The largest indoor complex in Hungarian railway history, a system of vast covered spaces unique in Europe, the Northern Railway Maintenance and Engineering works was built between 1884 and 1886. As operation on the 22 hectare site ceased in 2009, the government offered 6.7 hectares of the area to the Opera together with the five-nave core repair complex of 22,000 square metres, named after Gustave Eiffel, two auxiliary buildings, and a complete train station.
The rehearsal, production and storage centre for the opera is being built here where the Bánffy Stage, with an auditorium with 400 seats, will be constructed to include a rehearsal stage of the same size as the stage of the Opera House and a music studio suitable for recordings. In addition to moving all of its nine production workshops, all of its sets and its costumes and props here, the institution will also create a memorial room for János Feketeházy, the designer of both this building and the Opera House’s iron skeleton.
The Eiffel Hall, which was large enough to repair up to 96 huge steam locomotives at a time, will house a restaurant (in a vintage railway car made of teak), where guests can marvel at the legendary No. 327.141 Hungarian steam locomotive in the atrium and the No. 006 “Biatorbágy” steam locomotive of the 301 series in the park. There will also be a costume rental shop and a visitor centre. The training centre for the Opera will be established here too: the Opera Studio, the Opera Music School and the Opera Ballet Institute. The production studios will also function as a practical training centre, as we would like to train future generations of professionals in the ways of theatre production ourselves. A car park with a capacity for 200 vehicles will be built next to a park of three hectares where the famous viticulturist Károly Bakonyi’s grapes will grow together with Gergely Márk’s roses. A playground will be built surrounded by the halls, which will operate in a spirit of environmental awareness.
The Eiffel Art Studios project will be completed, and the whole complex inaugurated, in the spring of 2020.