GREAT DESIGNS GO BEYOND
A FINE FLOOR PLAN
As the founders of Porta Architecture, we are not only bound by the years spent in the trade at each other’s side, but we also complement and support each other as friends. After earning her university degree, Orsi kicked off her career working in the field of heritage protection, and later went on to design homes in Veresegyház and the surrounding region. Andi started at a prestigious Hungarian civil engineering and building construction design firm while designing family homes as a side gig. In the years following his graduation, Tamás worked in Cyprus as an architectural designer, and has also been active in Hungary since moving home. Orsi and Tamás had already known each other by the time they started their university studies. They began working with Andi in 2015, and the idea for a joint business venture was conceived one year later.
We strive to provide the client, authorities and contractors with drawings that are not only exhaustive and accurate, but are also sufficiently detailed in all regards, and easy to work from. Meanwhile, we hold ourselves to high standards: while aiming to create buildings that stand the test of time in all respects, we also remain devoted to first-rate quality. To this end, we keep in touch with manufacturers, familiarise ourselves with the materials and structures they recommend, and we don’t stop working until every little detail is in the right place.
As a general principle, we don’t let go of clients’ hands: beyond general design duties, we offer guidance pertaining to bureaucratic issues. In addition, we are glad to undertake on-site supervision assignments to make sure the contractor adheres to the design specifications. Since our services include the issuance of energy certificates, we rely on the related experience when it comes to designing buildings. We are well aware of all design requirements and energy economics, and understand the ins and outs of the regulatory environment.
MY FAVOURITE PART OF DESIGNING IS WHEN A CLIENT TAKES A LIKING TO THE HOUSE I’VE DREAMT UP.
Throughout my entire childhood, I was surrounded by architecture and architects – no wonder I ended up choosing this profession. When not building stuff with us from Lego bricks in the weekends, my dad retreated to his study to draw up designs for family homes. So, I grew up among architect nibs, rolls of tracing paper, and pieces of Lego. I’ve never wanted to do anything else – this has been my calling since the age of about seven.
After graduation, I got a job as a designer in heritage protection, where I really learned what it means to work in a team, and got some first-hand experience about appreciating the values created by our forebearers. Following the birth of my first child, I switched to designing family homes, which put me up to challenges of a completely new sort. Before jumping into a job of designing a family home, I find it crucial to acquaint myself with the habits and everyday life of that family, because the size and relation of rooms, and the allotment of space must serve the inhabitants by all means. I firmly believe that creating well-proportioned, timeless buildings is always possible, regardless of style – to me, subtle, clear-cut shapes are more appealing, but I’m no stranger to more traditional styles either.
- I ALWAYS KICK OFF DESIGN JOBS BY… having a cup of coffee. Generally, getting up early in the morning is my way of beginning works on a new design, because that’s when I find serenity in both the house and myself.
- I CONSIDER PORTA ARCHITECTURAL SPECIAL BECAUSE… I get to work alongside some of my best friends. On the job, I can be with people who inspire me, with whom we complement each other to form a great team, and I can also rely on them to share the occasional tensions that come with this line of work.
- FIRST PLACE ON MY DESIGN WISHLIST IS… a winery, a chapel, a small port, a mountain resort, a theatre: anything, because having a glimpse into other people’s lifestyles, the tricks of other trades, the inner workings of previously unknown things is the most exciting part of this job.
I’M KEEN ON GIVING CLIENTS A HELPING HAND BY DRAWING UP A GENUINE HOME, NOT A MERE HOUSE.
Even as a kid, I loved browsing through the drawings at the town hall’s building department where my mom used to work. Since I also enjoyed creating drawings, while math and sciences were my favourite subjects, studying architecture at secondary school and later college was an inevitable choice. I’m devoted to designing real homes, not mere houses – this is why I’m keen on picking up every little morsel of information dropped by our clients, and make the best use of these.
I favour more traditional shapes and natural materials, which often leads me to rely on solutions of this kind in my designs. I believe that our homes must be capable of changing and adapting to the changes in our lives – that’s why I always find some details to alter in our own home. Sustainability, or – to put it another way – creating buildings that stand the test of time is one of my priorities. When not on the job, I prefer to spend time with my family – we love travelling, learning about other people’s culture and architecture.
- MY FAVOURITE PART OF DESIGNING IS WHEN… I try to give shape to the design programme imagined by the clients. I have a sweet spot for modelling. Unfortunately, there is rarely any time for creating models, although they allow for a far better visualisation of the building, the proportions, the spaces that one would think.
- FIRST PLACE ON MY DESIGN WISHLIST IS… a riding hall with stables. I earned my master’s degree in 2019, and my thesis project concerned designs for an equine-assisted therapy centre – it would be great to do an actual live version of that. Or a winery, where I can set my imagination free, with no neighbouring buildings, just the winery, the hillside, the rows of grapevines, and harmony with nature. A couple of years ago, I had a taste of heritage protection works when I was engaged in reconstruction plans for the castle of Eger, and I would definitely enjoy digging a little deeper into this subject.
- A THING THAT DEFINED MY WORKS SO FAR WAS… that I took a little detour to civil engineering after my college years. However, I always had architectural design assignments of various sizes, which I performed under the supervision and assistance of colleagues of my age or older. Seeing the admiration and humbleness they showed towards their profession was overwhelming. They helped me a lot in growing as an architect. I take immense pride in the fact that these former colleagues sometimes ring me up to ask for my advice.
THE FIRST THING I ASK MY CLIENTS IS TO MENTION OR SHOW ME A BUILDING THEY ADORE, AND TELL ME THE REASONS WHY.
Tamás Péter Berkes
I always ask our clients to contemplate the everyday situations and problems they seek to tackle through their new home, and I suggest them to remain open to new things during the design process. Furthermore, I try to raise questions they might not consider at all, which enables me to discover the real needs and expectations they have. These techniques give me the power to envisage a home that will meet all their desires in the long run.
I believe that architects should cope with their assignments while constantly adapting to client expectations; at the same time, I find it essential to earn their trust, and if they take a liking to the character of our previous creations, which convinces them to come to us, that’s even better.
- MY FAVOURITE PART OF DESIGNING IS WHEN… we’ve wrapped up the design programme, and I can throw myself into the actual, creative design process. This is when I draw the first sketches, and I create something from nothing.
- I ALWAYS KICK OFF DESIGN JOBS BY… laying out a roll of tracing paper to have an empty piece after my last sketches, and I make sure my favourite drawing pens haven’t dried out.
- FIRST PLACE ON MY DESIGN WISHLIST IS… a fictional building without any restrictions whatsoever. Like Chiba City’s Cheap Hotel from Neuromancer, Arkham’s Miskatonic University, or a Restaurant at the End of the Universe, because why not… Creating the designs for an imaginary building featured in a movie or piece of visual art would be an exciting challenge