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Świdermajer with CLT. Re-Sanatorium project doubly awarded!

26 of February '24
w skrócie
  1. Ewa Maniak, Karolina Rorat and Zofia Zwijacz of Warsaw University of Technology have won two awards in a competition to design a residential center for seniors.
  2. Inspired by the Swidermayer style, the Re-Sanatorium project uses CLT wood and promotes a community atmosphere through activities, workshops, community gardens and shared verandas, among other things.
  3. Harmonizing with its surroundings and referencing local history and architecture, the project becomes a contemporary reinterpretation of Swidermayer architecture.
  4. Locating the facility near schools and residential neighborhoods, it aims to break down the age barrier, combat loneliness and facilitate the exchange of skills and passions in the local community.
  5. For more interesting information, visit the home page of the A&B portal

Ewa Maniak, Karolina Rorat and Zofia Zwijacz from the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology received as many as two awards in the international competition for the design of a residential center for seniors. Their project Re-Sanatorium won Third Prize and the Buildner Student Award! Among other things, the jury of the Beyond Isolation: Senior Housing competition appreciated the reference to the Świdermajer style, the use of CLT wood and the creation of an almost fairy-tale-like community atmosphere.

The international competition focused on alleviating the effects of isolation experienced by an aging population worldwide. The organizers wanted to highlight the problem of loneliness present among seniors. As the contest's premise reads—as people age, they become less physically and socially active, which can negatively affect their physical and mental health. Living alone or isolated exacerbates these issues, increasing the risk of accidents and depression. An additional problem is the difficulty of accessing basic services.

Przestrzeń warsztatowa w cieniu werand

workshop space in the shade of verandas

© Ewa Maniak, Karolina Rorat, Zofia Zwijacz

Participants in the competition were asked to design innovative housing strategies that would reintegrate seniors into society. They were looking for projects that would provide quality housing and include features that would allow seniors to engage in neighborhood life. The location of the project could be any, and the regulations encouraged the design of facilities integrated with additional functions, such as stores, workshops and exchange centers.

The entries submitted to the competition were judged by a jury consisting of: Flora Lee (MAD Architects), Ondřej Chybík (CHYBIK + KRISTOF), Alan Dunlop (Alan Dunlop Architects), Avi Friedman (Avi Friedman Consultants), Dr. Nirit Pilosof, Susanne Siepl-Coates, Guillem Carrera Rey (Terragona), Adam Snow Frampton. Three grand prizes were awarded (First Prize went to the La Vie project; Shared living room made by a team from Germany), the Buildner Sustainability award and six honorable mentions. You can see all the entries on the competition website.

Projekt Re-Sanatorium, przekrój

Re-Sanatorium project, cross-section

© Ewa Maniak, Karolina Rorat, Zofia Zwijacz

Third Prize and the Student Prize went to students of the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology—Ewa Maniak, Karolina Rorat and Zofia Zwijacz.

Very nice community atmosphere. Emphasis on outdoor spaces. I like the modularity of the design, and the place looks open and well lit," assessed Avi Friedman.
The project creates a very convincing atmosphere, takes into account the surrounding landscape and proposes development. It is also one of the few works proposing a CLT structural system," said Adam Snow Frampton.
This is a truly impressive project, proposing to restore such a significant building and adapt it to the complex and growing needs of an aging population, Guillem Carrera Rey added.

The jury also noted a number of detailed visuals capturing the character of the project, drawings and diagrams.

Werandy skupiają rezydentów Re-Sanatorium

The verandas bring together the residents of the Re-Sanatorium

© Ewa Maniak, Karolina Rorat, Zofia Zwijacz

lakeside architecture anew

In their project, the authors decided to refer to the Świdermajer style—wooden summer resort architecture built at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries along the Nadwiślańska Iron Road (Nadwiślańska Railway) on the so-called Otwock Line. The style was popular in such summer resorts as Anin, Międzylesie, Radość, Zbójna Góra, Miedzeszyn, Falenica, Emilianów, Michalin, Józefów, Świder and Otwock.

The years 1880 and 1939 are the cut-off dates for the emergence of the architecture of the Swider. Its appearance in the area is linked to the expansion of railroad connections from Warsaw to the southeast on the Otwock Line. The local climate of pine forests, which has a positive effect in the treatment of lung diseases, led to the region's status as a health resort. The whole area has flourished, thanks to the popularization of spending time in the resorts. The uniqueness and picturesqueness of the region, created a fairy-tale and romantic setting for relaxation. After the war, the lack of interest of the authorities and the poor economic situation gradually led to the degradation of buildings and the complete disappearance of the resort character," the authors cite the history of the region.

Mapa terenu projektu Projekt Re-Sanatorium, mapa

map of the project area

© Ewa Maniak, Karolina Rorat, Zofia Zwijacz


Re-Sanatorium seeks to preserve the local identity of the site, restoring the memory of a style that has now been neglected and forgotten. Harmonizing with its surroundings and referring to local history and architecture, the project becomes a contemporary reinterpretation of the traditional Swidermayer.

Projekt Re-Sanatorium, rzut parteru

Re-Sanatorium project, first floor plan

© Ewa Maniak, Karolina Rorat, Zofia Zwijacz

The form of Re-Sanatorium, designed for 48 residents, was created by combining two repetitive modules, which can be multiplied into larger living areas as needed. The slightly disturbed symmetry divides the plot into defined zones of interior and exterior spaces. Attention is drawn to the segment, consisting of units and verandas adjacent to the main body.

Aksonometria modułu Jeden z modułów

The project consists of two, repetitive modules

© Ewa Maniak, Karolina Rorat, Zofia Zwijacz

Genius Loci is present in the verandas, which, hidden between native pine trees, form the main narrative of the project. In addition, the use of typical decorations and the functional organization of the space evoke the traditional elements for which the region is famous, the architects add.

The verandas have been used as one of the most important places for the integration of the residential community, providing not only relaxation among the pine forest, but also the opportunity to stay in touch with neighbors.

Aksonometria budynku Szkic obiektu

The skeletal structure was made of CLT wood

© Ewa Maniak, Karolina Rorat, Zofia Zwijacz

Świdermajer with CLT

The native pine forest located on the plot determined the shape and structure of the building. The fragmented form aims to preserve most of the old trees and and blend in with the lush greenery and surrounding architecture. The authors used local pine wood for construction, using it both inside and outside the building. The CLT's skeletal structure has become a modern substitute for the traditional Swidermayer.

Projekt Re-Sanatorium, rzut pierwszego piętra

second floor plan

© Ewa Maniak, Karolina Rorat, Zofia Zwijacz

Seniors, depending on their needs, can choose between single and double rooms. Each room is equipped with alarm buttons, furniture, an adjustable bed and an elevator. Residents can furnish the room with their furniture and live with their four-legged companions. The colors, textures and simple, repetitive spatial elements provide a comfortable environment for seniors struggling with mental health issues, including dementia.


The authors emphasize that their proposal strives for self-sufficiency. The community gardens, orchard and greenhouse supply a café that operates on the grounds, and allow for culinary workshops and neighborhood gatherings, among other things. Through composting, the gardens are fertilized and waste is reduced. Rain gardens collecting water are also an important feature. The clear division of space into private, semi-private and public allows the needs of both individuals and the community as a whole to be met. Libraries and relaxation areas, a communal kitchen and verandas become places for interaction.

Kuchnia wspólnotowa

community kitchen

© Ewa Maniak, Karolina Rorat, Zofia Zwijacz

Activities of various scales take place in the complex, and their nature and scope depends on the needs of the community. These can be social gatherings or, for example, art classes or a concert in a multipurpose hall. Rehabilitation and medical facilities are designed to allow seniors to access health care. Some of them, such as the doctor's office, are open to outsiders, contributing to an additional source of income.

Szklarnia skryta w sadzie

A greenhouse hidden in an orchard

© Ewa Maniak, Karolina Rorat, Zofia Zwijacz

nature therapy

The students proposed a greenhouse hidden in the orchard where activities can take place. Therapy rooms and art workshops open onto a sensory path, which is located in a more private part of the complex. The greenery that forms it has been carefully selected and divided into five groups, referring to the senses. Walkers can enjoy its qualities while soothing their senses.

Our project is not only a response to the disappearing regional architecture, but also to the need to integrate the elderly into local society. Located near kindergartens, schools and residential areas, the Re-Sanatorium seeks to combat the age gap and the problem of loneliness, as well as promote the exchange of passions and skills, the competition winners conclude.

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