Museum of Ethnography

cabinet of curiosities

Although the objects of our daily life can be rich in history and meaning, they rarely command our attention. The Budapest Museum of Ethnography designed by DF&A celebrates those very objects, while itself becoming a well-loved part of daily life.  According to the city’s plan, the museum was to be situated on the corner of City Park, and thus could have acted as a barrier, forcing pedestrians to walk around it or else simply give up on the park. But DF&A designed the museum to do the opposite: to invite pedestrians through it into the park.

A series of landscaped ramps guides people from the street into the park, where public spaces — a café, a performance area, outdoor seating — integrate the museum into the daily life of every citizen. And yet everyday objects contain whole worlds — that’s the point. To underline that sentiment, DF&A designed a visible storage tower called a Cabinet of Curiosities, a heightened version of the cabinets in our homes that are stuffed with treasures. From inside the museum, the Cabinet allows visitors to appreciate artifacts in their uncurated state, as a kind of beloved jumble. From outside the museum, the Cabinet of Curiosities will be visible as it extends beyond the street-side facade, both a symbol of critical inquiry and an object of curiosity itself.

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The facade continues, yet elevates, the existing urban fabric.
The public park splits and spill over the museum, giving permeability and pedestrian scale to the extensive program.
Site Plan
Atrium Interior