MODERN TRANSFORMATIONS – every act of building is supplementary, On Tamás Tomay’s building conversions

Istvan Gyulovics DLA Thesis Summary



Building conversion is a current topic of architecture. While historic architecture treats conversion and rebuilding of older structures as evident, nowadays the fetish of newly built often shadows the value of the intervention. Utmost works of our office are also building conversions. While designing the conversion of the semi-detached house of modernist master Farkas Molnár as my masterwork, I looked at Tamás Tomay’s conversions of early modernist houses regularly for reference. This work inspired me to create a subjective selection of Tomay’s works. His works were regularly published by him or others in architectural magazines, but the documentation of his complete works are still missing.
The essay focuses on the building conversions of Tamás Tomay’s and tries to shed light on the process how each idea is transformed into architecture by him. My own series of interviews with Tamás Tomay are key references. Through the conversations, he made me understand better how and what he thinks about architecture. The essay consists of six chapters: His works are organized under six themes. In each chapter, my writing is supplemented by relevant segments of the interviews. Each chapter is concluded with the description of a selected project of Tomay’s.
The selected houses are still occupied by their original residents – for whom the conversion was designed. They understand and appreciate the intellectual surplus that makes their homes unique. Documentation of the existing buildings now, still at their original state, has hence a key importance. This essay is intended as a step towards a monography that dives more deeply into Tomay’s unique thinking which dismantles every idea into its essential parts. Because of his analytical thinking of architecture, such a monograph would surely be a valuable asset for educational purposes as well.