When Müpa Budapest, Hungary and its capital's new cultural hub, opened in 2005, it was built to represent more than 100 years of Hungarian cultural history. As a conglomeration of cultural venues, the building has no precedent in 20th century Hungarian architecture and has no peers in the whole of Central Europe.
The creators of this ambitious project, the Trigránit Development Corporation, prime contractor Arcadom Construction and the Zoboki, Demeter and Partners Architectural Office, were driven by the desire to create a new European cultural citadel as part of the new Millennium City Centre complex along the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Danube waterfront. The result is a facility whose construction quality, appearance, functionality and 21st century technological infrastructure makes it ideally suited to productions of the highest standard. The building is also highly versatile and equipped to host performances of any genre and almost any scale.
The three institutions housed in the building – the Béla Bartók National Concert Hall at its core, the Ludwig Museum nearest the Danube and the Festival Theatre on the far side – were all constructed in parallel over a period of 28 months as part of a highly sophisticated and carefully coordinated project.
It is telling that the structure and outside appearance of the building are determined by its inner functions. The primary cultural purpose of Müpa Budapest is to fill a void in Hungarian culture, yet its world-class technical features make it an outstanding work of Hungarian and international architecture. It is on this basis that the Müpa Budapest building won the FIABCI Prix d’Excellence in 2006 – often referred to as "the Oscars of architecture and real estate development" – in the "specialised" category for buildings offering public services, such as educational institutions, libraries and airports. This form of “cultural shopping centre”, unique in Hungary and throughout Europe, has been a hit not only with critics, but also with the public – the Müpa Budapest also won the FIABCI audience award in 2007.
There are few cultural institutions in Europe boasting the ISO quality seal. Müpa Budapest was granted ISO 9001:2000 certification in 2006.