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Miracles-plots. Project of a neighborhood center with gardens in the Wesoła district

Dobrawa Bies
13 of July '21

A Weronika Kozak from Wroclaw University of Technology decided to take up the subject of the long-ignored Wesoła neighborhood area in Krakow. The student chose the railroad overpass at Blich Street and proposed a neighborhood center with allotment gardens under it and in its vicinity. The project was awarded first prize equally in the competition for the best engineering diplomas, organized by the SARP Wrocław Branch.

dispute over land under flyovers

For more than 150 years, the site on Blich Street in Krakow's Wesoła district was crossed by a railroad line with an embankment, which was removed in its entirety at the end of 2019, along with the lush vegetation overgrowing the embankment. Since then, the construction of a railroad flyover has been underway, and in parallel - a land use dispute.

Ilustracja Weroniki
Kozak Ilustracja Weroniki Kozak

The dispute over land use is still ongoing

© Weronika Kozak

The investment at first was supposed to be just a replacement of the embankment with a flyover, the Cracow authorities did not assume any city-forming function there - the first proposal was a parking lot. Fortunately, however, residents, outraged by the threatened concreting of the space, raised strong objections. The result was the announcement of a competition for the development of the area under the flyovers and greater interest in the investment on the part of the city. They began to see in it financial benefits and the possibility of new tourist zones. This approach, unfortunately, would likely lead to the gentrification of this space. So if the residents and their proposals for the area - the creation of green spaces, small services, local businesses, recreational areas- were finally listened to, the space under the flyovers could become an inclusive and social place for both tourists and residents. A place is people, and the lack of them, evident in both concepts of the city government, makes such areas unattractive and inhumane, says Weronika Kozak.

Elewacja założenia pod estakadą

The author proposes developing the area under the railroad viaduct

© Weronika Kozak

local community center

In response to the needs reported by the residents of Krakow, the student created the work "Cuda-działki - a neighborhood center with gardens under the railroad overpass on Blich Street in Krakow" under the direction of Dr. Elżbieta Komarzyńska-Świeściak.

Zagospodarowanie terenu Wesołej

The project plot is located in the Wesoła district

© Weronika Kozak

The concept includes a complex of buildings with different functions, comprising a local community center and development of the surrounding area. The entire premise is dispersed and has the character of an open-air community center, which stems from the desire to preserve as many newly created passageways as possible between streets that were once separated by an embankment.

I didn't want to create one large block that would divide the area again, hence the fragmentation into several smaller ones. This gives users a lot of freedom of movement throughout the space, which can be used in a variety of ways - as a venue for concerts, a summer cinema, a breakfast market or an exchange of unnecessary things," explains the author.

Model cuda-działki Rzut parteru

The concept includes a complex of buildings with different functions

© Weronika Kozak

friendly spaces

This would create various types of spaces - alleys, squares, terraces, gardens. The whole establishment has the character of a small street with houses and greenery. The gardens are located to the west of the flyover, for the best possible light. Each building is self-contained and self-sustaining, and all have similar volumes and internal wall layouts, making it easy to modify the premise.

Ilustracja Weroniki

The whole premise would have the character of a small street with houses

© Weronika Kozak

One of the assumptions made by the author was to keep the maximum number of passages, of different nature and width, in the east-west direction. Such a layout would also allow a stronger unification of the two streets. The passageways and a large square at the junction of Soltyka and Zyblikiewicz streets would provide spaces for spontaneous events between the buildings. The square would function as an entrance zone to the entire area. The architect also assumed traffic calming - turning the street into an urban promenade, and organizing a one-way road in part of the area.

Przekrój założenia

The designed objects are modular and can be freely modified

© Weronika Kozak

modular premise

The solution proposed by Weronika Kozak is one of the possible scenarios - the entire premise is modular and can change its functions or size. By the fact that the program of the site can be modified, and the development is repetitive. It will be easy for residents to interfere with the space and be responsible for it. In addition, users can be involved in the construction of the center due to the use of an easy-to-make openwork structure - a wooden frame.

The development would be built in a twisting pattern with respect to the surrounding townhouses, while perpendicular to the supports - thus maximizing the use of the space under the viaduct. This would result in the most exposed corners and walls facing east and west. The author used glazing in them to show the interior. In addition, terraces would be created on the side of Blich Street, where some of the activity could move on warmer days.

Różne funkcje na
projektowanym terenie Nowe życie Wesołej

The goal is to create a social and friendly place for Krakow residents

© Weronika Kozak


Due to the rarity of such projects in Krakow, the center was given a perverse and somewhat poetic name - cuda-działki. In doing so, it alludes to the popular Malopolska term cuda wianki, meaning an unusual but often unreal thing. He also emphasizes the importance of the inspiration that allotment gardens became for the project - a place to save neighborhoods, the author's own second home.
The goal was to create a social and friendly place for the residents of Krakow. A micro-world and an enclave of neighborliness. A place where people can meet, talk, exchange views and stories, spend time in contact with nature, do something in their free time," Weronika Kozak concludes.


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