Our office co-operated in the rejuvenation of the Basilica as John Pawson’s Hungarian partner. The extraordinarily pure program of the monks, which aims to realise the principle of St. Benedict’s Rule „ora et labora” in the church interior, almost predefined the main areas and the character of the intervention.
The most important part of the conversion was the lithurgical reinterpretation of the east-west axis. The gradation of the initiation, the rising sequence of the parts of the space, the spatial foreboding of Heaven’s coming give a new explanation to the Basilica which enriches the layers of the ages built on each other with a new – philosophical – one. This simplicity seeking design achieves amplified effect in the historical space. The historical background is not a scenery at all, more a new partner in the discourse about the medieval times of the church.
The intervention focuses on three main areas: the reinvention of the floors, the placement of the lithurgical objects and furniture so that they fit the vision of the monks and the accentuation the medieval character of the artificial lightning. The selection of materials unifies the plan while forming emphases. The onix, which runs along the main axis, materialises in the lithurgical objects as the baptism font, the altar, the lectern and the rose window. Despite the minimal intervention, the result is radically different from the 19th century interior by Ferenc Strono, and can be perceived as the contemporary continuation of the medieval church.