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Saint Benedict Pilgrims' House, Aszófő

Saint Benedict Pilgrims’ House was built based on Pyxis Nautica’s plans in Aszófő, a quiet and charming village next to Lake Balaton. The project was commissioned by the Benedictine Abbey of Tihany, which provides pastoral care for several villages in the area, including Aszófő. The Benedictine order of Tihany already has another pilgrims’ house, named after Saint Christopher and located in the Rege courtyard next to their church in Tihany. However, that building was not large enough to accommodate the pilgrims’ groups, student groups, and large families that visit the Abbey. Therefore, the Benedictine order decided to build a new building to replace the one-time teacher’s lodge located close to the Saint Ladislaus church in Aszófő, which could not be salvaged. The new building was to be able to accommodate not only groups of pilgrims but also church camps and retreats. Its name was an obvious choice: it refers to the founder of the Benedictine order as well as the Saint Benedict Pilgrimage that has taken place every year since 2004 and also calls on Tihany.

The building is characterized both by clean and low-profile forms and a respect for tradition. With a mass form that resembles farm houses, it fits into its rural surroundings well. The two-storey building sits at the property line and has a double-pitched roof and a rectangular floor plan. The facades facing the street are all very simple, without decorations, and the house is most spectacular when seen from the yard: a wide porch runs along its southwest facade. Since the building is located in a corner of the lot, the children staying at camp here or adults cooking over a campfire have a lot of space available to them.

The nine-bedroom pilgrims’ house can accommodate a total of 50 persons and has a range of facilities to support it. Visitors enter the ground floor through a large kitchen-diner-communal space, which is very bright thanks to the enormous windows that open to the main facade and the porch. Through a glazed extension, this space stretches to the area under the roof of the porch, thus blurring the boundaries between the outside and the inside. There are also two bedrooms on this floor, one large bathroom with two showers and two toilets and a laundry room and service room, as well as an apartment designed for the teachers who accompany the groups. This apartment has a kitchenette and a bathroom.

The loft can be accessed via a robust staircase, which also presents an interesting view from the yard through its opening to the main facade. There are three smaller and three bigger bedrooms on the first floor, as well as two bathrooms with showers and four toilets. The rooms on the first floor boast huge skylights, so every room is really bright and easy to ventilate. This feature is of particular importance for the three larger rooms because these can accommodate 8 persons each. These rooms can be aired during the summer with the help of built-in, pull-down mosquito nets.

Article: Eszter Paár, Építészforum
Photo: Bálint Jaksa

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