In the summer, visitors can enjoy several types of beaches around the Hungarian Sea, including free beaches, eco-beaches, naturist beaches, children’s beaches, beaches that welcome dogs, adventure parks and numerous tailor-made spas. However, recently a new kind of architectural approach, a more eco-friendly idea has been born on Lake Balaton’s shores.
Last autumn, the Department of Architecture of the Hungarian Academy of Arts – together with the local government – announced a competition for the development of the Balaton shore areas of Keszthely. As a result of the tender, an epoch-making idea was born by the architects Péter Hámori and Sándor Guba.
Even though the tender targeted the development of the 4,000 m2 wellness, entertainment and commercial development of the centre of Lake Balaton, according to the Hungarian architects, a different approach is needed. Accordingly, human intervention should aim to protect the natural habitat of the Hungarian Sea, which is one of the most popular domestic destinations among Hungarians.
As the Hungarian news portal Index reports,
the focus of their idea is the restoration of the natural protection zone of Lake Balaton,
the expansion of wooded, bushy habitats dotted with reeds. They would build arid, dry and wet meadows with internal lakes. In simple terms, they would rebuild it similarly as it could have been in the past.
Within the framework of their eco-friendly idea, the zone between the railway and the shore of Lake Balaton would be a car-free zone. It could only be driven by human-powered vehicles (bicycles, segways). The zigzagging, winding waterfront would be much longer (1.8 kilometres instead of the current 500 meters). The new beach would be free. This would also respond to the exclusionary phenomenon of open beaches closing one after the other across Lake Balaton.
The lost revenues would be replaced by water sports equipment rental, massage and sauna pavilion operation under the municipality’s authority.
The few service pavilions (washbasin, changing room, sauna, hot tub, mud therapy) would be built from the material of demolished buildings and slides, reducing construction waste.
This kind of approach already worked in several European countries, such as France, on the river Maine banks. According to the architects, every element of their plan is feasible, and they are glad that there was a great interest in their idea. Now they are looking for a location and a venturous municipality on Lake Balaton’s shores that support their environment-friendly idea to be realised.