Special K is an abandoned power plant control room in Hungary. The power plant was initially coal-fired, which were progressively replaced in the 1970s as natural gas became the fuel of choice. By the 1980s all coal-powered steam generation turbines had been replaced with more efficient modern gas turbines.
Built in the 1920s, the control room is the certainly one of the most impressive examples of Art Deco industrial architecture in the world. At the time of construction, it was the largest and most advanced electrical generation power plant in the world. The control room was designed by two prominent Hungarian architects, as a tribute to the power of electricity. The site is protected under Hungarian law, and cannot be demolished. Sadly, this also means that even basic forms of maintenance are prohibited and decay is beginning to overtake this majestic ruin. This power plant continued to provide electricity to a large area of Hungary until the mid-2000s. The site is now under private ownership, with minor electricity generation during the winter months inside the adjacent buildings.
The control room is oval in shape, spectacularly lit by natural light pouring in from the Art Deco skylight. Dramatic light rays tracked across the room as we spent several hours inside Special K. Viewed from certain angles, the core of the skylight is reminiscent of a large all-seeing eye staring down at you. Levers, valves, switches, knobs and dials line all the wall panels. Large sweeping, crescent-shaped control panels encircle one side of the room. Outlines on the floor can be seen where the counterpart control panel would have encircled the opposite site of the oval room. Walls and control panels are a striking green metal. A curious concrete bunker sits to one side of the control room, with a thick re-reinforced steel door and a single slit-like window. This was a bomb shelter to protect employees from bombing strikes during the Second World War.
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