Cast-in-situ on Monkey Island

A series of concrete structures transforms an abandoned iron ore mine into an attractive cultural area.

Photo: János László

Photo: János László

Photo: Klára Lovas

Photo: Klára Lovas

When we speak about Monkey Island, not many people will think about an island in Europe, and even less about one in Central Europe. However, in the north-east region of Hungary, not far from the Slovakian border, a former iron ore mine is named after an ape-like creature that lived here some ten million years before. More than half a century ago, in 1965, a geologist found a fragment of a jawbone from the Miocene epoch in the iron ore mine of Rudabánya. The newly discovered hominid, Rudapithecus hungaricus, was partly named after the village.

For centuries, iron ore provided work and prosperity in this relatively remote region. But since the closure of the mine in the mid-1980’s, the area’s economy declined rapidly. Over time the pit filled with water, and today is one of the deepest bodies of standing water in Hungary, with a depth of around 80 meters, and is used by both amateur and professional divers.

The complete article is published in Summer issue of Piranesi No. 38, Summer 2016, Vol. 24.

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Project Data

Project name
Rudapithecus Spectacle of Monkey Island – protective building with visitor centre and educational trail

Design company
Narmer Architecture Studio Budapest

Leading designer
Zsolt Vasáros

Collaborating architects
Narmer Architecture Studio – Emőke Bandur-Juhász, Ágnes Eiszrich, Anna Kőnig, Zsolt Megyesi, Gábor Nagy, Áron Sasvári, Anikó Somlai, Bence Török
BORSOD2050 project, Doctoral School of Architecture at BME – Gabriella Antal, Veronika Borzsák, Tibor Tánczos, Piroska Varga

Excavation leader, professional concept
László Kordos

Rudabánya Önkormányzata – Szobota Lajos polgármester, Dr. Sallai Árpád címzetes főjegyző / Municipality of Rudabánya – Lajos Szobota Mayor, Árpád Sallai Phd. honorary chief notary

1548 m2

Year of design

Year of construction

Structural engineering
Norbert Blasius (X-pol Kft); Olivér Kovács, János Szendefy (Eferte Kft)

Building engineering
Csaba Makáry, Tamás Mottl (Agorex Kft)

Building electricity
Ilona Nyári (Libella Lux Kft.); András Peták (VA-IQ Kft)

Concrete technology
Péter István Varga (VPI Stúdió Kft)