Architecture is a word of ancient origin (Latin architector - I build; Gr. archi - chief, tecton - builder). It means the science and art of designing and constructing buildings and other spatial forms, as well as shaping the space between them. Architecture provides the backdrop for the human life that goes on between buildings.
According to Vitruvius - a Roman architect who lived in the first century BC and author of the famous treatise "On architecture books ten", the basic principles of design and construction of buildings should be based on three guidelines, such as durability (firmitas), utility (utilitas) and beauty (venustas).
genesis of architecture
The history of architecture is also the history of human civilization. To this day, we can marvel at the elements of architecture of ancient cultures - Egyptian, Greek or Roman. We can also admire the dominant styles in different centuries - Gothic, Romanesque, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Eclectic, Art Nouveau, Modernist, Expressionist, Post-Modern, high-tech, Deconstructivist or Futurist architecture. Some will be enthralled by the 19th-century Chicago School or the international style developing in the interwar years in Europe and later beyond; others will be fascinated by 20th-century deconstructivism or minimalism. Traveling, we can admire the architecture of various regions of Poland, Europe and the world. We will then discover that the art of shaping space, this "life between buildings", is diverse and defines individual areas and their inhabitants.
Architecture varies depending on its function. The most dynamic development today in our cities is office architecture, driven by the profit of private investors. Simple in their shapes, glass houses such as the the new headquarters of Orange in Lyon by Hubert Godet and Hardel Le Bihan Architects, or Krakow's Park Club (proj.: MoonStudio), compete here with environmentally-friendly facilities like Green Villa (proj: MVRDV) in Dutch Sint-Michielsgestel or Mexican Next Hydroponic Plant (proj.: CC Arquitectos).
The housing architecture is growing just as fast today, reaching dizzying prices per square meter of so-called usable residential area (PUM) in metropolitan areas. Multifamily housing is the most popular, such as "Carbon hausing" (proj.: 2H+ Architects) in Katowice. Lucky people who have the opportunity to buy an apartment in the city center and thus avoid long commutes in traffic jams from home to work, can enjoy big-city living in any of modern townhouses, such as "The Interlock" (design: Bureau de Change) in London. Lofts continue to be fashionable, and the dream of owning a home near the city is not going away. Single-family homes are springing up like mushrooms, both in the suburbs and in rural areas.
Living outside the city constantly tempts with its idyllicity, while providing many difficulties (long commutes to work and school, lack of adequate infrastructure on site, etc.). Nevertheless, the blocks of modern houses can impress and arouse envy in the average owner of a few dozen square meters in large slab. Under construction on the outskirts of Poznań, The Twisted House (proj.: Banach Architects), Home in the Forest (proj: 081 architekci) located in Lublin's Klementowice or the House in Pieniny are just a few examples of great single-family architecture that is increasingly being designed in Poland. And thus, it is no longer only catalog houses that are occupying the minds of Poles (although these are still being built the most), but in many localities you can also find modern residential architecture of the highest order.
architecture of public facilities
A very important sector is architecture public facilities, of which a great number have been built in our country in recent years. Many of these buildings win awards in competitions organized by the Association of Polish Architects or the mayors of individual cities. The public sphere of our cities is extremely important, as it reflects the spirit of our community. Squares, edifices of offices or courts, buildings of schools, kindergartens and universities, blocks of hospitals, museums and other cultural facilities - all this testifies to the level of our social life.
In public space takes place our daily life, so it is important that this space is well organized and aesthetically arranged. We can invariably draw examples of high-quality public architecture from abroad. Facilities such as Danish Water Treatment Station in Hillerød (proj.: Henning Larsen) or the Landscape for Play playground in Matadero Art Center in Madrid (design: Aberrant Architecture) are stunning and a model to follow. However, it must be admitted that domestic examples of public architecture, such as District Court in Siedlce (designed by: HRA Architects) are slowly catching up with the level of Western architecture.
In the last decade, a number of architectural competitions for public buildings have been decided in Poland. An important sector here are buildings pertaining to the area of culture serving the intellectual needs of city residents. These include museums, galleries, philharmonics, opera houses, theaters, cinemas or community centers. Among the projects selected in recent competitions, noteworthy are, among others, Museum of the Dukes of Lubomirski by WXCA, Center for Literature and Language "Planet Lem" in Kraków designed by the JEMS Architects and Plocka Art Gallery by Proarchitecture.
architecture for recreation, relaxation and entertainment
Places that provide entertainment, relaxation and recreation, that is, all leisure spaces, also play an important role in the lives of urban residents. These facilities not only play the role of filling free time in the city, but also become an important element in integrating the community. It should also be remembered that in addition to creating a setting for interpersonal contacts, recreation is also a panacea for all kinds of civilization diseases, sensory overload or stress. Among Polish realizations in the field of recreation architecture, an interesting proposal is Water Park Tychy (proj.: Schick Architects, TKHolding), which was shortlisted for an award in the "Completed Buildings: energy production and recycling" category at this year's World Architecture Festival. From foreign projects, however, it is worth mentioning "Moon club" in Prague (design: Formafatal, Machar&Teichman) or underwater restaurant "Under" (proj.: Snøhetta) in Lindesnes, Norway.
architecture of sports facilities and commercial architecture - background for people's meetings
Among the architecture providing a backdrop for people's meetings, architecture of sports facilities and commercial buildings also play an important role. The former are now multifunctional in nature. The largest of them, such as stadiums or sports and entertainment arenas, gather not only athletes and fans - often concerts or other mass events are also held in their spaces, which is why thinking about acoustics is so important in their design process. An interesting sports facility is the WIN4 center (proj: EM2N) located in Winterthur, Switzerland. Also noteworthy is the Water and Ice Sports Center (design: Restudio Jacaszek Architekci) on Lake Ukiel in Olsztyn.
In turn, commercial architecture includes shopping centers, boutiques, stores and showrooms, i.e. spaces where sales and services are conducted. In view of the fact that nowadays they are no longer meant to merely satisfy demand, but also to generate it, they must be visually appealing and at the same time evoke positive emotions. Therefore, their design and furnishing nowadays even requires scenographic talent. Interesting spaces generate with certainty Market Hall in Malmö (design: Wingårdh) or Okio optical salon (proj: Taller KEN) in Guatemala. Of Polish examples, it is worth mentioning Krakow's Serenada shopping mall (proj.: VISION, Atelier.com Studio Architektoniczne), inspired by the fortifications preserved in Krakow.
architecture of education and sacred architecture
Also important for the urban community are educational architecture and sacred architecture. In the former, it is extremely important that the interiors of schools, kindergartens or universities are user-friendly and create an atmosphere conducive to the learning process. Some extremely inspiring global examples of educational facilities include the "Children's Village" complex (proj.: COBE) in Copenhagen or "flying kindergarten" in Beijing (proj.: MAD). Of the Polish projects worth mentioning is the preschool in Żory (proj.: TOPROJEKT) or the competition concept scientific and didactic pavilion for the University of Warsaw (proj.: 22architekci).
When it comes to sacred architecture, it has accompanied mankind almost since the dawn of time. Today, especially in the world of secularized Europe, in addition to its strictly religious function, it also plays the role of a space for reflection and silence - so needed in our busy and noisy world. Temples are landmarks - landmarks in the space of cities and metropolises. Among the most beautiful of these is the Lebanese Church of St. Sharbel Makhlouf in Zakrit (designed by: BLANKPAGE Architects), a Lutheran church in Våler, Norway, or a Polish Convent of the Franciscan Sisters of the Hospital in Dobrzen Wielki (design: PORT).
architectural revitalization, adaptation and renovation
An important area in architecture is also the issue of adaptation and renovation of dilapidated buildings, as well as revitalization of entire deteriorated city quarters. This is a difficult and demanding process, because in order to breathe a new spirit into a given building or an entire neighborhood, one must respect its previous character and take into account the existing context. Successful examples of architectural revitalization include reconstruction of the Vltava River boulevards in Prague (proj.: petrjanda/brainwork) or the adaptation of the Wroclaw tramway waiting room for InfoWuWa pavilion (proj: arch-it).
who can create architecture?
The title of architect is given to a person who is educated in the field of architecture and is authorized to design buildings. In Poland, architects are educated by Faculties of Architecture, usually located at the Technical Universities: Warsaw, Krakow, Silesia, Poznan, Wroclaw, Rzeszow, Lublin, Bialystok, Lodz, Gdansk, Swietokrzyska and Opole, as well as private universities such as the Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski Krakow Academy, the Higher Technical School in Katowice and the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin. Polish architects are required to belong to the appropriate district of the Chamber of Architects of the Republic of Poland, the professional body of architects; they may also be affiliated with the Association of Polish Architects.