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

Cultural Forge. A project to expand and adapt a former smithy into a social integration center

26 of October '22

A {tag:studenci} from the Magdalena Abakanowicz University of Arts in Poznan attempted to transform and expand the former smithy in Biedrusk into a center for social integration. The lack of a clear village center and the ever-increasing number of residents became the starting point for the whole concept. The author proposed a modern form of a community center, on a circular plan connected to a square, creating a new center for cultural events of the village.

The presented project is an engineering diploma made under the direction of Eugeniusz Skrzypczak, PhD. The plot chosen by Aleksandra is located in Biedrusk, and the blacksmith's shop standing on it from 1904 is a remnant of the Prussian army. The premise is based on the combination of the forge building and the new building, not only visually, but above all functionally. The whole is to be a modern form of community center, creating a common space, which, according to the author, is currently lacking in Biedrusk.

Cultural Forge project, view from the park

Culture Forge project, view from the park

© Aleksandra Mucha

My facility creates a space for the integration of residents and enables them to learn about the history of Biedrusk. The concept is to bring back to the area the catering services that operated here for many years, and to create a square that constitutes a new center, which is currently lacking. Due to its rich history, Biedrusko boasts quite a number of historic buildings. Most of them are related to military activities, but there are also some that are remnants of the von Treskow family. Heritage resources can be an important aspect in the development of the village and can attract visitors. The municipality stipulates that in its planning documents it pays special attention to minimizing threats to existing monuments, and that its activities are aimed at restoring degraded objects. However, not all objects are duly protected. This is also the case with the smithy, which is an important element of my work. According to the prognosis of the environmental impact of the arrangements of the local spatial development plan Biedrusko - on the territory of the plot under development there are no listed historical objects that would be subject to conservation protection," explains the author.

Zdjęcie kuźni i centrali telefonicznej

archival photo of the smithy and telephone exchange (accessed 10.05.2022)

new life for the old smithy

The plot of land on which the smithy is located is located in the central part of the village and has an irregular shape. It is bordered on the west by residential buildings, while on the other sides it is surrounded by roads, so that the new designed building can be viewed from any perspective. The building is one-story, in the form of a circle with a rectangular square in the center. The new part of the center is shaped in such a way that the forge is the most prominent element visible from the main road. Importantly, the plot is overgrown with many trees and shrubs.

Cultural Forge project, site plan

Cultural Forge project, site development plan

© Aleksandra Mucha

The program of the building and the relationship between the old and new parts was inscribed by the student in a circle.

The premise refers in shape to the multiplicity of directions of the surrounding buildings and roads, as well as to the cycle of time. The former smithy, as a component of the site, becomes the beginning of what is new and comes to the fore," explains Aleksandra Mucha.

The form of a circle with a rectangular square cut out, the rounded part faces the park. The square, which is the center of the center, is oriented in an easterly direction, towards the main traffic route. The walls, which are a kind of frame of the square, duplicate the direction of the forge.

Cultural Forge project, axonometry

The Forge of Culture, axonometry

© Aleksandra Mucha

building like a pavilion

The new part of the social integration center is by design neutral to the old forge and its surroundings. It is covered with a flat roof - the designer wanted to create an object with the character of a pavilion submerged in greenery, not adopting the form of historical buildings, but only complementing them. She wanted it to be a conspicuous added element, which does not imitate, but with its difference, emphasizes what is historical. Although the center is a single functional layout, it is visually divided into two parts - the first of which is the smithy with a brick facade, undergoing renovation. The brick, which is a symbol of history, is juxtaposed with the second - the new part, covered with sheet metal and glass.

Cultural Forge project, interior of multifunctional space

interior of the multifunctional space

© Aleksandra Mucha

The multifunctionality of the building means that the interiors should be versatile and, as the author believes, kept minimalist in character. Made of reinforced concrete, she left the walls in their raw state, under the color of which she selected an industrial floor. The suspended ceiling was covered with a dark color, and the glass walls make the interior blend closely with the park, bringing the environment into the building. In the evening, the glazing through which you can see the light and what's going on inside attracts the eyes of people passing by on the main route.

Kuźnia Kultury podział na strefy Kuźnia Kultury widok z lotu ptaka

The facility has been divided into zones

© Aleksandra Mucha

modern community center divided into zones

The modern community center is characterized by a flexible and multifunctional space. It is a center of active social and social life, which provides conditions for the development and strengthening of social ties. The premise is divided into several zones, the main ones being - the history zone, the culture zone and the gastronomy zone. All of them surround the square located in the central part, which, if necessary, can become an extension of the selected zone. The entire facility is one-story and has several entrances.

Cultural Forge project, cross-section A-A

The facility is designed as a single-story building with a flat roof

© Aleksandra Mucha

The former smithy has become a history zone with a memorial chamber dedicated to Biedrusk. It can be accessed from the main thoroughfare, which connects to the main hall. This connection allows year-round use of the facility, which was a key aspect in adapting this building.

The smithy functions not only as an interior for its assigned function, but becomes a kind of historical monument around which life in the main square revolves, the student adds.

Old smithy building New part

The facades of the new and old parts contrast with each other

© Aleksandra Mucha

The most important part of the cultural zone is the multifunctional space, oriented from east to west, and includes three halls that are the central part of the wing. The halls are equipped with mobile walls - depending on the needs, the space can be freely configured, increasing and decreasing its area and opening in a given direction. An element that increases the functionality of the halls is the use of a western wall based on an accordion system. In such a layout, the space of the halls turns into a stage for various types of outdoor events. The stage can host performances, concerts and open-air cinema with the audience located in the park.

Cultural Forge by night

The Culture Forge by night

© Aleksandra Mucha

modern village center

The author wanted the establishment to be a modern village center as well, and restored the gastronomic zone. Previously, the gastronomy, which was quite popular, was located in the former smithy building, but now the student wanted restaurant guests to have a view of the renovated historic building. The restaurant room faces south, towards the smithy, and during the summer there are also functioning gardens located on the square.

Dobrawa Bies

The vote has already been cast