In the cathedral, built at the dawn of Modernism, there is a mixture of the styles, structures and building technologies of the architecture of the past and of the modern age. The architectural concept attempts to clarify the relationship between the original building and the superimposed layers of later ages. Instead of restoring the building to its original state, we treated it and regarded it with a modern eye and state-of-the-art knowledge. As contemporary architects, we viewed the project as an ongoing creation: to the layers of different ages, we added the present as a rightful equal. As a result, the parts that already existed have a gentle, progressive feel, while the completely new elements have a definitely contemporary, yet still pliable tone. The newly designed visitor centre, located in front of the church, below the stairs, has a clean look, while the ceiling lighting and the light that filters in through the cathedral steps give it an airiness that befits a sacred place.
In the case of the already existing spaces, the greatest conflict to be resolved was the tension between the modern and the historical architecture, as well as their relationship to decoration. The richly adorned inner space of the cathedral stands in stark contrast to the aesthetics of classical modern architecture, which, ever since Adolf Loos, has discouraged ornamentation and sees beauty in the material itself and in the clarity of the structure. Although contemporary architecture no longer abides strictly by these principles, the adornments left behind by previous ages are alien to it. The great virtue of this refurbishment is that instead of rejecting adornment, it controls the decoration. Ornamentation appears on new objects, integrated into the material: the marble block of the altar is covered by a lace-like marble cloth with traditional folk motifs.
In other spaces, such as in the undercroft, a different solution has been chosen: the previously unused spaces are being reutilized, with new functions found for them. The pillars, arches and vaults have all been plastered and painted white. This way, the self-shadowing contrast of surfaces, edges, curves and arches prevails in a more artistic manner. The spaces in the undercroft have been fully restored to their original architectural state, forming an impressive spatial structure of cross-vaults and massive belts. Every element is created to retain the penetrating power of space. Even though the exhibition, the conference room and the columbarium follow on from one another, the unity of the space prevails, thanks to the transparent walls.