The former Batthyány Manor will be revitalised based on the designs of MOME students

Date: 2024.03.20
Even in its dilapidated state, the Batthyány Manor in Sitke captures the imagination of passersby. This inspiring architectural complex was the subject of a week-long course at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, and there are expectations for further collaboration with the descendants of the Batthyány family owning the house. The revitalisation project is centred around a plan for a contemporary nursing home that would also help uphold and perpetuate local values.

During this Course Week course with a participatory approach, eighteen students collaborated using emotional design and social design methodology under the guidance of German Kinga, Pozsár Péter, and concept owner of the project Kicsák Blanka. Art and Design Management student Kicsák first began exploring the topic as a Stefan Lengyel Scholarship recipient, then was working on it throughout her internship, which is how the project came about. She started contemplating the possibilities of reusing the workshops, abandoned houses, gardens, grain dryers, and blacksmith workshops of the Sitke Manor to create a contemporary, human-centred nursing home with a focus on maintaining a high quality of life for its residents. Art historian and associate professor Kinga German, and architect and lecturer Péter Pozsár came onboard as course leaders, and then more students joined the project. The expanded team aimed to understand the challenges presented by the site, explore opportunities for interactions between and potential cohabitation of elderly and young generations, plan personal connections to support a more active lifestyle for the elderly, and foster encounters between the elderly, young people, tourists, and locals.

The methodology employed by the team was life-centred design and designer engagement within the domain of emotional design, envisioning a contemporary, creativity- and partially anthroposophically-based nursing home, and designing an environment around it that offers a variety of events and experiences.

The participatory methodology course provided an opportunity for exploring points of connection between MOME students and the emerging community in Sitke. Practical work was preceded by preparatory lectures by course leaders, as well as by ergonomist and psychologist György Kaucsek, economist Balázs Fekete, and members of the Waldorf community, teacher Judit Gyarmati and teaching gardener Gábor Nagy.

Throughout the week, five teams worked on five themes: visual identity, temporary architectural solutions, outdoor facilities and routes, the ANVIL event café, and the Archives weave. The team working on visual identity was searching for a pithy motif that is not taken by any denominations, and aligns the site's content-specific features with anthroposophical values and the spirit of the prospective community. The team exploring meeting spaces drew inspiration from the former blacksmith workshop and its remaining equipment. The plans include a café, a shop selling local products, an inclusive lecture room, and a record collection for the community space ANVIL. The team focusing on the theme of archives planned a memory repository, a video installation, and an activity incorporating storytelling and memory, potentially with its own local tradition involving the creation of a collection of shrouds from local materials, connecting to previous activities in the area.


The students in charge of outdoor solutions reimagined the pavilion to include a permaculture garden, a storytelling bench, outdoor furniture, and pets, focusing on three main categories: plant cultivation, animal husbandry, and the design of outdoor furniture to facilitate slowing down and dialogue. A wooden structure encouraging people to spend time outdoors and interact was designed, integrating ‘transgenerational benches’ made from locally-sourced and waste materials and visualising the time spent by locals and visitors together through engraved texts.

The team working on temporary architectural solutions aimed to design buildings that could provide solutions for transitional situations when the manor does not yet have a permanent residential community. This led the architecture students to design a transparent pavilion capable of serving as a temporary shelter, a resting spot, and a meeting point.


One of the main achievements of the interdisciplinary course was the process itself, as understanding the specific challenges of the site and bridging generational gaps, desires, and expectations represents a significant step in life-centred design approach. Since each student was present at all stages of the work and decision-making, utilising their professional and design knowledge for common causes, they could examine emerging problems in a broader decision-making and action space. The plans and proposals presented publicly were born out of personal experiences, individual motivations, and emerged as a communal experience.

As a closing event, the participants are planning a meeting in Sitke in early April, where students and owners can discuss further collaboration and potential continuation of the project.



Participating students:

Bettina Gréta Bali, Enikő Balogh, Viktor Bera, Ajsa Ilona Éles, Hanna Galgon, Luca Gátos, Áron Gergely, Gergő Bálint Kaposi, Fanni Kecskés, Anna Flóra Kiss, Csenge Lázár, Sára Lelkes, Zsombor Nyuli, Adél Pribelszki-Balatincz, Dániel György Simon, Márton Szabó, Nikolett Tóth, Luca Wéber.


Invited speakers:

Gyarmati Judit (Waldorf teacher), Gábor Nagy (gardening teacher), György Kaucsek (psychologist, ergonómist), Balázs Fekete (economist). 

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This year’s winner of the Elizabeth A-i-R international photography residency programme has been selected, and will be enjoying the hospitality of Erzsébetváros and MOME. Mexican photographer Alejandra Gonzales Aragon works with various mediums, chiefly video, sound, photos, and found pictures, and is also interested in performative exercises. Her main focuses include gender issues, as well as intersections of home and identity. Launched jointly by Budapest Erzsébetváros and MOME Photography in 2022, the programme this year received nearly 60 entries from 60 countries over 5 continents.

Winning projects include a hearing aid doubling as jewellery, a narrative video game, multimedia visuals, and several revitalisation projects. The certificates were presented personally by the eponym of the scholarship, world-renowned product designer and MOME Professor Emeritus Stefan Lengyel at the awards ceremony, which was a great honour to both the scholarship recipients and the university staff. The sixteen students will receive the scholarship for a period of 5 months to work on further elaborating their concepts.

This year, the department successfully participated as an exhibitor at the well-known Swedish design fair in February, where the works of undergraduate and master's students were presented
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