In 1907, the Budapest Metropolitan Government took over operation of the Budapest Municipal Zoo and Botanical Gardens that had been opened in 1866, and decided to have it reconstructed in that same year. At the suggestion of one member of the construction committee, Kornél Neuschloss, they commissioned two architects early in their careers, Károly Kós and Dezső Zrumeczky, to design and supervise the construction of a significant portion of the zoo buildings. Sixteen pavilions were constructed according to the designs of Kós and Zrumeczky, and they also designed smaller buildings, trash carts, trash bins, and weather boxes. The zoo’s gate structure as well as the Pachyderm House were built according to the designs of Kornél Neuschloss, and the Palm House according to those of Gyula Végh, Keresztély Ilsemann, and Károly Räde. The Owl House was originally constructed according to the designs of Antal Szkalnitzky and Henrik Koch in 1886, but was then demolished during the remodeling and was reconstructed according to the designs of Kós and Zrumeczky. 

The landscaping of the zoo took place under the direction of Gyula Végh based to the most up-to-date zoological considerations, and the yards for the animals were enclosed naturally (using ditches and artificial rocks) in accordance with this. The final site plan was completed in 1909.

The majority of the buildings were built in 1910, after which Kós dissolved his contract and entrusted the remaining work to Zrumeczky. The Budapest Municipal Zoo and Botanical Gardens had its ceremonial opening on the 20th of May 1912. The buildings linked to the names of the two designers primarily drew upon Székely vernacular architecture, and thereby they created a kind of open-air museum for vernacular architecture in the capital.

In the interwar period, the majority of the animal houses were modernized. For example, the hippopotamuses got a new, larger pond and the Monkey House was expanded. The Second World War caused great damage to the zoo, the majority of the animals died, and several buildings burned down. New buildings replaced these in the 1950s and then in the 1970s in accordance with the architectural styles of those eras.

During the comprehensive reconstruction begun in the 1990s, the zoo buildings were not only renovated, but several buildings demolished after the war were rebuilt based on the original designs that had fortunately been preserved. Thus, the Poultry Run, Norwegian House, Crocodile House, Deer House, Buffalo and Bison House, Giraffe and Zebra House, and the Dairy contribute to the appearance of the zoo today in their reconstructed forms, reflecting for the most part the conditions of 1912.

The buildings of the zoo designed by Károly Kós and Dezső Zrumeczky:

Bird House

Bison and Buffalo House

Farmyard and Poultry Run

Ostrich House

Squirrel House

Norwegian House

House of Large Carnivores

Monkey House

Pheasant House

Deer House

Crocodile House

Castle Ruins

Giraffe and Zebra House

House of Small Rodents

Dairy Canteen

Unrealised Projects


Lendl Adolf: Az új állatkert. In: Magyar Építőművészet VII./6. 1909 (1–16.)

Lendl Adolf: Milyen lesz az állatkertünk. In: Fővárosi Közlöny, 1909. május 18.

Györgyi Dénes: Az állatkertről. In: Magyar Építőművészet, IV./10-12. 1912 (1–44.)

Lampert Rózsa: A Fővárosi Állat- és Növénykert Műemléki felújítása. In: Műemlékvédelem 43. évf. 5. sz. 1999 (278– 285.)

Gall, Anthony: Kós Károly műhelye – tanulmány és adattár. Mundus Magyar Egyetemi Kiadó, Budapest, 2002 (146151) [1909-1]

Hídvégi Violetta: Kisvárosból nagyvárosba. Egy helyszínen 141 éve: Fővárosi Állat-és Növénykert. In: Budapest 30. évf. 8. sz. 2007. augusztus. (16–19.)

Perczel Olivér: A budapesti Állatkert építésének története. In: Napkeletről jöttem, nagy palotás rakott városba kerültem. Fabó Beáta–Anthony Gall: Kós Károly világa 1907–1914. Budapest Főváros Levéltára, Budapest, 2014 (71–86.)

Egy kis erdélyi levegő a fővárosban. In: Napkeletről jöttem, nagy palotás rakott városba kerültem. Fabó Beáta–Anthony Gall: Kós Károly világa 19071914. Budapest Főváros Levéltára, Budapest, 2014 (8791.)

Date of planning
1908 - 1912.05.20
Date of construction
1908 - 1912.05.20
Budapest XIV. Városliget, Állatkerti körút
Budapest Székesfővárosi Tanács
Zrumeczky Dezső, Végh Gyula, Neuschloss Kornél
Peterek és Wagner; Müller Ernő; Tabermann Gusztáv utóda; Fritsch Emil cég; Vasgerendákat árusító Rt.; Wellisch Arnold; ; Schwab Gyula; Kressalek Béla; Márkus Lajos; Glatz András; Forgó és Tsa Cég; Majoros Mayböhm Károly; Jungfer
Building type
cultural building
Building status