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Adam Wicha - "Quadraciok. Restoring the form and function of the former Silesian Scientific Institute in Katowice".

04 of June '24
Technical data
Type: engineering thesis
Year of defense: 2023
Name: "QUADRACIOC. AFTERIMAGE OF BRUTALISM. RESTORING THE FORM AND FUNCTION OF THE FORMER SILESIAN SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTE IN KATOWICE".
Author:

Adam Wicha

University:
Wydział Architektury Politechniki Krakowskiej
Promoter:
Dr. Barbara Zin, Prof. PK

Work submitted for the competition
"Best Diploma Architecture"

The project is a protest against the destructive attitude of society towards the architectural heritage of the 2nd half of the 20th century, i.e. the realizations revolutionizing cities, changing their silhouette and the way they function, which is largely related to the dominance of this architecture in the surroundings, considered by critics as a violation of the principles of space shaping. Despite the historical and aesthetic values of the buildings are marked by that time and declining modernism, most of them are not popular, on the contrary.

dokumentacja fotograficzna obiektu

photographic documentation of the building

© Adam Wicha

Destroying the heritage of previous decades, marginalizing it and forgetting it are common. This applies not only to architecture, but also to art or industrial design. The idea of "demolish the old, put up the new" is irrational for ecological reasons. In the words of Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, demolition is a waste of materials, energy, history and, above all, adversely affects the environment and ecology, as well as public perception. "Never demolish, never remove or replace, always add, transform and reuse!" - this principle guides a pair of French architects. Changing thinking and modernizing what is already there, instead of erecting new creations, are crucial for future generations and the planet. This applies not only to taking care of the environment, but also to leaving physical traces of exceptional architecture.

wizualizacja

visualization

© Adam Wicha

Unfortunately for the former Brutalist edifice of the Silesian Scientific Institute named after Jacek Koraszewski in Katowice, it is too late. The building, located at 32 Graniczna Street, designed by Stanislaw Kwasniewicz, functioned until December 31, 1992, then was sold. Since then it has been deteriorating. In August 2022, it shared the fate of such buildings as the Brutalist railroad station in Katowice, designed by Wacław Kłyszewski, Jerzy Mokrzyński, Eugeniusz Wierzbicki, or Warsaw's SuperSam shopping center, designed by Jerzy Hryniewiecki, Maciej Krasiński and Ewa Krasińska. There are many more exceptional objects - already demolished - but those cited are the most famous and have caused the biggest stir, not least because of their unique architecture and the use of innovative constructions.

idea

idea

© Adam Wicha

The premise of the project is to synthetically restore the most important features of modernism using modern material and technological advancements to add an ecological aspect to the restored modernist values, recreating the characteristic features of expression, raw forms and material. The aim of the project is to record local history and promote the preservation of the cultural heritage of the 2nd half of the 20th century, as well as to restore the original function of the building - the Silesian Scientific Institute dealing with issues of folklore, history, social phenomena primarily of Upper Silesia, and to create exhibition and museum spaces relating to the forgotten heritage of Polish architecture, art and industrial design of the past decade.

elewacja

elevation

© Adam Wicha

The functions of research studios and conference rooms will be opened to internal patios, while the skeletal structure will be based on the module of squares and the elevation of the building on pilotis, but also the characteristic triangular incisions in the facade that give lightness and dynamics to the whole composition. One of the most important instruments for shaping the mood of a modernist block is light, both natural - available through strip windows and skylights in the roof, and artificial - connecting the interior spaces with a view. The spatial openings on the exhibition floor and first floor continue as a network of connections of interior spaces through glass panes as a materialization of modernist ideas, but also as a way of adapting the building to contemporary narratives.

wizualizacja

visualization

© Adam Wicha


Adam WICHA

Illustrations: © Author

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