The historic journey starts in 1871 when an urban planning tender was issued in Budapest for the buildings of the Várkert (Castle Garden) area. This was the first moment when the idea of constructing a new water house was raised, a building that could operate the water management and supply system of the entire royal palace. The design and implementation of the building thus became connected to the construction of the Várkert Bazár (Castle Garden Bazaar) and the renewal of the Castle Gardens. Miklós Ybl architect had been assigned to create the final designs, and besides his incredibly rich workmanship the book also discusses his adventurous life. However, it is not only the designer, who had a really exciting life, but the building itself, which started its regular operation in 1877.
The building, at the beginnings referred to as an “engine house kiosk”, then as “water pump machine house” or “Maschinenhaus”, was in reality an industrial building concealed in a Neo-Renaissance jewel box and witnessed peaceful and stormier historic periods alike. In 1905 a new chapter stared in the life of the building, as since it was no longer able to meet the industrial and technological requirements of the age as a water house, it was transformed into a café; more precisely, the kiosk area that had already been used as a café was extended further on. Following the reconstruction works not only new functions, but a new name was also added to the building: it became an important and really well-known location of Budapest under the name of Várkert Kioszk (Castle Garden Kiosk). Legendary tenants and operators alternated, one after the other, while the café remained to be a beloved meeting point of famous clients, bohemian artists, politicians, public figures, youth and elderly alike, for decades. In the course of the siege of Buda in 1944-45 the Water House was severely damaged, but fortunately it was not demolished completely.
Let us take a huge leap in time into 2016, when the building, which in the meantime was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list, but still managed in an unworthy manner, came into the possession of Pallas Athéné Foundations. Works targeting the complete reconstruction and functional transformation of the building lasted until May 2018. The building that has been reconstructed with exquisite care and preciseness, and thus managed to retain its historic heritage has been welcoming its visitors since then as Ybl Buda Creative House in all its current glory. It has quickly become popular among the art lovers and patrons of Budapest since its “rebirth”, and has already housed various exciting, interesting and unique exhibitions, book launches, lectures and other events and program series.
With its marvellous panoramic view of the River Danube and the Buda side, the building, exhibition halls and restaurant of the Ybl Buda Creative House embodies a beloved and bustling meeting point of Budapest; and this festive edition picture album introducing the house itself is an excellent summary of its history and ethos.