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Alicja Nowak - "New WySound - Music Center in Bunker Flakturm IV".

12 of May '22
Technical data
Type: master's thesis
Year of defense: 2021
Author: Alicja Nowak
Wydział Architektury Politechniki Krakowskiej
Lead Promoter:

Prof. Maria Jolanta Żychowska

Associate Promoter:

Dr. Barbara Zin, prof. PK

Promoter on behalf of the IDE3A / DAAD scholarship:

Dipl. Arch., Ph.D Ignacio Borrego, TU Berlin

Work submitted for the competition
"Best Diploma Architecture".

Historic buildings always have the trappings of history, often tragic or evoking negative associations, both because of the times in which they were built and their subsequent use. Designing in the existing fabric therefore becomes all the more challenging for the designer, he or she must take into account factors that do not exist for new buildings.

wizualizacja bird`s eye viewwizualizacja bird`s eye viewwizualizacja bird`s eye view

bird's eye view visualization

© Alicja Nowak

While the arrangement and restoration of architecture that meets specific aesthetic standards, shaped by historical and social conditions, are topics that arouse positive reactions, in the case of buildings that carry negative connotations, adaptations for a new function are not considered, and sometimes even the legitimacy of their existence is debated.

There are many dramatic historical facts associated with the Flakturm IV bunker; it was intended to wreak havoc, served as a military storage facility, as well as a shelter for civilians during the bombing of Hamburg in 1943. Objects of this type are often oversized, not urban or visually connected to their surroundings, and difficult to adapt by the characteristics of the structure.

projekt landscapingprojekt landscapingprojekt landscaping

land development project

© Alicja Nowak

The question arises: even in the case of such specific, at first glance incompatible with the surroundings and burdened by the past architecture, is there a chance to give it a new value?

Design action in the existing fabric requires the use of features of the found object, which sometimes seem only negative on the surface. In the case of an air raid shelter of a scale and character completely unsuited to the surrounding development, it may seem that the negative features far outweigh the positive ones. In addition, the object, which was built in the most difficult times for Europe and the world, seems only a sad commemoration of this dramatic history. However, the listed bunker has potential, which was sought to be demonstrated during the development of the diploma project. Due to its location on the map of Hamburg, in particular its location in the Sankt Pauli district, the bunker has been adapted into a multifunctional facility, also continuing the function of the music center previously established there. The New Sound project is also a kind of response to the proposed superstructure, which was met with many protests.

wizualizacja superstructurewizualizacja superstructurewizualizacja superstructure

visualization of the superstructure

© Alicja Nowak

The New Sound project aims to take advantage of the scale, strong form, surroundings and location of the building. The proposed superstructure takes advantage of the building's hitherto unused height and the fact that the terraces open up a view of the skyline of the entire city, especially its most landmarks, including the Elbphilharmonie. The seemingly unsuitable height is used as a visual link to other parts of Hamburg. The form of the superstructure, which consists of two lightweight buildings that are asymmetrical in plan and thus stand in opposition to the massive, defensive existing structure, opens vistas toward the southeast, providing a wide view in a "telescope" fashion. The blocks were designed as lightweight glazed structures, covered with vertical semi-transparent panels on the outside of the bunker. In this way, the superstructure resembles a fractured rock, which additionally has glazed loggias and bay windows referring in form to the characteristic protrusions of the terrace.


cross-sections and elevation

© Alicja Nowak

Also the surroundings of the building are being transformed, greenery modules resulting from the proportions of the corner towers of the bunker are being introduced. The modules are intended to organize the space and give the impression of "radiating" the New Sound into the surrounding open spaces.

The design uses the very strong form of the existing building on several levels, additionally introducing a contrasting massing on the added floor. The New Sound develops the naturally-rooted function of a music center, while taking into account the history of the building and its original character.

wizualizacja interior of superstructurewizualizacja interior of superstructurewizualizacja interior of superstructure

visualization of the interior of the superstructure

© Alicja Nowak

The bunker, hitherto massive and introverted, becomes a "musical lighthouse" that invites visitors to enjoy the diverse offerings inside and "radiates" to the surrounding area, giving it a new tone.

Alicja NOWAK

Illustrations: © Author

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