National Athletics Centre: the crown of the queen of sports

For nine days the whole world could admire the grand sports facility designed by Marcel Ferencz, who is a regular member of HAA. 
The eyes of one billion people around the world were fixed on the television screens, and through them on Budapest. The World Athletics Championships are considered the third largest sporting event, and accordingly there was a huge interest in it. And what hosted this gigantic event was none other than the National Athletics Centre designed by a Hungarian academician, Marcel Ferencz, who recently said about the project: "A work of this scale was preceded by a nearly twenty-year planning process. You had to prepare for it professionally, you had to get to know sports well, but you also had to understand the large urban architectural connections and feel the movement of social forces in order for the building to meet all expectations. In other words, it is not just a building, but a facility! An independent entity, like a city within a city. During the planning of the Danube Arena, I experienced for the first time how complex such a task is, which was followed by the Museum of Ethnography, which also faced huge challenges. These have already provided me with so much experience that I was able to focus on two very simple foundations, on the basis of which perhaps success became possible. One of these principles was that the building should have a story. There must be an idea behind it that is decisive and comprehensible to everyone from the birth of the building to its afterlife following its main function. This shows direction all along. It's a bit like a conductor for an orchestra. Here I am not referring to a person, but to the idea that guides and accompanies the creative process. This idea became that with this building we should pay tribute to the queen of sports, athletics, which since ancient times has been able to show the best, the most perfect through the competition of athletes. Based on this idea, I formulated the vision of a crown with a crystal structure based on the rules of Antique editing, and this is how the stadium was embodied as the Crown of the Queen of Sports. The symbolism of the royal jewel is complemented by the scepter-shaped bridge that connects Ferencváros with Eszák-Csepel. The other very important foundation during the planning was the idea of the building's subsequent reuse and alternative operation and the creation of the image of the open arena, so the facility undergoing a change of function is to be useful not only for professional athletes, but also for the civilian population after the world competition."
Marcel Ferencz also pointed out: „Since I was born, I have had the need to try to formulate the answer to the question that arises in every human being, why we were born as humans and what our job is on Earth. Reflecting on these, a person formulates goals for himself. Every man must climb his inner Olympus. From a young age I wanted to reach as high as possible, in the noble sense of the word, and show something that would satisfy the Creator. I am always excited by the dialogue between the creative person and the spirit world. Despite the fact that I always paid attention to these inner voices, it was a very long and bumpy road leading me to formulate and then implement my specific goals. The first twenty years of my career were full of failures. At that time Antal Plesz, the late member of the Hungarian Academy of Arts, constantly urged patience. He suggested that I should not give up, that I should continue this internal dialogue, because it would lead me to the noblest path.
He said that through your buildings you will become human, and when you become human, then you will be able to create real value. I owe a debt of gratitude to my father, István Ferencz too, who has been my greatest example since birth."
He also emphasized: „These facilities are naturally made in teamwork. In my own architecture office alone at least twenty excellent designers worked on the plan, without whom this project would not have been possible. Without György Détári, for example, the internal functioning of this building would certainly have turned out differently. I would like to single out László Szántó, who was the designer of the detailed development of the supporting structure and who realized the architectural vision with unwavering dedication, so without him neither this work nor our two previous buildings, the Danube Arena and the Museum of Ethnography could have been realized. László Szántó created a masterpiece in covering the space of the stadium, where the main architectural aspect was the expectation of the discus geometry being as flat as possible. The building can be classified as one of the top four stadiums in Europe in terms of its space coverage with a tensioned cable structure, but it is also among the top ten sports facilities worldwide. In total, we have to praise and commend the work of approximately five hundred engineers for the entire project. The construction process was coordinated by a team of about a hundred people. The contractor, the consortium of ZÁÉV and Hungarian Builders added an astonishing quality and amount of work to the implementation in three years, with its staff of 2,000 people and its highly trained management team under the direction of Péter Schriffert. The excellent work of the Hungarian Athletics Association, who accompanied the entire process throughout, which was very necessary in terms of guaranteeing success and faultless operation, deserves praise. The dedicated professional work of Miklós Gyulai and Márton Gyulai was essential for success. In the last year the Organizing Committee of the event did everything to prepare the facility so that it would be in perfect condition for the World Championship. Ádám Schmidt, the chairman of the Board for the Organization and Conduct of the World Championship, and the state secretary responsible for sports at the Ministry of National Defense, was entrusted by the government with the organization and conduct of the great event, and made the event a success by doing extraordinary work throughout and earning international recognition. In cooperation with Balázs Németh, who was also doing outstanding work as the CEO of Budapest 2023 Nonprofit Zrt., the organizer of the Budapest World Athletics Championships, and who was in charge of the preparation and management of the event. Thanks are also due to Balázs Fürjes, co-chairman of the 2023 World Athletics Championships Organizing and Conducting Board, who participated in all decisions related to strategic elements as their controller, both during planning and during the successful tender period for the right to host the event."
And he said about the future of the atletics centre: "The building is to be transformed. The upper bleachers, a rented, temporary structure with twenty thousand seats, is to be completely removed at the end of the event. In the space freed up in this way, the urban sports ring that will determine the afterlife of the building will be created with an area of two hectares and plenty of sports elements, which will serve the general public in the future. Of course, the lower stand with fifteen thousand people will remain, which will continue to be part of professional sports life. This urban sports ring will therefore be created as a space for mass sports. It will have a wonderful panorama, surrounded by a ten-hectare sports park, where anyone can come for sports, recreation, rest, or even students, to learn about the surrounding university town areas, or simply recharge their batteries. Various strength building elements will be placed, but you can also run and roller skate here. A buffet and a cafe will be available to visitors. Events and weddings can also be organized on site. The area will be open day and night, in a guarded and safe manner, and since the final covering will remain on the building, it will be possible to play sports and relax in conditions completely protected from the weather. I secretly believe that, in addition to all this, this will be a real base for the domestic athletics world, with the fact that in this world's first open arena, the coexistence, continuous connection and communication of professional sports life and mass sports can be realized."
September 2, 2023