A square design with structural landscaping was created as part of the revitalization of the historic district Chwaliszewo in Poznań, implemented by a the owner of a small office building and housing cooperative. The circle made of Corten and Bangkirai natural wood is a central point of the designed square. This is an example of an open form of urban furniture – not exactly defined, leaving various possibilities for use by inhabitants and tourists. The intersection of the circle was necessary to maintain circulation spaces between the buildings and at the same time it plays the traditional function of a municipal bench. In turn, the platform enables lying, organizing picnics – treating this place like a backyard terrace, yet still in the public space.
This is an example of micro-intervention in public space – the development of a small lot which does not belong to owners of local buildings. Previously, the square was in a very bad condition and was used, above all, as an illegal parking space. The owner of a small office building and the housing community (inhabitants of the local residential building) decided to put this space in order. They invited me to this project in order to design the square, so that they could use it as common space for meetings, rest and picnicking, but also to make this space visually attractive when viewed from their windows and balconies.
In view of the grass-roots nature of the project, it was divided into several stages, so that the budget intended for the project could be spread over a period of several years. To begin with, the whole area was cleaned and a bench was built, while in the following years, plants were grown and lighting was installed. Though the project is not big, for reasons related to the budget, its implementation lasted several years.
To me this project is very special, as it represents the grass-roots initiative and was not in any way inspired by municipal authorities. The inhabitants and the owner of the office building decided to take care of this space, which, after all, did not belong and still does not belong them. But it really disturbed them that this space was neglected. They decided to invite a designer for this project, and a grass-roots initiative turned into a project which is my favourite project in my entire portfolio. It received an award for the best designed public space in Poland, from among 15 other nominated projects participating in the ”Polish Architecture XXL” contest in the year 2018. After this award, the inhabitants started to care even more for this space. They said that not only did they like to take advantage of this space but also, after it had received the award, they were proud of it. And, for a designer, this is the greatest compliment.
Project location: Chwaliszewo district, Tylne Chwaliszewo, Poznań, Poland
Design year: 2014-2018
Year Built: 2014-2018