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New public space in Warsaw. Student idea for Poniatowski Bridge

Dobrawa Bies
14 of October '22

A {tag:studenci} from the Interior Design Department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw has an idea for developing the space under the Poniatowski Bridge. Her proposal takes advantage of the potential of a place somewhat forgotten by Varsovians, offering them spaces for recreation amidst greenery and water.

The presented project was made in the Landscape Architecture Studio led by Dr. Elżbieta Myjak-Sokołowska. The student task was to create any landscape architecture design concept using knowledge of the basic principles of vegetation design in private spaces, public spaces, on architectural surfaces and in the interiors of architectural structures. Martyna Jaworska chose the Poniatowski Bridge in Warsaw as the study area.

Arrangement of space under the Poniatowski Bridge, cross section

Arrangement of space under the Poniatowski Bridge, cross section

© Martyna Jaworska

Currently, with the help of planning, design, regulations, norms and quality standards, efforts are being made to revaluate and revitalize the so-called dead spaces that exist in the fabric of the city. A case of great interest to me are the zones forming under the massive spans of bridges and overpasses. I think they have great social, artistic, recreational or historical potential," says Martyn.

Przestrzeń pod mostem została zaaranżowana na funkcje społeczną

The author introduced waterfalls, pools and urban furniture made of corten

© Martyna Jaworska

hidden potential

According to the author, the area under the Poniatowski Bridge viaduct is divided and annexed for the visually uninteresting "Arkada" shopping center and the skatepark, which was created as a result of a local initiative. The flyover zone bordering the Kosciuszko Coast is entirely occupied by a parking lot and surrounded by residential and commercial buildings. This area is usually overlooked by Varsovians moving towards the boulevards, a gas station or a nearby supermarket.

Arrangement of space under the Poniatowski Bridge, projection

Arrangement of space under the Poniatowski Bridge, projection.

© Martyna Jaworska

At first glance, the parking lot gives the impression of a dark, noisy and dirty place, excluded from the urban fabric. However, after a brief observation, one can see the hidden attractiveness of the Neo-Renaissance architecture and the harmony beaming from the repeated arches and metal supports. In places, one notices elegant detail in the form of ornamental pillars, cornices, mosaics and steel elements of railings, lamps or trusses," the student describes.

The space along the bridge has taken the form of a woonerf

The space along the bridge has taken the form of a woonerf

© Martyna Jaworska

new social function

The proposed project is an attempt to transform the historic site into an attractive temporary space that will meet the needs of both local residents and occasional passersby. The visual inspiration for the designer came from the Vistula River landscape of the meandering river and the architecture of the bridge itself. In addition, an important aspect for the designer was to eliminate or significantly reduce the problematic factors of darkness, noise and the presence of exhaust fumes, as well as the unpleasant atmosphere.

The author planted ball maples and Japanese clematis

The author planted ball maples and Japanese clematis

© Martyna Jaworska

The plan of the new space was designed on the basis of an analysis of insolation and pedestrian and vehicular transportation. The axis of the establishment is a gently meandering passage, surrounded by small pools whose panels will reflect the incident light. Water flows into them, flowing down the glass, illuminated by tunnel skylights.

Waterfalls, plant fountains and a woonerf

Waterfalls gently dampen traffic noise and add variety to the view. The frame of the composition is a planting of Japanese clematis, commonly called a fountain. In the western part is a square surrounded by public toilets, the shape of which was inspired by the arches of the bridge. The street surrounding the square took on the character of a woonerf in the student's design. An avenue of spherical maples runs along it.

W płytach chodnikowych i basenach studentka umieściła podłużne pasy świateł

In the paving slabs and pools, the student placed longitudinal stripes of lights

© Martyna Jaworska

The steel and concrete beams of the bridge became the leitmotif for urban furniture made of corten, coated with an impregnating agent. In the elongated square, the author proposed small squares with various seating areas and fountains.

An equally important part was the creation of a nighttime image of the space under the viaduct. The student placed elongated strips of lights in the paving slabs and pools. The waterfalls flowing into them served as natural vertical lanterns. Directional lighting was directed at ornamental arches and trees.

Between the grass plantings there were small lamps

Small lamps were placed between the grass plantings

© Martyna Jaworska

Small lamps were placed between the grass plantings, which created the character of a magical garden of lights. The resulting landscape is a fluid, unified form, bringing to mind an urban temple, the author concludes.

Dobrawa Bies

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