synlab laboratory

Extreme technology under the hood

Synlab laboratory

Client: Budapesti Szabadkikötő Logisztikai Zrt.

Size: 9500 m2

Location: Budapest

Completion: 2017

Architect: Csaba Livják

Certifications: BREEAM

Services: , ,

Sectors: , ,

The Synlab laboratory is the largest medical laboratory in Central and Eastern Europe, designed using the BIM method with extremely complex and stringent requirements. By converting and extending the neoclassical main building of the former Hungarian Royal Budapest Customs Free Port in the area of the free port of Csepel, the client wanted to create an office and industrial building that meets contemporary needs.

A régi és az új irodaépület kapcsolata kelet felől.

The extension of a classic building block is an exciting architectural challenge.

Modern building in a century-old industrial environment

The Royal Hungarian Budapest Customs Free Port opened in 1928 after nine years of planning and construction. When it opened, it was one of the most modern and the second largest port on the Danube. The 1000×150 m basin of the duty-free port was connected to the Great Danube. The 44-metre high grain warehouse with a capacity of 35 000 tonnes stands on the shore of the bay, surrounded by railway tracks, and the loading halls on the shore also allowed duty-free free storage.

Architectural challenges

Three main aspects had to be considered when designing the building. Firstly, the fit between the almost 100-year-old administrative building and the new block had to be resolved. Secondly, the building is adjacent to industrial sidings and container yards in use, which is an important consideration for tenants. Thirdly, the building complex is located next to the main entrance to the entire industrial complex and thus has a representative role.

The complex is located at the eastern end of the duty-free bay.


The massing of the new wing is a natural continuation of the old one, but its use of materials is distinctly different. The rhythm of the facade cladding panels refers to the containers in the immediate vicinity. The enclosed, block-like appearance of the building provides protection from the hustle and bustle of the harbour. Approaching from the main entrance to the harbour, the new wing emerges in a flow from behind the classical block of the old building, forming a natural transition between the industrial world of the harbour and the urban scale of the main building.

Handling the details

A striking feature of the house is the main entrance, where a stone-clad gateway element forms a transition between the old plastered facade and the new metal panels. This not only provides an elegant link between the two wings, but also creates a unique element that defines the character of the whole complex. The metal and glass are organically integrated into the southern facade of the original building, while the main entrance is echoed in the design of the western facade of the new wing.

Design of complex systems using BIM

Engineering challenge

The most exciting challenge was that the tenant of the building, Synlab laboratory, had some unusual requirements. The building was to house the largest medical diagnostic laboratory in Central and Eastern Europe. Accordingly, more than 30 different types of laboratories were installed, with some 400 km of piping above the suspended ceiling and machinery to handle sixteen different medical gases, four types of water and seven ventilation systems.

Synlab laboratory BIM model

Meeting the special engineering needs of the design was a man-testing task. It became obvious to us that we had to work in a common data environment with the various engineers when we had to correct 10.2 million clashes in the initial phase of the design.

We had to handle 10.2 million collisions before the CDE environment was implemented.

Planning in a closed BIM system saves a lot of time for a task of this complexity. Engineers from different disciplines can make decisions based on up-to-date knowledge of each other’s work. BuildEXT effectively manages communication between partners and the resulting building information model is used to support construction.

The BIM workflow is essential to solve complex engineering problems effectively.

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The aesthetics of orderliness

The Synlab laboratory presented us with a unique architectural and engineering challenge. The relationship between the old and the new is a noble task in itself and was further enriched by a set of unconventional technical requirements. This building combines technical knowledge, systems thinking and a measured architectural attitude of which BuildEXT is justly proud.

Synlab laboratory

Synlab laboratory


Architect: Csaba Livják


Photo & CGI
BuildEXT, Magyar Műszaki és Közlekedési Múzeum, BSZL Zrt.

Csaba Livjak

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Csaba Livjak

CEO, Founder

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