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Jerzy Kukuczka Himalayan Center in Katowice - KUMstudio project.

Wiktor Bochenek
25 of January '22

A unique building - the Jerzy Kukuczka Himalayan Center - will be constructed at the intersection of Markiefki and Katowicka streets in Katowice. Designed by KUMstudio , the complex will serve not only exhibition, but also didactic and, more importantly, recreational functions.

wizualizacja budynku
Centrum Himalaizmu imienia Jerzego Kukuczki

Visualization of the building of the Jerzy Kukuczka Himalayan Center.

© KUMstudio Łukasz Skorek


The choice of location was not accidental. Jerzy Kukuczka, one of the most outstanding Himalayan mountaineers of the second half of the 20th century, lived on this street. Thus, the city wants not only to commemorate Kukuczka, but also to create a unique space for education and recreation.

The massing of the Himalayan Center has been matched to the frontage of the urban buildings found at the site, which the new complex encloses, creating a new dominant feature in the space. On the site of the emerging complex there are two buildings included in the Municipal Register of Historical Monuments, which will be maintained, rebuilt and adapted for exhibition and museumpurposes. The space between them will be supplemented with new forms, composed of a variety of vertical solids, creating a new urban fabric. The height of the Himalayan Center will not exceed that of the neighboring building where Jerzy Kukuczka lived.

projekt uwzględnia
zabudowę pierzei i budynki znajdujące się na działce

The project takes into account the frontage development and buildings located on the plot

© KUMstudio Łukasz Skorek


How did architects from the KUMstudio studio solve the building's facade? The Himalayan Center in its structure refers to the idea of mountain scenery - overhangs, seracs and peaks. Each of the blocks that make up the building's facade has a different texture, shape and shade. It was also important to the designers that the space between the zones be open and flow seamlessly, leading to the various exhibitions and activities.

dla projektantów istotne
było zróżnicowanie brył

Visualization of the building of the Jerzy Kukuczka Himalayan Center.

© KUMstudio Łukasz Skorek

The use of transparent glass texture (glass bricks imitating ice), verticality of rock blocks and vertical divisions, strongly alluding to the perception of the viewer standing at the rocky foot, and thus to the varied and always divided fabric of the city - a series of tenement houses. Into this is interwoven greenery lying as if on rock shelves (terraces), punctuating the disjointed body of the building," reads the author's description to the project.


What will be inside the Himalayan Center? The building is to have not only an exhibition and museum function, but also a recreational and sportsfunction. On the first floor, the entrance area will house toilets, a cafeteria, changing rooms, a store, cash registers and an information area, among other things. Some of these are to be available outside museum hours, in order to revitalize the district and create a new meeting point for residents.

dla projektantów istotne
było zróżnicowanie brył

For the designers, it was important to diversify the solids

© KUMstudio Łukasz Skorek

The entrance foyer is connected by a multifunctional room, allowing for thematic events or high-mountain film screenings. On the upper floors there is a sequence of permanent and temporary exhibition halls, which has been closed in an unusual way, by Jerzy Kukuczka's apartment, which is located in the neighboring building, which can be accessed through a glass connector.

For the organizers of the competition, as well as the designers, it was important that the Center also create a place conducive to activity - a climbing wall. How did they try to differentiate the complex?

Visualization of the building of the Himalayan Center named after Jerzy Kukuczka

© KUMstudio Łukasz Skorek

The functional and structurallayout, or otherwise the outline of the rooms, is shaped by a loose structure of perpendicular walls. This has resulted in an interesting variety, different views of the interior, closes, passages, alleys, but also a symbolic labyrinth, or a difficult path followed by a mountaineer. Adults, together with children, will be able to sneak between the walls, like tunnels, which will introduce a bit of excitement in their path of perception of exhibitions, encouraging sightseeing and play, so loved by younger viewers. It will be possible to peek through the openwork or glass walls, peek at the floors below, into the museum's subsequent spaces, and even cheer on the climbers from behind the wall," reads the author's description of the project.

active commemoration

The Jerzy Kukuczka Himalayan Center in Katowice, designed by KUMstudio, is an attempt to commemorate not only by organizing exhibitions, but by actively working. The complex is expected to affect the senses, as well as provide an opportunity to exercise on a climbing wall. The Himalayan Center will also serve an educational function, creating the first place in Poland for people eager to learn more about mountaineering.

compiled by Wiktor Bochenek

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