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Between the Walls. The design of the creative work space at EL Gallery in Elbląg

29 of October '21

Julia Zubka from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk is the author of the design of the creative work space for resident artists at EL Gallery. Located in Elblag, the gallery is housed in a former Gothic church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is the remains of a Dominican monastery. The student's work is an attempt to combine the values of public and private space, with special attention paid to the relationship between people and architecture.

Julia Zubka's project is a bachelor's thesis under the direction of Dr. Tomasz Zmyślony at the Faculty of Architecture and Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk.

projekt Między
Murami, PZT

The project is located in Elblag on the grounds of Gallery EL

© Julia Zubka

Between the Old and the New, between walls, between artists, visitors, residents, between people, architecture, space. Between is a concept with a broad meaning, but interpreted in terms of architectural thought, it can inspire as a concept of space. The word "between" urges one to think of three components - for me, it's two elements including a third - the human being, being the connector. It is a human being in different situations and zones - on public land, in the workplace, in a private zone, a temporary space of the house. In the diploma project "BETWEEN WALLS. EL Gallery - spaceforcreative work," I paid attention to the space for resident artists When designing this place, I tried to pay special attention to the relationship between people and architecture," Julia Zubka introduces the subject of her work.

Projekt Między
Murami, wizualizacja elewacji

The author introduces new forms between the former monastery walls

© Julia Zubka

hidden passages

The project by a student of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk presents an attempt to combine the values of public and private space. The author's main design goal became the creation of a private zone on the premises of the El Gallery with access to the public and to a common passage between the resident buildings. Created by her, the new cubbies, accessible between the monastery walls, create an additional structure in the space. The walls of the cubicles are not in contact with the old walls, being significantly offset from them.

 Projekt Między
Murami, dylatacja między bryłami

The spaces between the walls create passageways

© Julia Zubka

The resulting gaps create a moment of transition and conceal the entrances to the buildings. Thanks to the dilation, viewers can experience the space of both structures. Moving the new buildings away from the walls, also allows the creation of secret entrances to the interior, which are hidden in the facades on the courtyard side, the author explains.

High walls, both medieval and newly constructed, mark the entrances between the walls, with a width of ninety centimeters. The function of the hidden passageways is to stimulate the imagination and reveal the differences between the private and public spheres, the old and the new.

Projekt Między
Murami, rzut całości

The author decided to separate the public and private zones

© Julia Zubka

private and public zones

The designed buildings sink one story deep into the ground and rise 4.5 meters above its level. This treatment, is the student's response to two aspects. The first relates to her accepted need to separate the private zone, from the public zone. The sinking of the floor makes only the above-ground floor, which is the place where residents temporarily work, visible from the level of the public sphere.

Projekt Między
Murami, nowe przestrzenie Projekt Między Murami, klatka

A staircase leads to the hidden floor

© Julia Zubka

Descending to the underground, the user experiences a new space - the secret storey gives the impression of shelter from the world, gives a sense of security. In addition, in order to make this hidden place, become a common space for artists, the floor below ground level, opens up to a passage along the walls.

This passage is also the result of moving the designed buildings away from the old walls, thus creating a new route to connect the residents. The design intention is to encourage artists to meet on private grounds and not to allow isolation of the user, but only to designate appropriate explorers and guests of the private zone, the architect adds.

Projekt Między
Murami, skromne mieszkanie artysty

The minimalist interior of an apartment for an artist-in-residence

© Julia Zubka

artists' apartments

The models of the apartment buildings were created on the basis of a scheme - all of them have the division into private and public zones taken into account, as well as a common scheme of interior composition. Upon entering the building, the user is shown a temporary workspace and a staircase leading to the floor below ground. They are divided by a diagonal wall, and a skylight located above the staircase brings daylight into both spaces.

The studio room opens with a wide window to the former walls separating the monks from the outside world, which show the surroundings through gaps and cavities.

Projekt Między
Murami, widok na mury i okna

view from the studio

© Julia Zubka

The "window onthe walls" treatment is meant to imbue the new interior with the existing place and its value. The space below the ground level is enriched by an analogous action - a slightly smaller window opening shows the walls. The additional function of the sliding window sashes allows the space to expand by two meters and open the artist's private space, for other initiated guests, the designer explains.

 Projekt Między
Murami, mieszkanie artysty-rezydenta

The artist's apartment is sparingly designed

© Julia Zubka

The private area is equipped with modest, basic features: a small bathroom with a shower, sink and toilet, a kitchenette counter, a bed and two chairs. The bed, not visible from the kitchenette, is placed opposite the entrance to the bathroom.

I tried to make the place, although not enticing with modern conveniences, safe and effectively planned, Julia adds.

Projekt Między
Murami, widok z nowej części na dawne mury

The view from the new part to the former monastery walls

© Julia Zubka

public zone like a viridian

Focusing on the public zone, extending beyond the area of the designed buildings, the designer created a place inspired by the former monastery's viridarium. Enclosed in a simple linear composition, reminiscent of a road, it is located in the most open space between the walls and outside the Gallery.

It is here that visitors can experience the smell of the monastery stronghold and feel the atmosphere of the old walls. The possibility of meeting the artist in a less official setting, outside the Gallery building, is an additional advantage of the wall space, the author concludes.

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