Become an A&B portal user and receive giveaways!
Become an A&B portal user and receive giveaways!

Conservator approved, residents rub their eyes in amazement. The storm around the footbridge in Oliva

06 of November '23

First, over-century-old tiles were removed at the Oliwa train station, and now another controversy is brewing over the design of a pedestrian bridge over the tracks. Why? Because the project more closely relates to Malbork and Tczew than to Gdańsk's Oliwa.

It has been known for several years that a foot bridge will be built in Oliwa over the railroad tracks, linking the SKM Gdańsk-Oliwa with the Przymorze Małe district. The structure is supposed to make life easier for pedestrians, because the number of them has been increasing in recent years—along with new investments. The company Torus, which has already erected office buildings in the vicinity of the train station, wants to build the structure, but its plans go even further. Last year, the developer nearby bought land left over from the „Baltic” Confectionery Factory and plans to create a "multifunctional complex" there.

Long arrangements and... controversial result

However, the construction of the footbridge caught a strong delay (it was assumed that it would be built together with the Format office building, and this one was already handed over 1.5 years ago), and the reason was the protracted arrangements with the Pomeranian Regional Monument Conservator. Finally, it worked out. The project, which was finally worked out, has recently seen the light of day, but immediately caused heated discussions (the local portal Tró was the first to publish visualizations). Why?

The architecture doesn't fit the character of Oliwa, the surprise is particularly caused by elevator shafts that recall... medieval towers.

"Two towers. The intersection of Malbork and the bridge in Tczew,„ "I don't think it will ever be pretty in this country,” "These towers really don't fit architecturally in Oliwa," "And can't it be modern?"—these are just some of the opinions appearing in the discussion.

Projekt budowy kładki

Footbridge construction project

mat. Torus

investor: conservator's guidelines

Why such a form? As the investor, Torus company, explains, the footbridge connecting the platform of SKM Gdańsk-Oliwa with the district of Przymorze Małe is located on the border of two areas: the railroad—from the side of the station, and the city—from the side of the Format office building. And this means that the project must approve both: City Hall and the Pomeranian Voivodship Office.

Due to the protracted procedures for obtaining a conservator's permit, it became necessary to carry out a replacement construction project on the urban area in order to adapt the entire project to the conservator's guidelines and standardize the appearance of the future footbridge, reports Edyta Korycka, director of the investment planning department at Torus.

Biurowiec Format w Oliwie

Format office building in Oliwa

mat. Torus

FRAG activists do not leave a dry thread on the project. „Someone seems to have confused Oliwa with Malbork? Fortunately, "no work will be able to start for the time being, because the Oliwa station area is in the process of being entered in the register of historic monuments.” We hope that a new TORUS footbridge project will be in place by then."—they commented.

And indeed, the work won't start soon, because in October 2022 the conservator initiated the procedure for entering the station complex in the register of monuments. And this means that the investor must wait until the completion of this procedure, so the date for the start of construction is in question today.

We asked Igor Strzok, Pomeranian Regional Monument Conservator, about the controversial form of the footbridge.

Among the conditions we set for the investor was that the footbridge should architecturally relate to the historic train station complex," Igor Strzok, Pomeranian Voivodeship Historic Preservation Officer, explained in an interview with AiB.—This is because the procedure for entering the complex of railroad station buildings in Oliwa into the register of monuments is currently underway. This has to do with PKP's plans to rebuild the station, an entry in the register will allow us to protect the historic substance from a very far-reaching reconstruction, destructive to the monument.

"the blanks disgusted me".

The preservationist adds that he "doesn't think the project is 'scurrilous.'"

With the material, he refers to the original building of the station, as this one was, after all, brick. The current form fits in better with the Oliwa station complex than the concrete elevator shafts that the railroad insisted on, insisting that the elevators must be heated, which greatly thickened the structures, which took the form of heavy concrete towers. Nevertheless, in my opinion, it would be best to return to the variant of glazed elevator shafts in a steel openwork structure, referring to the industrial architecture of the turn of the 19th/20th centuries.—explains the restorer.

Although to some extent he also agrees with those criticizing the project.

Neo-Gothic inspirations can be seen here, rather Malbork, Torun or Tczew, not Oliwa—here I agree. The blanks crowning the structure disgusted me, while the office can't design for the architect, after all. A few months ago I asked the architect to calm down the tops of the brick shafts, but unfortunately, as you can see, he did not do so, and the Head of the Department of Immovable Monuments agreed on such a version," explains Igor Strzok.

These are not the first controversies related to the area of the Olive station. Last year, it was widely reported that tiles more than a century old were removed from the station's tunnel during a renovation conducted by the PKP PLK company. Ultimately, the case was dropped by the prosecutor's office, because the railroaders had all the required permits, including from the conservator of historical monuments.

How difficult it is to obtain an agreement from the Pomeranian conservator for new investments—many investors have already found out. Suffice it to mention the development planned at the site of the iconic LOT, or the buildings on the site of the Imperial Shipyard. Trouble also surrounds seemingly uncomplicated projects, such as the long-awaited construction of an overground walkway at the Gdańsk Główny train station. The last tender was cancelled by the city. The reason? Prolonged agreements, including the very one with Igor Strzok's office. City officials have already received a negative decision from the conservator three times.

Ewa Karendys

The vote has already been cast