This new beach typology challenges economic growth based programming by refusing the municipality’s development plans, using a more-than-human lense to reconstruct the coastal wetlands of the lake.
THE LAKE IN TRANSITION investigates the struggles of the human-non-human relationship of the most biodiverse spaces, the shore zones of lakes.

szabadonbalaton x gubahámori
Budapest, Hungary
We are a team of architects, scientists, and artists working on environmental and climate adaptation in theory and practise.
Team members
Diána Berecz
Bence Fülöp
Sándor Guba
Péter Hámori
Gergely Papp
András Zlinszky
Field of work
Architecture, Ecology, Visual Art, Curating, Research
Project category
Raising awareness
Project submitted

szabadonbalaton (“free Balaton”) is a research-based ecological cultural initiative and cross-sectoral collaboration of artists and scientists hosted by PAD Foundation, with the aim to draw attention to the ecological needs and risks of Central European largest lake, Lake Balaton in Hungary. szabadonbalaton's working formats have a multidisciplinary approach, focusing not only on individual problems but also on the interrelations of various climate and ecological challenges caused by human interventions. szabadonbalaton conceptualised and co-produced the ecological cultural program series BALATORIUM for the European Capital of Culture Veszprém-Balaton 2023, involving numerous institutions, artists, scientists and experts, attracting thousands of visitors throughout 2022-2023.

GUBAHÁMORI is an architectural and urban design studio. Their work focuses on the relationship between natural and non-natural habitats. In most cases, they seek the collaboration of professionals from the natural and social sciences and the fine arts.
The studio develops comprehensive strategies to promote climate resilience in the built environment, employing a multiscalar approach from territorial to human scale objects. Their toolkit includes flexible programming, cost-effective, and passive architectural solutions with minimal technological interventions. In 2021, they were invited to the Polish Pavilion at the 17th Venice Architecture Biennale (The Sacred Species). In 2022, their Kútház adaptive reuse project was nominated for the international Piranesi Prize. In 2023, they participated in the BALATORIUM program series, focusing on the futurescapes of beach and waterfront reconstructions.

THE LAKE IN TRANSITION is an ongoing interdisciplinary research, educational, and awareness-raising project led by the ecological-cultural initiative szabadonbalaton (and PAD) and the architect duo GUBAHÁMORI located on CEE's largest lake, Balaton, Hungary.
The omnipresence of humans, extensive tourism, relentless infrastructural development, artificially regulated water levels, and the growing use of the shoreline and surrounding land pose threats to the ecosystems, especially the transition zone of lake Balaton, which harbours the richest biodiversity.
The teams joined forces to rethink the issues of ‘shore squeeze’, with a particular focus on the most heavily used spaces: the beaches.
GUBAHÁMORI incorporated their architectural and urban design proposal for a new beach typology, emphasising a land-use regeneration strategy that considers all actors in the transition zone beyond humans. The concept challenges the municipality's extensive built development plans, reducing their scale, utility demands, and spatial-urban arrangements. It allocates space for natural habitats to foster coexistence between the built and non-built environment.
szabadonbalaton initiated research-based ecological cultural projects in order to raise public awareness and support decision-making related to the long-term ecological, socio-economic sustainability Balaton. They organised the program series BALATORIUM in the framework of ECoC VEB2023, hosted meetups, artist residency programs, performative walks, public art events, university courses, and communication campaigns on key ecological themes. It featured an ecological and cultural festival, with the shorezone theme remaining one of the key topics.
The initiative will continue as the team participates in public forums and offers professional support for municipalities, ensuring that socio-ecological aspects are considered in regional development plans. The ultimate goal is to implement a multipurpose shore rehabilitation project.


szabadonbalaton x gubahámori
szabadonbalaton x gubahámori
szabadonbalaton (“free Balaton”) is a research-based ecological cultural initiative and cross-sectoral collaboration of artists and scientists hosted by PAD Foundation, with the aim to draw …

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