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Abandoned Old Paper Mill new building of the University of Arts

28 of April '21

An abandoned, neglected building. A brick monument, like thousands of similar ones in Poland. Luckily, however, the city handed it over to the University of Arts, and after several years managed to get money for the revitalization of the Old Paper Mill. The UAP's Prototypownia will be built in Poznań on Szyperska Street.

A brick hall in the city center

Later this year we want to announce a tender for the preparation of a design and redevelopment of the Stara Papiernia. The potential contractor will have to prepare the project and then, according to the prepared documentation, carry out the reconstruction. If everything goes according to our plans, the "new" Old Paper Mill should be operational in mid-2023," says Michal Pawlowski, head of the investment department at the University of Arts in Poznan.

The Old Paper Mill in Poznan | photo UAP

What does the preparation consist of? Well, the Old Paper Mill has been standing abandoned for years. The brick hall in the very center of Poznan on Szyperska Street is in a deplorable condition, with remnants of paint falling off the walls, no floors, doors or windows. In theory, it's an ideal space for do-it-yourselfers with a carpentry workshop, tailor shop, locksmith shop or photo studio. But the outlay needed to renovate the post-industrial facility has outgrown the potential owners. In many similar cases, such facilities have been converted into shopping malls. Only these generate profits from renting premises large enough to make the renovation costs worthwhile at all. In Konstancin-Jeziorna, near Warsaw, the brick Old Paper Mill was taken over by stores. The fate of the one in Poznań is much more amenable to urban development.

The second life of Stara Papiernia

The Board of Directors of the Wielkopolska Region has already passed a resolution on August 13, 2020 and granted the University of Arts in Poznań a grant from the European Regional Development Fund under WRPO 2014-2020 for the reconstruction of the Old Paper Mill building complex.

I hope that thanks to the cooperation between the City and the University of Arts, the Old Paper Mill will get a second life and it will be possible to create a new space in it, open to residents, where interesting and innovative cultural, artistic and research projects will have a chance to emerge, says Deputy Mayor of Poznań, Jędrzej Solarski.

The Old Paper Mill in Poznan, visualization 2016 | photo UAP

space for art

This space will host the implementation of scientific and research programs, programs of cooperation with industry and various design and research activities... In addition, the facility could perform other functions: for example, be a laboratory of the Department of Painting and Drawing, a laboratory of the Department of Sculpture and Spatial Activities, or facilities for design studios, furniture, design, clothing and scenography. We also want the space to host cultural and artistic events that will be accessible to all," announces Prof. Wojciech Hora, Rector of the University of Arts in Poznań.

The plans for the revitalization include adding one additional floor to the main paper mill building, and replacing the deteriorating contemporary additions with completely new, much more functional buildings. The restoration is being supervised by a conservationist. At the moment, the buildings on Szyperska Street are 2,200 square meters, and after reconstruction they will be 3,000 square meters.

Old Paper Mill in Poznan | photo UAP

Brick monuments and a nobleman's mansion for students

Next to the brick historical buildings on Szyperska Street there is also a residential house in the form of a noble manor. The building was erected at the end of the 18th century, and was entered in the register of monuments in 1958. It is one of the very rare examples of Baroque architecture of suburban mansions. The university's rector announces that in the future there will be an exhibition space for students, and in front of the mansion the university plans to arrange an open garden with a café.

The Old Paper Mill buildings will also house a min. Center for Artistic Activity, known for its series of meetings and courses open to the public, realizing various types of artistic activities and building culture in the city.

Visualizations of the reconstruction and renovation project date from years ago, before the European Union supported the University financially. UAP will soon make the latest designs available. How much better the world could be if every historic space could host art and culture created by the city's residents, instead of countless storefronts.

Marta Kowalska

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