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The wooden block will stand on an abandoned corner in Lodz. Here is the Breath-In Hotel by Makaa.

19 of May '21
Technical data
Name: Breath-In Hotel
Investor: private
Location: Lodz
Principal Architect: MAKAA, Katarzyna Waloryszak, Marcin Waloryszak, Rafał Zakrzewski
Area: 3340 m²
Cubic capacity: 10 648 m³


  • design
  • implementation


Architects from the Makaa studio have joined revitalization efforts in Lodz and created a project to develop one of the many abandoned corner lots in the city center. A modern hotel, albeit built from one of the oldest materials, will stand there. The lump, named Breath-In Hotel, is almost entirely based on CLT's wooden construction. It is also an example of sustainable design. We ask the concept's authors about the advantages and biggest challenges of such architecture.

TheBreath-In Hotel will stand on one of the undeveloped corner lots, specifically at the intersection of Narutowicza and Sienkiewicza Streets, in the vicinity of the Lodz Fabryczna Station and the Lodz Television and Philharmonic Hall. The architects argue that in designing the block they were guided by respect for the historical principles of corner buildings. According to historical patterns of city composition, they were supposed to close the frontages and emphasize the intersection, preferably by increased height or distinctive form.

strength in simplicity

The Breath-In Hotel is a classic simple building, almost entirely made of wood. Admittedly, one of the designers' main inspirations was old townhouses, but the final hotel is a lighter and contemporary take on them. The composition of the building resembles an enlarged archetypal house facade, but, among other things, thanks to its long and narrow slats, it gives the impression of a modern building. According to the architects' assumption, the wooden building is supposed to warm up the city; make it friendlier for residents, while interacting with the shabbiness of Lodz townhouses. Another clever trick was used in the project - the volume of the building was raised. Thanks to it, the mass not only seems less massive. The space around the hotel will also increase for passersby.

Breath-In Hotel (visualization) Breath-In Hotel (visualization) Breath-In Hotel (visualization)

Breath-In Hotel (visualization)

© Makaa

Ecology and responsibility for people

The development of a small plot of land in the 19th century center of Lodz required a concept in line with the idea of responsible, sustainable design. The architects wanted to create a building based on a circular economy that would be self-sustainable in operation. The Breath-In Hotel is equipped with solar energy tools to light common spaces and collect and reuse rainwater. Finally, it's a project virtually entirely embedded in CLT construction, one of the greenest design systems.

Breath-In Hotel (visualization)Breath-In Hotel (visualization)Breath-In Hotel (visualization).

Breath-In Hotel (visualization)

© Makaa

We ask Katarzyna Waloryszak, co-author of the project and co-founder of the Makaa studio, about the advantages and biggest challenges in designing such volumes.

Katarzyna Domagała
: Why the CLT structure in particular?

Katarzyna Waloryszak: I'd like to start by saying that the very awareness of the fact that the industries we work in (architecture and construction) are responsible for more than 60 percent of CO2 emissions should drive designers to create sustainable and ecological constructions. Such is the CLT system we have relied on for the Breath-In Hotel. It has very many advantages, but it also requires courage.

: What advantages can we talk about in the case of CLT systems?

Katarzyna Waloryszak: Those concerning ecology, construction organization, as well as the end result. CLT structures are extremely efficient in planning the volume of partitions and have high fire resistance. They also provide tremendous opportunities to develop and play with the design. They also have the advantage of being lightweight, which makes construction work extremely efficient. Besides, wood is simply liked by users and is good for our well-being.

: In what aspects does the Breath-In Hotel meet green building standards?

Katarzyna Waloryszak: Wood structures are the answer to one of the most important problems of our planet - they reduce CO2 emissions. In addition, our design is based on a skeletal, modular structure - so that its functions can be easily changed in the future to suit current needs.

: How will it be possible to do this?

Katarzyna Waloryszak: In the next phases of the building's development, we are proposing solutions using renewable energy from solar panels and a system for collecting and using rainwater in a second circuit. I would add that the process of creating a building prepared for the challenges of the future does not have to mean using a large number of spectacular and expensive equipment.

Breath-In Hotel (axonometry) Breath-In Hotel (axonometry) Breath-In Hotel (axonometry)

Breath-In Hotel (axonometry)

© Makaa

: Then what is needed?

Katarzyna Waloryszak: The work starts with designing the form of the building. Then we determine the location and the systems we will use. The ability to exploit natural and recycled resources is also very important. In many cases, it's a return to traditional design directions, which have become almost exotic in the age of modern architecture.

: You talk a lot about the advantages of wooden structures, both in terms of the process of their creation and their impact on the environment and public perception. What about the downsides and challenges?

Katarzyna Waloryszak: The challenges in architecture are set by ourselves. It certainly takes openness, courage and awareness to design such structures, but in our opinion they are the future. Wooden blocks with large volumes are a very fresh trend in Poland, but one that is developing very rapidly. When designing the Breath-In Hotel we blazed a trail, especially at the stage of design and administrative arrangements. Besides, as with any other material, everything depends on the complexity of the building structure and determining what architectural objectives we want to achieve with this structure. In the case of wooden buildings, the challenge is always to solve fire safety issues, acoustics or installation layout schemes while achieving good volume efficiency, economy and aesthetics.

: And what gave you the most fun and pleasure while designing the Breath-In Hotel?

Katarzyna Waloryszak: Designing wooden structures is like building with blocks - it's great fun! The coolest thing is that we design the blocks ourselves, and we can adapt them one hundred percent to the needs of a particular project. We can assume maximum repetition of the element, as well as build complex, intricate structures out of them. Also important is the modularity and the fact that we create a building from "pixels" in any scale and shape.

Breath-In Hotel (axonometry) Breath-In Hotel (axonometry) Breath-In Hotel (axonometry)

Breath-In Hotel (axonometry).

© Makaa

: What kind of wood will the hotel be made of and how much construction material will be needed?

Katarzyna Waloryszak: An ecological solution is to use spruce or pine wood, which is grown specifically for construction purposes, as it cleans local areas of CO2. As for the amount... Very, but I emphasize: very, we can estimate that the construction of the hotel will consume 493 m³ of wood and save 538 tons of CO2.

: How long can such a building survive?

Katarzyna Waloryszak: Wooden structures are designed according to current standards for 50 years, but with a guarantee of survival of 10 to 20 years.

Breath-In Hotel (elevation)Breath-In Hotel (elevation)Breath-In Hotel (elevation).

Breath-In Hotel (facade).

© Makaa

: It will be necessary to secure such a structure?

Katarzyna Waloryszak: Wood in timber frame or CLT structures is intended only for interiors, so it does not require protection, but of course it can be done. Nowadays, a large number of modern preparations for wood impregnation are available.

: The trend of erecting wooden blocks is only in its infancy in Poland, or - depending on your point of view - is making a comeback after long years. We will encounter few such buildings in cities. What do you anticipate will be the public reception of such architecture? Won't people find them too off-putting? Or, on the contrary , will they desire more wood in public space?

Katarzyna Waloryszak: Modern wooden structures do not have to be conspicuous at all, but in the case of the Breath-In Hotel it is different, because the wood is both outside and inside the building. The aesthetics typical of wood play a big role in the public perception of the block. We can design any system in harmony and aesthetics, and any system can spoil the aesthetics of a space. Finally, let's also remember that there are different tastes. Not everyone has to like wood, but it's hard to undermine the positive impact of wooden structures on the environment and our lives.

Catherine: Thank you for the interview.

interviewed: Katarzyna Domagała

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