The 99-meter-tall Big Boy will be the tallest residential and commercial building in Gdansk. — It seems to me that this place deserves more sophisticated architecture," comments Prof. Piotr Lorens, Architect of the City of Gdansk.
Big Boy is to become, just after the 125.5-meter-high Sea Towers development in Gdynia, the tallest residential and commercial building in the Tri-City. This construction, which is planned by developer Hossa, has been talked about in Gdansk for more than a dozen years. The skyscraper will rise in the Przymorze district, right next to Reagan Park and walking paths leading straight to the sea. The plot is less than a kilometer from the beach.
The neighborhood is an architectural mishmash: nearby there is a falowiec, the longest building in Poland, communist-era blocks of flats are interspersed with new, unfortunately often of questionable aesthetics, intensive development.
On the plot where Big Boy is to be built, the local plan does not limit the height, and the investor's intentions in this regard have changed like in a kaleidoscope. The first project did not exceed 18 floors, later plans called for the construction of a building as high as 202 meters. However, the height began to peak, eventually reaching 99 meters. This is what the building permit issued last September assumes.
The residential-hotel building will have 29 floors, parking lots will occupy three: -1, 0 and 1, and the building's extensive two-story podium will also house restaurant, conference, fitness and spa functions. The hotel will occupy floors up to nine stories, with residential apartments planned higher up.
Although the doorknob went down a year ago, only recently have visualizations of the project seen the light of day. It is not so much the height as the appearance of the building that is causing discussion. The high-rise could stand out not only for its height, but also for introducing a new quality of architecture. Given the potential — more could have been expected in this location.
Activists from the Gdansk Agglomeration Development Forum, describing the project, referred to the chaotic seaside resort of Batumi. "However, half of Poland raves about Garnizon [which is being developed by the same developer — ed.], it would be nice not to spoil your portfolio by going in this direction. We're keeping our fingers crossed for a better (implied at least good) project." — FRAG activists wrote. You can also see more visuals on their Facebook, which show the building in its full glory.
architect: calmed form, reminiscence of the wave
In an interview with A&B,Marcin Woyciechowski, head of the design studio and a member of Hossa's board of directors, recalls that the building went through changes: from various forms of sail to the pointed forms of a cuboid truncated at a slant.
- In the end, the form calmed down, although we kept the reminiscence of the wave, a soft form that clips the building vertically and closes it from above. The main body of the building consists of 3 segments, corresponding to the functions contained in them: one hotel segment and two residential. We designed viewing elevators from which you can see the panorama of Gdansk. The building was positioned in such a way as to provide adequate sunlight and maximum sea views from the apartments," Woyciechowski tells A&B in an interview.
He also explains the decision on height.
We are operating on the border of a residential neighborhood and the seaside Regan Park, and I feel that the site, while good for a local dominant, does not have the potential for the tallest building in the city, Marcin Woyciechowski explains. — Besides, there is the case of moraine hills in the Tri-City. Some urban planners believe that, looking from the sea, it would be good if buildings did not cross the line of moraine hills. This rule has admittedly been broken, as there have been recent developments in the Tri-City that are taller — including Olivia Star. However, it is worth reigning in the locations of such developments. We decided on a 99-meter development, no higher than the tops of the trees in the hills of the Tri-City Landscape Park. This was also influenced by technological issues, as well as the required balance of parking spaces. The project does not interfere deeply with groundwater for the stability of the land under the surrounding buildings.
However, it is known that the building will not be indifferent to the landscape — this can be seen, for example, in the visualizations from the perspective of the coastal strip.
Big Boy — perspective from the waterfront strip
"Permit issued. Little room for discussion"
Prof. Piotr Lorens, Architect of the City of Gdansk , has no comments on the height of the building. About the appearance he already speaks less favorably.
I haven't had a chance to look at the project in detail except for the visualizations that circulate on the Internet. On the other hand, it seems to me that this place deserves more sophisticated architecture," he briefly assesses in an interview with A&B.
So why wasn't the project consulted with the Office of the City Architect?
The investor is not obliged to submit the project to us for evaluation, although if there was a will to do so — we would be very happy to do so. The second way for the project to reach us is to submit it to us for an opinion from the Department of Urban Planning and Architecture. In view of the fact that the visualizations appeared only recently, and the building permit was issued a year ago, I'm afraid that today we are left with little room for discussion. On the other hand, I will look at what the possibilities are," announces Piotr Lorens.
Although the investor assures that work will begin at the end of next year, the site has already been fenced off, and according to the information board, construction will last until the end of 2026.
The immediate vicinity of the new building
Photo: Ewa Karendys