Kosmiczna Housing

The characteristic feature of the Giszowiec district as presented on old background maps, is the detached building development typology, being the consequence of detached housing development. Typically, the buildings have been placed along the irregular borders of the individual sectors, which for more than a century have been composing one of the most green housing assemblies in Katowice.

The presented proprietary solution constitutes a reminiscence of this model. The main component of the project consists of seven identical, autonomous multi-family buildings with very distinctive, cuboidal forms, which – shifted in relation to each other along the elongated axis of the plot – have been located on seven green squares, defined with soft, rounded contours. The territories between the latter ones are traced along foot paths and squares dedicated to the residents. An important element of the group is tall vegetation.

The functional structure of each of the seven repeatable structures is co-created by: the central stairwell (with a lift) integrated with the underground garage, a vestibule, a room for prams and bikes, a utility room and sixteen flats located on four floors. The whole arrangement is inscribed in a disciplined, linear geometric structure of a square projection, in which the principle of zonal shaping in functional and spatial relations of all premises plays a superior role.

Each of the six types of the flats (30-83 m2) has been defined by three zones. The first one is composed of such functions as: Entrance Hall, a Walk-In Closet, a Storage, Communication, Toilet, and the Bathroom. Together, they fulfil a function of a buffer, efficiently separating the common-access stairwell from the main zone of each of the flats, where all the private residential rooms are located. This improves the acoustic conditions and thus the comfort of the user as well as the quality of life. An equally important role in this regard is fulfilled by the loggias integrated with all the rooms, which define the third zone. From early spring until late autumn they increase the living space, creating a specific bridge between the flats and the tree crowns that fill in the space among the building structures.

Strongly integrated with the functional system of each building is the structural system, in which the key role is played by: optimized geometry of the underground garage (for 170 cars), consistently generating effective static systems of the superstructure part of the building (not exceeding 8.2 m spacing of supports). High flexibility and repeatability of the proposed solutions allows – in the case of a more detailed economic analysis – to consider the possibility of prefabricating the material structure of the buildings, at least partially.

The unambiguous and disciplined – in formal terms – spatial structure of each of the seven buildings is the result of: the precise background of the plan (which has been integrated with the rational structure of the underground garage) as well as balanced proportions and precisely defined relationships between individual elements, co-creating in each of the facilities, four identical, symmetrical and mathematically ordered façades. Each of the façades is defined by a relief ‘grating’ constructed from 28 fields whose insides have been divided into four identical vertical stripes. Two of them – the inner ones – are the windows, loggia openings respectively, or the opening of the main entrance door to the facility. The other two – the outer ones – are the zone for docking the shutters, which are strongly rooted in the functional and aesthetic models of the historic buildings of the district, allow partial or complete covering of windows and loggias. The context of the local aesthetics has also been the source for inspiration of the: coarse-grained façade plaster, brown colour and wooden window and door frames proposed in the project. An important element of the design strategy is also the concept of reduction of the plastic-form means of expression that define the dignified physicality of the group (limited to a single shape of the facility, a single geometry of the opening perforating the single form of the façade, a single colour uniting the two materials), which in a manner that is distinctive, but also sublime at the same time, should enhance the image and identity of Giszowiec.

Project: Housing development
Location: Giszowiec, Katowice, PL
Status: Competition
Prize: Honourable mention
Year: 2021
Architects: Tomasz Berezowski, Damian Radwański, Piotr Szenkowski
Collaboration: Paweł Maryńczuk