The Bencés Forest School, which provides an outlook from the frameworks of traditional education and was finished in the summer of 2013, was created by the renovation and expansion of a historic building. Design was based on an accurate and economical project. The existing traditional building remained almost intact. It was extended with perforated facades and covered and open public spaces surrounded by wooden lamellas. In the courtyard, a public space with a tatami-like surface was built. The philosophy of the project is a kind of search for balance between old and new. Its architectural toolbox was created by adding the "least" in a natural way, rather than using a reductive minimalist approach.
There are two big temptations when augmenting old buildings. The half-hearted architect tries to create something identical to the original one, and this is inconvenient not only due to the missed opportunity, but also because due to the new materials and techniques, the end result will be rarely similar to the old construction. Other designers want to create something unconventional, which may become everlasting, but it often turns to a self-contained individuality. The balance between the two is presented by this forest school designed from a manorial building. Here, the new wing follows the old wing in its spirit and form; however, the new wooden, lamellar wing does not pretend that the past 100 years have never happened. It is traditional and contemporary at the same time, but with its pavilion-like appearance, it also bears the signs of minimalism. Moreover, it would not be surprising if somebody would say that a Japanese architect is behind all this." (index)