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Intergenerational Activity Center of the XYstudio project. A home where four generations will meet

28 of June '21
Technical data
Name: Intergenerational Activity Center
Investor: public
Location: Warsaw
Principal architects: , Filip Domaszczyński, Marta Nowosielska, Dorota Sibińska
Collaboration:
Natalia Komsta, Łukasz Smolczewski, Marta Skoniecka, Małgorzata Sikora
Building area:
2526m2
Usable area:
4144m2

A Center for Intergenerational Activity is to be built in Warsaw's Ochota district within two years. It is a kind of home where four social groups and four generations will integrate: senior citizens, pupils of an orphanage, wards of a social welfare home and children from a nursery. The idea of the center is to foster community building and fight social exclusion. This is undoubtedly a unique and socially committed project. The architects from XYstudio, who took on the challenge of designing the building, are convinced that it will meet the expectations of future tenants.

The Intergenerational Activity Center is to stand in the immediate vicinity of the "Fort Szcza" park. The investor of the space is the Capital City Development Authority. Architects from XYstudio designed the intimate five-story building to accommodate more than 300 people: 100 seniors in a day care center; 40 people in a community self-help home; 14 children in a child care center; 150 children in a nursery. It will be a meeting place not only for these groups, but also for their families.

Integration of generations - fighting social exclusion

The idea of housing four generations in one building, with the added bonus of integrating them, may seem idyllic and difficult for some to realize, but the architects believe that thanks to their thoughtful design, it is possible. This is largely because they have divided the large space into functional and recreational zones for each group.

The day care center, where seniors and wards of the community nursing home will be mainly housed, is to include a spacious lobby, a reception area with elevator, individual and group therapy rooms and a space for recreation. Also in this space will be able to meet representatives of non-governmental organizations.

Other zones include the children's home - located in an independent section on the first floor. It was designed in the style of a large family home. There are double rooms, including two for people with disabilities, a living room, a dining room with a large table and a kitchen.

We wanted to highlight the façade of this part of the building in a unique way - it is decorated with an original mural by Marcin Czai. Kids have exits from the rooms directly into the garden, where they can play and relax ," explain the architects from XYstudio.

And in the last part of the center, the one bordering the park, space has been set aside for a 6-branch nursery! In the visualizations, we can see that the Intergenerational Activity Center is to be a space full of activity, fun and meetings. All this to bring the generations together and thus oppose social exclusion.

Universalism and respect for the needs of people with disabilities

The building and its surroundings have been designed in a universal way. They are spacious. The clear internal layout is designed to facilitate communication, and the attractive functional program will help develop a wide variety of activities. They also meet the standards of buildings and spaces adapted to the needs of people with disabilities. The center is also very well connected with a parking lot or bus stop. The architects argue that from virtually any nearby area, it will be highly visible.

Centrum Aktywności
Międzypokoleniowej w Warszawie (wizualizacja)

The building and its surroundings are designed to foster activity and integration. A key role there is played by greenery

key role of greenery

Greenery in various guises is to play an important role in the project. It will appear not only around the building, but also on its walls and terrace.

The building is to be part of the park, so some of the walls will be overgrown with vines. We also took care to connect the narrow strip of the park from Korotinsky Street with the area in front of the building. The greenery has been supplemented in such a way as to become a natural continuation of the existing one. Wanting to preserve as much of the existing greenery as possible, the recreational area was designed with respect for the existing differences in levels ," the architects explain of the greenery treatments.

Interestingly, each old tree will be described with a species name and will have its own name. In the middle of the square will stand a huge oak Henry - a symbol of the patron of the site.

The project also calls for a green square with a small cafe. The plot will also include boxes for hedgehogs, butterflies, a flower meadow for the capital's bees, a dendrological path, a boules court or an air gym for the elderly. The pupils of the orphanage will have their own garden with swings and hammocks suspended between old trees, and the children of the nursery will have a playground and plenty of green space to run around.

This is not the end of the attractions. On the side of Sierpinski Street, a slightly flattened hill will serve as a toboggan run in winter. Also there will be a home for three local cats, which currently live in the basement of the existing building. This idea came to the architects' minds at the last minute!

challenging community project

Although the architects at XYstudio are experienced in designing spaces for various social groups, they admit that this particular project was a challenge and an adventure for them.

This theme was basically a dream come true for us, but we knew we were facing a serious challenge. This type of project is very specific, because you have to create a functional space that responds to the needs of several age and social groups, " says Dorota Skibinska, co-author of the project.

She points out that the difficult task was, among other things, to achieve an accessibility effect in the green area.

We were looking for a solution, for example, how to keep the slopes of the area, which falls by one and a half meters, in accordance with recommendations for the mobility impaired, and five entrances to the building on one level, and at the same time not to cut down trees , she says.

Expert consultations and discussions with the center's future residents were also necessary before starting design work.

We worked with a group of committed, passionate people. Admittedly, the Capital City Development Authority was the investor, but the design consultations mainly involved representatives of childcare centers, Warsaw nurseries, the Center for Intergenerational Activity and the Social Policy Office, says the architect .

First together, then in smaller sub-groups, we analyzed functional solutions for three months. We visited existing facilities, talked to the people who run them, peeked at how their users function. We listened. We added our experiences and that's how the project was created ," he adds.

Katarzyna Domagała

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