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New function of the old hospital boiler room. PWr student's idea awarded!

Dobrawa Bies
19 of January '23

Last year, the Multispecialty Regional Hospital in Gorzow Wielkopolski announced a competition aimed at students of architecture and spatial management. Its aim was to come up with a new idea for the former hospital boiler house and its surroundings on Wilczaka Street. The competition was won by Gorzow-born {tag:studenci}, an architecture student at the Wroclaw University of Technology, who proposed creating a local community center and garden complex. According to the hospital's vice-president Robert Surowiec, work on the area around the boiler house may start later this year!

The building of the former boiler house, located at 42 Wilczaka Street, is falling into disrepair, so the hospital authorities decided that the facility should finally wait for renovation and announced a competition. The former building, which was built in 1935, is to be transformed into a center for the local community, and the contestants had to take into account conservation aspects (the boiler house is listed in the register of historical monuments).

Budynek kotłowni, stan aktulany

The boiler house building dates back to 1935 and is increasingly falling into disrepair

Photo: FB Multispecialty Regional Hospital in Gorzow Wlkp.

Success of a student from Wroclaw University of Technology

The competition, decided in September 2022, was won by Wiktor Sawoch of the Wrocław University of Technology with his work "Old Boiler Room," and the second prize went to Fabian Korycki of the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin. The grand prize was awarded for the detailed development of the area adjacent to the boiler house and its interior with a proposal for new functions.

Ogrody sensoryczne składają się z donic i rabat przystosowanych do wygodniej pracy

Sensory gardens consist of pots and flowerbeds adapted for comfortable work

© Wiktor Sawoch

I am originally from Gorzow Wielkopolski, so it was so obvious for me to take part in this competition, especially since my mother started her professional career at the facility of this hospital. In fact, she was the main motivator for the work and a source of prompting and inspiration. For the project, I collaborated with Magdalena Kazulak, a student at PWr, who gave me very important consultations regarding the plant cover and the selection of the right plant species for the shaded area around the boiler room," says the competition winner.

Pomysł na starą kotłownię, aksonometria Rzut parteru wraz z otoczeniem

The renovation of the boiler house concerns not only the building but also the area adjacent to it

© Wiktor Sawoch

new life for the old boiler house

After analyzing the building of the old hospital boiler house and the land adjacent to it, the WAPWr student decided to replace the entire load-bearing structure and replace it with a new post and beam system of wood or steel. On top of this framework, he designed a new roof truss, preserving the hipped roof system that was probably used in the building. Viktor Sawoch insulated the building from the inside, and renovated the exterior walls. He also preserved the window and door woodwork, planning to restore it. The student left the old boiler and steel staircase as a symbol and testimony to the boiler room's previous function.

Zieloną ścianę we wnętrzu kotłowni tworzą horyzontalnie ułożone donice

The green wall inside the boiler room is formed by horizontally arranged pots

© Wiktor Sawoch

The designer's main goal was to create a center for the local community - hospital employees and patients. Thus, the author proposed a cafeteria with catering facilities, a universal conference and activity room for various developmental activities - artistic, social, and relaxation. The building also envisaged a new staircase, toilets taking into account the needs of people with disabilities, and a mezzanine overlooking the garden for relaxation, meetings or work.

Autor postawił na surowy klimat wnętrz - zostawił dawne kotły i stalowe schody

The author opted for an austere interior atmosphere - leaving the former boilers and steel staircase

© Wiktor Sawoch

The designed interiors are kept in a raw style with exposed and restored antique brick, and in the center is a green wall, composed of many horizontally arranged pots. The cafe's spacious open space is interspersed with a grid of columns and structural beams.

Pergole i ażurowe elementy tworzą korzystne środowisko do wyciszenia

Pergolas and openwork elements create a favorable environment for tranquility

© Wiktor Sawoch

hortiterapy and sensory gardens

The green area adjacent to the boiler house was decided by the author to close with an openwork garden structure intended for lush vegetation, between which he designed wide sensory gardens for hortiterapy. The proposed garden complex is to consist of pots and flowerbeds adapted for comfortable work.

A multitude of pergolas and openwork elements will create a favorable environment for tranquility, relaxation and rest, and the opportunity to take care of the plants will provide a new kind of activity for patients, provide a feeling of attachment and satisfaction with the results of their work, the author explains.

In the areas surrounding the garden, the student included a wild meadow, introducing biodiversity. Meanwhile, the surface of parking spaces located along the road parallel to the garden was changed to a parking geogrid - allowing rainwater to flow into the ground.

Obok kotłowni znajduje się patio i miejsce na grill

Next to the boiler room is a patio and barbecue area

© Wiktor Sawoch

Between the garden and the building is a patio with seating and a place for a barbecue, which during favorable weather conditions would create a center for the local community also outside. A large rainwater harvesting tank is located on the south side, which would support the strategy of sustainable care of green areas.

All designed elements are accessible to people with disabilities. The author has introduced a special ramp, and the boiler room can be accessed from the ground level. There is an elevator inside the building, allowing movement from the basement level, through the mezzanine to the mezzanine.

Ogrody pozwalają na hortiterapię

The gardens allow you to relax

© Wiktor Sawoch

What's next for the boiler room?

And does the awarded project have a chance to be implemented? While the hospital authorities assure of work on the building's surroundings, the issue of the historic boiler room, is a bit more problematic.

Visualization of what the hospital's boiler room could look like is one thing. The question is, what's next for the investment? In 2023, we will do all the exterior work and plan how and when to renovate the building. Taking this into account, I believe that in 2023 the work on the area adjacent to the boiler house will be started, while the issue of the building is more complicated, as it is under the protection of the conservator, so it may take some more time to get permission for any reconstruction," Robert Surowiec, vice president of the Multispecialist Regional Hospital, told the local newspaper.

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