The Hungarian National Committee of ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) has awarded its annual restoration prize to the recently completed restoration of the historic, Moorish-style Rumbach Street Synagogue in Budapest. The announcement of the award, presented in April on the occasion of World Monuments Day, cited the exemplary character of the restoration, which also “enables the cultural use of its central space.”
The 2017-2019 restoration of the building entailed the conversion of the synagogue and its entire building complex into a multi-purpose arts, culture, prayer, and education center. The 3.2 billion Forint (€10 million) costs are fully funded by the Hungarian state.
The complex, dating from 1872/73 and an early work by the noted Viennese architect Otto Wagner, is expected to open officially following completion of the installation of a permanent exhibition.
The synagogue had long stood in a semi-derelict state following partial reconstruction in the late 1980s/early 1990s that was left unfinished for lack of funds.
The award announcement noted that it had been used for services until 1959, then passed into state control before being privatized in 1989. It was returned to Jewish community ownership in 2006.
We have published several progress reports on the restoration of the synagogue, with photos and eve a video of the retractable Bimah.
Each year Hungarian ICOMOS presents its prize to three restoration projects. In addition to the synagogue, prizes went to the restoration of the 18th century “captain’s house” on the grounds of the castle in Gödöllő and to that of the Budapest studio house of the sculptor Miklós Ligeti dating from 1905-06 and designed by the architects Zoltán Bálint and Lajos Jámbor.