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Collegium Pharmaceuticum - the best didactic building of the Poznan University of Medical Sciences

09 of May '22

Pharmacists from Poznan are in luck. They got their headquarters in the most interestingly designed building on the Medical University campus. The building's uniqueness is evidenced by its intimate scale, green surroundings designed with flair, and consistent and timeless form of architecture. This is another good project from the Rysy Architekci studio.

Two modules of the Collegium Pharmaceuticum (Faculty of Pharmacy of the Medical University), which is under construction since 2020, are already complete. The third is under construction, but it can already be said that the complex for pharmacists looks the best of all the Medical University's facilities. Two low and staggered blocks stand on two hectares between Marcelinska and Rokietnicka Streets, and an extensive garden was created from scratch in front of them. The front building has a teaching function, behind it is located the middle module - research(Center for Innovative Pharmaceutical Technology - CITF), while the third segment (to be completed by 2024) will also be used for teaching. Thoughtfully and consistently treated elevations and the successful composition of horizontal segments contrast favorably with most of the more massive, tall or - in one case - quirky university buildings. Designers from the Rysy Architekci studio have again proven their talents (including after the train station and transfer center in Solec Kujawski or the kindergarten in Góra Kalwaria).

Collegium Pharmaceuticum, Poznań, wizualizacja

Collegium Pharmaceuticum (Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Medical Sciences in Poznan), visualization, proj.: Rysy Architects
Middle: Collegium (three segments) with garden from Marcelinska Street,
On the left: dormitories "Karolek" and "Eskulap". In the depth - other buildings of the campus.

Material from Univ. Med. in Poznan

chaos and medicine

So far, the medical university has realized its new edifices with varying success: from the bizarre and highly exposed Collegium Stomatologicum (designed by Namysł &Namysł, 2004), through correct objects such as the university library (designed by Grzegorz Sadowski, 2010), to the above-average "Karolek" dormitory building (designed by Front Architects, 2010). They all stood in the Grunwald district on a vast area bounded by Przybyszewskiego, Marcelinska, Polna and Bukowska streets. The area was planned for a university campus as early as the late 1960s and early 1970s. However, the overall concept by Witold Milewski, Lech Sternal and Zygmunt Skupniewicz - authors of many university buildings built in Poznan, led by the very successful campus of the Higher School of Agriculture (now the University of Life Sciences) - was not realized. In the 1970s, medics were enriched only by the Eskulap academic house on Przybyszewskiego Street.

The UM's investments only took off at the beginning of this century. Unfortunately, this time without a sensible site development plan, resulting in an incoherent and chaotic space of a complex of university facilities. In the mess, the beneficial impact of better designed buildings is weakened. The space between them is developed haphazardly, lacking an overall layout of pedestrian alleys and passageways, as well as coherent greenery and small architecture, even if skillfully designed enclaves with benches of vegetation are directly adjacent to individual departments.

healthy approach

Collegium Pharmaceuticum Poznań, CITF Collegium Pharmaceuticum Poznań, skwer, CITF

Collegium Pharmaceuticum in Poznań, proj.: Rysy Architekci
1. segment of CITF - from the east 2. square at CITF - from the west

photo: Jakub Głaz

Therefore, a great leap in quality is the Collegium Pharmaceuticum. The intentions that the head of Rysy Architects, Rafal Sieraczynski, formulated two years ago in an interview with Gazeta Wyborcza materialized here . He envisioned an architecture of human scale, integrated into the greenery and urban surroundings. Consultations with future users were of great importance in the design process. Sieraczynski told "Wyborcza":

We organized a workshop at the university. We invited scientists from 16 departments to them, including scientists who work with pharmaceutical companies. We wanted them to tell us what they need, how they imagine a modern department. This is the so-called principle of participatory planning. The architect doesn't assume that he knows everything best. He listens carefully to the user's needs.

The designers let the academics have their say, and then curbed their huge appetite for large spaces. They commoditized some of the lecture and teaching rooms to optimally serve the various departmental chairs, and to avoid creating a surplus of rarely used rooms. They also reduced the originally intended height of the Collegium: from six to three or two above-ground floors, giving the building a human scale.

Collegium Pharmaceuticum Poznań, dwa segmenty collegium Pharmaceuticum, patio, DS Karolek

Collegium Pharmaceuticum in Poznań, design: Rysy Architekci
CITF segment - view from under DS "Karolek" 2. Courtyard between CITF and didactic building - from the east.

photo: Jakub Głaz

Sieraczynski explained to "Wyborcza":

Of course, we could have designed an edifice twice as big, but what for? Some of the halls would stand empty most of the time anyway (...) The buildings will "spill" over the neighborhood instead of climbing. The Collegium is being built at the junction of two neighborhoods under conservation protection. We did not want to demolish this. A tall building would dominate the neighborhood.

front garden

The intention has succeeded. The new department is not overwhelming also because it was broken into three segments and moved away from the street, and in front of the building was created not a parking lot (the one - for 70 cars - was located on the side, on the eastern side), but a Medicinal and Cosmetic Plants Garden (designed by Michal Kaczmarczyk). The green space was divided into 15 plots with about a hundred plant species. According to the University of Life Sciences:

The garden is a teaching facility for students of the UMP Faculty of Pharmacy. Students hold classes here to become better acquainted with the properties of plants with applications in phytotherapy and cosmetology. In addition, thanks to the placement of an information board on its territory, the garden serves to popularize knowledge of medicinal and cosmetic plants among all interested parties.

Collegium Pharmaceuticum, ogród Collegium Pharmaceuticum, front

Collegium Pharmaceuticum in Poznań, proj.: Rysy Architekci
Garden in front of the Faculty 2. General view from Marcelinska Street

Photo: Jakub Głaz

The front facade provides an interesting background for the garden, thanks to the spatially and artistically shaped "grid" of graphite and golden composite panels (Alucobond), which contrasts with the greenery. A large amount of daylight penetrates into the interiors through extensive glazing. This is one way, as the designers wanted, to provide 1,400 students and 270 employees with a "welcoming, quality space." This is also served by the use of natural materials in the interiors: stone and wood. The latter is present, among other things, in the construction of the roof of the connector between the segments. Also friendly are the outdoor intimate courtyards or squares in the vicinity of the connector.

Collegium Pharmaceuticum, Poznań, fasada Collegium Pharmaceuticum, Poznań, narożnik

Collegium Pharmaceuticum in Poznan, proj.: Rysy Architekci

Photo: Jakub Głaz

It remains to be hoped that the high quality of the architecture, and especially the surrounding space, will become an inspiration for the Medical University's managers - an incentive to gradually introduce changes throughout the campus. So that - despite the architectural dissonances - it is given a coherent, friendly and much more green-saturated character.

Jakub Głaz

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