using 3D modeling to renovate the hungarian state opera house

HUNGARIAN STATE opera house opens again to the public

After two years of renovation led by Hungarian practice ZDA, the neo-Renaissance Hungarian State Opera House (1884) opened to the public earlier this spring in Budapest. The architects sought to recreate the original spirit with the help of high-tech 3D modeling – a task carried out by The Greypixel in collaboration with MadeByLight.

Together, the team simulated hyper-realistic digital copies of the Opera House’s two main spaces: the auditorium and central staircase. Both are situated in a historic public section and therefore constitute a fraction of the building’s total floor area.


Hungarian State Opera House after renovation

hyper-realistic 3d modeling of auditorium and main staircase

The GreyPixel (see more here) handled 3D data collection by scanning both the auditorium and main staircase from end to end inside the Hungarian State Opera House. After processing and remodeling the scans, MadeByLight (see more here) acquired the simulated model to proceed with the lighting design.

In a very tight design and building program, which essentially meant designing during construction, these most important spaces were given priority: the auditorium is obviously the focus because it serves all the other spaces, and the main staircase became a complex problem, ‘ continues the team.

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Auditorium 3D scan

creating editable parameters to ensure optimal designs

Every parameter of the hyper-realistic 3D model was changeable, so the architects could test any changes in real-time; in other words, all surfaces, colors, and materials were editable to ensure an optimal final result. So if, for example, Gábor Zoboki, lead architect of ZDA, had asked for a slightly differently shaped wall arm or had taken out every other one, it could be done in one fell swoop.

One challenge encountered in the lighting scheme was preserving the historical ambiance with ‘modern additions.’ For one thing, it was impossible to count on the original gas burners, which gave off a dim glow, and no drawings of the original chandelier and wall sconces survived. The solution, therefore, was to install robotic lamps over the existing lighting features – a task that initially worried Ferenc Haáz, lead lighting designer of the project.

‘But the result was different: the brain erases the contemporary instruments, it sees only the chandelier, it sees the splendor. I looked around and accepted that this works unless you focus on the robotic lamp directly, you won’t notice it. Even though the technical solution is today, the overall effect is more functional, more evocative of the original atmosphere, ‘ concludes Haáz.

hungarian state opera house renovated with the help of cutting-edge 3D modeling

elevation view

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Asset – consols

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view towards the main staircase of the Hungarian State Opera House