Shortlisted in Schools and Playgrounds in 2021:
Educational pavilion with a recreational clearing on the banks of the Vistula River

The project was implemented on the basis of a competition procedure. The topic of the work was to create an educational pavilion with a clearing, associated with a place of outstanding natural value, which is the left bank of the Vistula in Warsaw. It was a continuation of the multi-stage work of making the wild bank available to the inhabitants while maintaining its landscape identity, different from the heavily transformed right bank.


The idea of the project was born while visiting the place. The direct inspiration was a postglacial stone lying on the shore in the thickets. Its form, location and symbolism gave rise to reflections, searches and references to the symbolic sphere. Erathics boulders are scattered and, in this part of Europe, they draw a map of the extent of glaciation. Their highest density occurs in the Warsaw region. They are the witnesses of natural processes, natural exhibits sharing tales about the distant places they have come from.

The form of the designed landscape follows the idea of errare. It interprets the shape of river tides and its shoals. They bring to mind the processes of displacement and migration, instilled by the form of a stone, referring, however, to a different time and spatial horizon. The paths refers to the current of the river, and the elements of land development refer to the materials collected and following its course.

The pavilion form constitutes the Erathic interpretation, giving it the rank of a sculpture that hides the caring space in its interior. The hollow interior of the stone refers to the archetype of a shelter, solid, safe, and at the same time open to a beautiful view of a clearing, and a river of flowers following the bank of the Vistula.

Natural migration landscape

The clearing on the river bank complements and continues the ideas related to movement and migration in nature. It is naturalistic space for spending time and play. The layout of the paths is a visual interpretation of the forces shaping the river current, forming the unique landscape of the Vistula in this part of its course. Parts of the clearings inspired by shoals are filled with various elements that allow, on the one hand, to provide a place for necessary activities, and at the same time refer to the role of the river in the entire ecosystem. With its form and content, the glade creates a landscape that tells about the genesis and identity of the place. Places to spend free time in the clearing, such as a terrace – open-air class, a place for a bonfire, a playground in the shape of a shoal, or an alluvial island where you can observe the succession process, constitute a continuous space naturally integrated into the landscape of the clearing. The plants used are native species, concentrated here for their visibility and easier identification outside the clearing. In addition, the ecological corridors in the clearing were strengthened by introducing shrubs favorable for small birds as their food and nesting place.

The pavilion was designed as a minimalistic form which is a shell that frames the inner space. Its location was determined by the features of the place. It reacts to water conditions, terrain configuration and scenic openings. It closes from the side of a noisy road and a railway track, and opens onto the river, allowing you to enjoy its view in the privacy of its interior. Its bold form has become quite a design challenge. Its consistent implementation in line with the idea and the original assumption required great talent, commitment, and determination of both designers, constructors and contractors.

Values of the project

The project was carried out to create a place of communing with nature for the local inhabitants. It educates according to the principle of meeting – explanation – exhibition – observation. The very space of the pavilion and the clearing is an exhibition that allows the observer to become sensitive to what is present in the surrounding landscape. It is an element of a multi-stage project of providing access to the wild bank of the river, so that the community could benefit from the salutary influence of nature with minimal interference.

The project educates about nature and carries the idea of ecological building. The building does not interfere with the terrain, it is founded on a slab, thus not changing the soil structure and water conditions. It is made in low-tech technology in the form of a raw concrete structure. It protects against noise from the nearby railway line and stabilizes the temperature in the facility. The paths and all hardened surfaces are permeable.

The project is a response to the contemporary search for a design formula in a landscape of high spatial and natural values. Designing is maintained in the spirit of minimal interference with the natural space, thanks to which its unique character is preserved. Looking at the place is the basis for finding the spatial code which, interpreted in the design, allows you to complete the space without disturbing its landscape identity.

Team: Marcin Brataniec, Urszula Forczek-Brataniec, Maciej Gozdecki, Damian Mierzwa, Marek Bystroń, cooperation: Jan Wojtas; Paulina Nosalska

Project location: Wybrzeże Puckie 1, 03-301 Warszawa, Poland,

Design year: 2016-2017

Year Built: 2018-2020

friends, sponsors, media partners