art quarter budapest

Budapest, HU
From brewery to breeding ground for (inter-)national artistic and creative work


A former brewery is now home to an independent cultural institution. It has a workspace available for Hungarian artists and an international artist-in-residence programme. A large variety of art projects and exhibitions are realised and indoor concerts and outdoor performances. The privately-owned centre combines profit and non-profit activities to sustain itself.


Outside city centre


art quarter budapest resides in a former brewery complex. Construction of the brewery began in the 1860s by the Frohner family. In 1875, the unfinished complex was acquired by the Haggenmacher brewery. It grew into the second-largest beer producer in the country. The complex comprises several buildings, with a 50.000 m2 and 4-kilometre long cellar system. In 1933, the three largest breweries in Hungary merged into one to deal with changes in the industry caused by WWI. All production facilities moved to a different location, and the Haggenmacher brewery was turned into a storage facility. In 1948, the buildings were nationalized. At that stage, parts of the complex are still used as storage facilities; other parts are abandoned. When the complex is privatized again, Haggenmacher Courtyard Ltd. buys several buildings of the run-down brewery. In 2004, they began renovations of the listed heritage. [1;2] Nowadays, part of the complex belongs to the privately-owned cultural institution art quarter budapest. [1]

Through cultural use, art quarter budapest is functionally restoring the block of buildings to realise a creative environment for artistic work and its presentation. Through multidisciplinary art and connecting local and international artists, art quarter budapest aims to respond to social issues and create constructive dialogue between diverse artistic disciplines. [1]

The former brewery has become a place where national and international artists can work on projects, gain inspiration and showcase their work. It offers workplaces to approximately 30 Hungarian artists and an artist-in-residence programme for international artists, providing the latter with workspace and accommodation in the on-site guest apartments. A wide variety of artistic disciplines is welcomed, including music, visual arts, film, literature and performing arts. Independent art projects are initiated, often through collaborative efforts with (inter)national partners. Exhibitions and educational events are organised, both in their own gallery space, as well as in other (inter)national venues. There is an indoor concert space and an experimental sound studio on-site (Spatial Sound Institute) and outdoor performance space for music, circus events, and other performing arts. Moreover, space can be rented for professional events, like workshops and conferences. [1;2;3]


Heritage utilized
Building(s) and/or monumental structures
Cultural and Creative Industries
Community action; Creative industries; Education; Entertainment


art quarter budapest is a privately owned, independent art centre. It was founded and owned by Wolfgang Bartesch and his artistic wife, Christina. The businessman with German roots owned a car rental company on the premises of the former brewery and decided that the vast building complex could be utilized for a more societal purpose. [3;4]Activities are overseen by a board of trustees, and a small group of professional staff runs daily operations. [1;4]

The art quarter Budapest cooperated with a range of partners, including, for instance, 4DSOUND, which runs the Spatial Sound Institute, and the Visegrad Fund, which stimulates regional cooperation for creativity and innovation in the Visegrad region [1]. Volunteers are recruited to help out with, among others, the preparation of exhibitions. [1]


Governance arrangement
Led by private sector
Organisational form
Non-Profit Entity
Stakeholders involved in implementation
Private sector businesses; non-profit organisation

Business Model

At art quarter budapest, profit and non-profit activities operate side-by-side. Income is generated through organisational activities, including the rental of workspace to artists and creative companies, spaces for events, and the international residency programme. Furthermore, income is generated through hosting public events and exhibitions. [3]

The building complex is currently renovated and maintained through a combination of bank loans, revenue from organisational activities and the efforts of companies and artists working on site. [3]


Initial investment
Type of financial resources utilized
Revenue generated through organisational activities; Loans
Source of financial resources
Organisational activities; Commercial Banks
Non-financial contributions
Volunteer effort


  1. art quarter budapest, initiative website,, accessed on 21/01/2022.

  2. Crowdsourcing Heritage (n.d.), “Haggenmacher Brewery, Budafok,” Heritage Reuse – Old Buildings with New Life, by DoraM,, accessed on 21/02/2022

  3. Art is Business (2021) Nyitott sziget: Art Quarter Budapest – ahol a legfőbb érték a szabad szellem és a tolerancia, By Tóth Artin, 7th of November 2021, available (in Hungarian) on, accessed on 21/02/2022

  4. Art Portal (2019), AQB Open House: művház a város szélén, by Erdei Kriszta, 20th of May 2019, available (in Hungarian) on, accessed on 21/02/2022