Interview with Péter Bordás, the lead architect designer of BORD Architect Studio



It’s no exaggeration to say that the new Debrecen, the modern face of the city, was shaped by the hands of the BORD Architects Studio. The Mercure Debrecen is a completely new idea, sight, and splash of color in a very old street. What was the concept?


Our concept was to create the hotel as a part of the existing urban fabric, among the existing buildings, in such a way that, taking into account its features, we reconsidered them somewhat. Based on this, it was an important aspect to expand the narrow street into a space, and the benefits of this could be enjoyed not only by hotel guests, but also by passers-by. Accordingly, we created an entrance bay, which also accommodates public traffic areas. In line with this idea, we also found it important to keep the ground floor section transparent – the visitor should not bump into opaque walls, but create spacious, airy, passable spaces: the externals should coexist organically and harmoniously with the internal ones.

Earlier, you stated that yourself and your colleagues are more engineers than artists. From the outside, the new hotel does not show anything exaggerated, nothing unconventional, nothing surreal. What is the current trend in the construction of accommodation?


As architects, we see that the engineering approach is more common, but at the same time we aim to create buildings with an inspiring, unique feel that make sense, function well and are sustainable. This includes both approaches. We want to avoid unnecessary frills and “powdering”, but it is also important to give the building character. In the case of the hotel, this is provided – among other things – by the design of the spaces, and in the facade lighting, it was also a consideration to give the building a dynamic appearance. We do not work based on trends, this does not influence the design, rather we want to capture and convey a mood, so the triad of intuition-impression-understanding is what we start from. It is important to get to know the environment, to know the client’s needs, and also to pay attention to what the end users of the building expect, what more the building can give them. The current trend is to create thematic hotels, but the interior design was not designed by us, that’s the work of Krisztina Fülöp (KOMP Design).

Anyone who used to walk along Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Street would hardly have thought that a four-story, 155-room hotel could fit here. It’s as if something huge has been squeezed into a small space. What were the biggest challenges from an architectural point of view?


As we have talked about already, during the planning process the challenges of the area were mainly to expand the space. The closed row installation between existing buildings always hides both design and execution challenges. According to this, part of the building was conceived as an extension of the street. Making sure that neither in terms of hotel functions, nor in terms of the streetscape, it behaves in a way that does not reach its surroundings, but it can function as an integral part of them in accordance with both aspects. It was also an important issue to be able to bring such a large mass of built-up area to its final shape in an exciting way – a good example is the perforated slab closure above the ground floor, which was designed to ensure that the ground floor areas could remain vertically likable. Last but not least, it was important that the facade communicates in both directions (The building fits organically into the fabric to such an extent that it communicates not only towards Bajcsy-Zsilinszky utca, but also towards the inner part of the block. It has a full facade towards the block, and the two connects public space with a passage), representing its function/purpose with similar architectural elements.

In addition to modernity and comfort, the Accor group insists worldwide that local roots are represented in its accommodations. How does this manifest in the case of Mercure Debrecen?


This is most evident in the interior design based on the Debrecen Flower Carnival, which is being held for the 56th time this year. So we can definitely talk about a local tradition. The theme of the carnival is most visible in the design of the rooms and common spaces – it is echoed on the walls and furnishings as well as in the colors used. During this, the local artist Gabriella Nagy dreamed up a flower-themed world in her pictures, which were used to create printed wallpapers that decorate the walls behind the headboards of the rooms. In addition, many other works by her have been placed in public areas, as well as ceramics by other contemporary Hungarian industrial artists.

Some kind of airiness is always smuggled into large, seemingly robust buildings – can you tell us what ideas, solutions and techniques are serving this purpose?


The feeling of airiness comes from the building’s façade and mass design at the same time. The basic goal is that the combination of these add depth to the boundary line of the structure. Buildings must not create a feeling of impenetrability in the viewer, it must be seen as well as guessed that new spaces are unfolding behind the surfaces.