How do you bring order to a chaotic or inconsistent development? One of the simpler prescriptions is to organize the public space between buildings. This is what is happening in the Wielkopolska town of Wielen, where - after the realization of the market and marketplace - the construction of the Notec River boulevards has begun.
Wielen is a town of six thousand people located on the Notec River between the Notec Forest and the Drawa National Park. Although tourist traffic on the Notec River is doing quite well, the town did not offer watercrafters a decent marina. The authorities decided to change this state of affairs in order to revive tourist traffic in the city, and at the same time - as part of a broader revitalization plan - improve the quality of public space. The design-and-build project was undertaken by designers from the Neostudio Architekci studio in Poznań - based on a functional-utility design by Poznań firms: Aquaprojekt Biuro Projektów i Ekspertyz Wodno-Melioracyjnych and OSA biuro projektowe sp. z o.o.
The Poznań-based studio has already completedtwo Wieleñ projects: one completed and one under construction. The latter is the so-called Education Stop at the site of the former bus terminal at the intersection of Kosciuszko and Sawicka streets, which should be ready in 2022. The already completed project, which is much larger in scale, is the New Town Market, which is a marketplace, commissioned last year, integrated into a group of century-old linden trees, and adjacent squares. The first is an expansive space with the outline of an evangelical church marked (the half-timbered structure burned down in 1977). The second is a triangular square with a fountain and parkour equipment with a form inspired by the work of Katarzyna Kobro. The entire development spatially "tied together" the adjacent areas built up rather chaotically with low-rise houses.
Theconstruction of boulevards on land owned by Polish Water and the city is a consistent development of these activities. The square after the Evangelical Church is only 100 meters from the banks of the Noteć River, which can be traversed along Nadnotecka Street - which was also renovated during the work on the Market Square. At the river the street turns at a right angle and continues along the water. It is at this bend that the most important - from the point of view of tourism - place will be located: mooring berth No. 1 provided for short and longer boat stops, including larger vessels. Watermen will replenish their supply of drinking water here and make use of the yacht sewage disposal point.
© Neostudio Architects
The second site will be located in the western part of the development, behind the bridge over the Notec River. This is a stop for a shorter stop. The surface of both stands will be paved with concrete slabs and pavers, and the slope will be paved with natural stone. Seats lined with composite boards will also be created, and hammocks will also be built on the second jetty.
© Neostudio Architects
On the west side of the bridge, there will also be two more extensive "pockets" of the boulevards: a large playground and enclaves dedicated to environmental education - a plaza with crop boxes for students, surrounded by educational boards, and an auditorium for "green class" lessons. Inland, there will also be a green square with a circular plan surrounded by rows of newly planted linden trees. There will also be boulders that the project hyphenately calls "monuments of inanimate nature." Throughout the boulevards, small architecture will take forms consistent with those already used by architects on the New Town Square.
© Neostudio Architects
hope for the waterfront
Mooring stations and enclaves will be adjacent to a pedestrian and bicycle path running along the entire waterfront, paved with asphalt and inaccessible to car traffic. This half-kilometer-long tract will "serve" almost the entire riverside strip adjacent to the city's historic layout. Today, a beaten road - an extension of the aforementioned Nadnotecka Street - runs along the Noteć River. From the side of the river it offers pedestrians picturesque views. Worse from the side of the buildings: here one can see mainly courtyards, warehouses and outbuildings.
The new boulevards, like the marketplace and marketplace did next door, therefore have a chance to give the amorphous space a friendlier shape and divert attention from the deficiencies visible on private properties. Perhaps they will become the impetus for the city to gain a waterfront that does not exist today. It could also be created by a screen of trees adjacent to the new pedestrian and bicycle path, but this will not happen. Why?
- The planting of trees along the route is not allowed by its location in a floodplain, which is the responsibility of the Polish Water Authority. The situation is also complicated by the tangle of underground networks at the junction with private plots, explains Bartosz Jarosz of Neostudio Architects.
Therefore, climbing greenery, which will appear on the fences of bordering properties, will have to suffice as cover. At ground level, however, flower meadows and tall grasses are planned. Incidentally, Jarosz adds that architects' efforts are underway to plant the fortified waterfront with low greenery as well. According to the PFU, the concrete band, which has been overgrown with low riverside vegetation in recent years, will be reconstructed here.
- It should not be raw concrete. We want to create a kind of gabions on the band after reconstruction, on which different species of grasses will be sown," the designer explains.
The success of this project depends on the municipality's budget possibilities. How the matter will be resolved, watermen will be able to see most likely as early as next summer. Completion of the work started a month ago is scheduled for next June.