensures the strength of the high tower: the two reinforcing concrete shaft cores serve as the backbone of the building, which are surrounded by ten concrete circular pillars. The tower structure stands on a 2.2-meter-thick base plate into which 4,400 m3 of concrete have been poured. This stable structure strongly protects the tower in case of an oscillation or earthquake. Continuous measurements have also verified these.
Opinions on the construction of the Budapest skyscraper are strongly divided.
As the Hungarian news portal Telex reports, the tower block will have 28 levels. On the top of the building, there will be a rooftop terrace protected from the wind by a glazed steel structure raised to a height of 23 meters. The terrace will be open from above. In addition to offices, the skyscraper will provide space for a fitness room, restaurant, canteen with balcony, bicycle storage, hall and a reception area. There are 21 elevators in the two buildings, plus two fire elevators, which do not stop even in the event of a fire. The elevators run at a speed of 18 km/h, which means that they reach the roof terrace in half a minute from the ground floor.
According to the designers, “the skyscraper fits into the architectural image of Budapest while creating new architectural value”. However, UNESCO consultants think that the tower has a detrimental effect on the architecture of Budapest, which damages the world heritage panorama of the Hungarian capital. This can be experienced mainly by walking on the Margaret Bridge, from where the Mol Tower stands out high among the domes of the Basilica and the Parliament, as well as the Gellért Hill and the Buda Castle World Heritage Sites.
Many locals agree that the MOL Campus does not fit into the panorama of Budapest. They express their opposition in social media, collecting and posting photos of the 143-meter-high skyscraper visible from several other viewpoints of the city. Nevertheless, the construction of the MOL tower seems to comply with all regulations. Presumably, the building will be handed over by autumn 2022.