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What's happening in Rybnik? MWArchitekci are designing CALs, and how!

29 of October '20

The first Local Activity Center has been put into operation in Rybnik, Upper Silesia 2019. More are also planned. The author of the project is Marlena Wolnik, founder of the MWArchitekci studio. The initiator, in turn, was the late Wojciech Student - architect, local government official, vice-president of Rybnik. Remember this project, because it will be famous!

Rybnik CAL

Changes always start with a small impulse, and this time was no different. The aforementioned Wojciech Student came to Marlena Wolnik, who was born and grew up in Rybnik, with the idea of designing a CAL in 2017. He wanted Rybnik to have places that would connect. He wanted residents to have a sense of belonging to a community and to build a local identity. It is worth noting, however, that Rybnik, which has a population of about 140,000, is a city divided into 27 districts, and its residents have a very strong sense of districting. In addition to a strong center, you will also find poorer neighborhoods, degraded areas with high unemployment and crime rates. Rybnik's CAL was intended to be a project for all residents, but Kłokocin, a neighborhood located in the southeastern part of the city, on the border with Żory, was identified as the first. After Klokocin, CAL is also to be established in Ochojec and Paruszowiec.

Center for Local Activities in Kłokocin district - bird's eye view

Photo: Marcin Giba © MWArchitekci

on a wooden roof

Each project of the Rybnik CAL has a common idea and similar size. They will differ in the material used in the project. The first, in Klokocin, is a small cubic structure built entirely of wood. The plan of the building extends to a rectangle with a twisted roof. The roof is also used as a grandstand for outdoor events and has utility value - one can sit or rest on it. The building also has a meeting room, space for a catering establishment and a sanitary area. The building was made of prefabricated glulam wood. Behind it is a shed formally related to CAL.

Local Activity Center in Kłokocin district

photo: Michal Jedrzejowski © MWArchitekci

"The Local Activity Center is a project that aimed to create a space that integrates the life of the district's residents and allows them to integrate. The background architecture is modest and blends in with the surroundings, creating space more than being a visible volume itself. A place that is accessible to everyone, 'at your fingertips,' encouraging people to come out of their homes, to want to hang out with each other and to strengthen ties both with each other and - through the symbolism of the place and the shape of the buildings - of the neighborhood with the city." - reads the author's description for the project.

The building is indeed simple, unassuming and unpretentious, but it responds brilliantly to the needs of the residents. Friendly materials encourage interaction. The light, unobtrusive form is an excellent answer to the design task. Rybnik's CAL proves that cosmic budgets are not needed to create excellent architecture. This one was small, a public project. The architect said directly that the detail may not always be drawn to perfection, which of course bothers her, but in this project the most important value is to give people a sense of community. And through architecture to create a space that will awaken this community. How modern it is. And so timely, so much needed!

Małgorzata Tomczak

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