ArchitectsGyőző Wittinger
Zoltán Páricsy
Teréz Zwickl
Architect assistantOrsolya Jáger-Lőrincz
VisualizationBence N. Krajnyák

We are happy to announce the Two Tower project has won a second place on the Container City international architectural competition by UNI.

„Words create a bridge between two people”

(by LGT, a Hungarian rock band)

Since time immemorial people fantasize about towers and bridges. Even for tourists these two are popular destinations. Who did not muse about it as a child to live in a tower? There is no need to make mention of the dwelling towers built in the medieval Italian towns, the donjons of the castles, the rope bridges swaying over mountain rivers running at a breath-taking speed in the ravines. All these feeds one’s imagination, awaken a desire for adventures. This is why, among others, we wanted to combine these architectural elements in order to comply with the ideas (which we think are exemplary for us too) of the project brief: usefulness, practicability, minimisation of the ecological footprint, and help for students and young people at the beginning of their careers to get a quality home. Thus, romance and realism, adventure and safety, imagination and real life can meet and interweave into a colourful fabric.

Jenga, the popular game, has also given inspiration to the basic concept of our design. (In this game you are supposed to pull out individual blocks from a solid tower of blocks in a way that the other blocks remain in place.) Of course, it is not at all about copying the rules of the game, but the placement of our container blocks reminds us to a certain extent to the jenga tower from which most of the blocks have already been pulled out.

In one unit we place two „towers” one beside the other – the location we think could be a university campus. We also have a concrete idea about these two towers to be built in the university town of Miskolc, Hungary. The arrangement of one of the two is a rotated and somewhat mirrored image of the other. Both towers stand on two legs, i. e. on two long units (40’x8’x8’6”), The long containers of the upper floor are placed at a right angle in relation to the containers below. The shape of the building is a regular cube, which is one of the perfect forms. On the top of the ground level blocks there opens a platform to the first-floor units each. But these platforms are divided into two-by-two short (20’x8’x8’6”) containers that are rotated by 15′ in the coordinate system. Part of the platforms and the roof of the entire building are planted with greenery in order to give back to the territory at least a part what we have taken away with the construction. Due to the fact that we wanted to reduce the number of the stairs and thus the volume of the material to be built in, we resorted to the well-known method of splitting the levels: one of the two „diagonal” short containers „hovers” over the ground floor block. Its floor level is half a level higher, therefore for example the lower tower is just one and half levels high.

The architectural concept, that I detailed above, took some time to take shape. Having more or less devised the internal arrangement of the individual containers, we started to put the blocks one on top of the other. At the beginning we stuck to the perpendicular structure, thus raising the hight of the building, later we divided it into two, creating two towers. Later on, we started to turn certain blocks outwards from the rigorous orthogonal coordinate system, and in the end the two towers got a 15” twist in relation to each another. The overhanging units jut out from the perpendicular system in the concrete sense of the word: as they lie athwart on the base units, they extend beyond those units like consoles, in both directions. A bridge made of steel joins the units (which stand in different degrees to one another) with one another and the steel stairs which provide for the vertical movement in the building.

We gave some thought to the environment-friendly transport of the inhabitants: on the ground floor, in the covered, „rain-free” zone which functions as a platform, we set up bicycle storage places. We sought to arrange the windows and platform doors of the units in a way that we can reduce to a minimum the transparency between the individual units, in order to protect the privacy of the inhabitants. We also thought that the internal atrium would be more friendly if we planted a couple of trees on the uncovered, open territory.

For the internal side of the containers and despite the confined spatial conditions we planned to install thin but high-quality insulation, in a way not to reduce the liveable surface of the floor area. The facade is made up of the original but painted walls of the containers, the living units have big windows or French balconies. According to our plans the two towers can provide permanent homes or lodging to 30+20 people.

If we take the two buildings as one unit, we can see that the exterior walls are more closed in all directions, there are fewer openings on them. This does not mean, however, seclusion from the outside world, since in principle the ground level is accessible from all directions. At the same time, the interior facades are more open, the towers can live their own private lives in pairs. We fancy that the two towers live in a strong communal spirit, in which the inhabitants know and help one another. They may build bridges – in the abstract sense of the word – among themselves, and also in the concrete sense – they can go and see one another on the above-mentioned steel bridges, which join the containers of the two towers together on each level.