Volcanoes have mesmerized communities since the dawn of human civilization. Inspired by the landforms' ferocious power, Foldes Architects abstracts the spirit of a volcano in their design of the recently opened Kemenes Volcanopark Visitor Center. Fortified by cool concrete and rust-colored corten steel, the 932 square-meter facility commands a formidable profile atop the dormant Sag Hill volcano in western Hungary.
Foldes Architects distilled the shape and spirit of the volcano into an abstracted architectural volume that subtly refers to its inspiration through a subdued color and materials palette. “Instead of the straight translation of the brief, such as creating a volcano shaped museum building, we wanted to capture the true substance of the location,” says Laszlo Foldes, Chief Designer at Foldes Architects.
The €1.2 million Visitor Center’s volcanic-inspired palette consists of untreated gray concrete for flooring and walls, lava-inspired corten steel, and cool steel for the stairs and corridors. On the exterior, corten steel boxes protrude from a cool, gray façade.
Upon entering, the volcanic symbolism is immediately made apparent by the small skylight at the top that represents an “eruption point.” Rather than allowing energy to flow out, however, the skylight allows daylight to stream into the building in beams of light. The spacious facility holds a number of exhibitions that follow the lifecycle of the volcano, in addition to exhibits on other natural phenomena such as earthquakes and geysers.