Must-see contemporary architecture in Budapest

Where can you find the most impressive contemporary architecture in Budapest?

On my last trip to Hungary, I got to see some of the best examples of contemporary architecture in Budapest.

The city has a great mix of styles, from lavish Art Nouveau buildings to communist-era concrete blocks. The Budapest opera house and the Great Synagogue are some of the more gorgeous building in the city.

I wanted to see the newest creations in the city, fresh designs, and modern-day buildings.

So I went on a self-guided tour of contemporary architecture in Budapest and found some extraordinary buildings.

Get a map of the buildings in this guide

A selection of outstanding contemporary architecture in Budapest

The Hungary House of Music

The Hungary House of Music

This is the most amazing building I saw on my trip to Budapest and one of the most unique architectural creations I’ve seen anywhere in the world.

Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto designed an iconic building shaped like a massive mushroom in the middle of a city park.

When you approach it you’ll be walking underneath its canopy, surrounded by trees, with sunlight coming in through holes in the roof with various shapes inspired by sound waves. It creates a magical atmosphere.

The Hungary House of Music interior

The walls of the building are made of see-through glass. When you step inside, take a few moments to appreciate the beauty of the spacious entrance hall flooded with natural light.

The House of Music is a cultural venue for concerts and events with a music history museum downstairs.

I really enjoyed my visit to the museum. It has a beautifully designed interactive exhibition with a clever audio guide, that traces the history of Hungarian and European music, from old folk dances to 20th-century pop.

This video takes you on a quick 1-minute tour of this exceptional building:

Museum of Ethnography

Budapest Museum of Ethnography

Just a few minutes from the House of Music, you’ll come across another intriguing piece of contemporary architecture: The Museum of Ethnography.

There are quite a few remarkable things about this building.

It is in the peculiar shape of two massive ramps, with a great part of the museum placed underground (to help protect the items from sunlight).

On the outside, there is a green roof garden that you can visit by climbing up each of the ramps.

The design on the facade looks like pixelated embroidery made of metal… As this is an ethnographic museum, the design uses local and international folk motifs and the result is quite intriguing.

Watch this video to get a better idea of what this building looks like:

National Dance Theatre

National Dance Theatre contemporary architecture in Budapest

Inside the beautiful Millenáris Park on the Buda side of the river, you’ll come across another wonderful example of contemporary architecture in Budapest.

Budapest’s National Dance Theatre, designed by Gábor Zoboki.

An old industrial factory was renovated to meet the needs of a modern-day cultural centre.

The building looks spectacular when it’s lit up at night.

I like how the wavy lines and triangles give the building a sense of movement and almost make it look like it’s dancing!

I didn’t get a chance to see what it looks like inside when I was there, but have seen photos online and the interior should be beautiful too, so do go in if you can.

Central European University

Central European University building facade

Central European University in the city centre was designed by O’Donnell + Tuomey.

Its facade and entrance are an example of how contemporary architecture can blend in quite elegantly with its historic surroundings.

I liked the creative use of geometric shapes and playful angles that give it a nice 3D effect and a sense of dynamism.

The tall glass windows with the reflection of other buildings on the street add a certain charm to the facade.

Mupa Budapest

Mupa Budapest -  contemporary architecture in Budapest

Designed by Gábor Zoboki, this cultural centre by the river is well worth a visit, both for the architecture and the exhibitions and events taking place there.

It is home to the National Concert Hall and the excellent Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art.

Featuring a warm limestone exterior and expansive windows that let in plenty of light, the interior is well-lit and spacious.

The reflections of the building across the road create playful patterns.

Take a walk around the building to see it from all angles.

CET Building

CET Building Budapest architecture

CET is a shopping centre by the river, which also functions as a cultural centre for events and conferences.

Its pattern of glass triangular panels is very eye-catching when you stand in front of the building.

CET means whale in Hungarian. If you cross the bridge nearby, you’ll be able to see the unique shape of this building from the other side of the river, inspired by the smoothness of a whale.

The building is made up of two old renovated warehouses, converted into a contemporary building by ONL [Oosterhuis_Lénárd].

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Contemporary architecture in Budapest


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