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Once a train station, now apartments for rent. Sensible housing development project in Szczecin

28 of June '23

A couple of birds with one stone: eight hundred apartments for rent, development of a railroad site with an old station, a sensible location and a decent estate plan. These are the plans for PFR Nieruchomości's investment in Szczecin's Pomorzany district. The Fort Poland studio is responsible for the project.

The new estate is to be built in the south of the left bank of Szczecin, in the Pomorzany district, on the site of the former railroad station of the same name (originally Bhf. Pommerensdorf). The station, whose origins date back to the 1890s, has been closed and forgotten for many decades. Until World War II, however, it played an important role in the then-developing industrial district, serving, among other things, a gasworks and chemical plants. It served primarily a freight function, but also handled passenger traffic. In recent decades, warehouses and wholesalers operated on the land owned by the PKP, including in the surviving buildings of the former station. There is also a valuable wooden platform shelter.

osiedle przy ul. Starkiewicza, Szczecin Pomorzany, wizualizacja

Starkiewicza Street housing estate, Szczecin Pomorzany, visualization—general view from the southeast, in the background, on the left—Pomorzany Park, in the foreground—greenery along the railroad tracks

proj.: Fort Poland

may have been old locomotives

The forgotten and overgrown green area has been of interest to city enthusiasts over the past decade, with proposals to place a branch of Szczecin's Museum of Technology and Communications here, with an exhibition of old train cars and locomotives. There were also ideas to build a stop for the Rapid Urban Rail being developed in the city, and to develop the old station buildings into a space for residents (the preserved storage buildings and shed are now included in the municipal register of historical monuments). Eventually, the railroaders entered into an agreement with PFR Real Estate, which decided to build a development with apartments for commercial rent. This is the Fund's first investment of this type in Szczecin—as many as 800 units are to be built here (no information was given on what square meters and room layouts).

Osiedle przy ul. Starkiewicza, Szczecin Pomorzany, wizualizacja

estate on Starkiewicza street, Szczecin Pomorzany, visualization—view from the south from Starkiewicza street

design: Fort Poland

The estate will occupy a triangle-like area of 6 hectares between Starkiewicza Street and the railroad tracks leading west and south. Next to it is the spacious Gen. Dowbór-Muśnicki Pomorzański Park. The center is less than three kilometers away, and a streetcar line runs nearby. The location is therefore sensible. And what does the project look like? Architects from the Fort Poland studio envisioned eleven six-story blocks. They subordinated their layout to the central space, which includes the former station building and the platform shelter. Anita Banaś, an architect from Fort Polska, reports that there will be a

a square forming a foreground in front of the main historic building, emphasizing its rank and uniqueness. The space will serve both a representative and leisure function. The forms of the resulting interiors in the estate allow for a variety of social activities.

osiedle przy ul. Starkiewicza, Szczecin Pomorzany, wizualizacja

Estate on Starkiewicza Street, Szczecin Pomorzany, visualization—the central space of the estate with the old station building

design: Fort Poland

unconventional architecture? an exaggeration!

The composition of the estate is therefore not monotonous. From the south, at Starkiewicza Street, which serves the estate, the buildings will stand primarily in a ridge arrangement, which—first—will create several communicative and optical "corridors" leading to the station building, and second—will provide better lighting for the apartments (the location of the blocks more or less on the north-south axis). The distances between the blocks and the spaces designated for greenery and pedestrians also make sense (vehicular traffic on the surface is, fortunately, quite reduced) It only gets denser and less attractive in the eastern part of the area.

The form of the blocks is simple, with no pretensions to originality, contrary to the investor's unnecessary message mentioning "unconventional architecture." This is not a reproach, by the way. Simple blocks of varying lengths in size and layout, with facades enlivened by panels in shades of gray or brick red, look correct in the visualizations. In any case, they are certainly more interesting than the ongoing PFR Nieruchomości (Fundusz Mieszkań na Wynajem) investment on Śniadeckich Street in Poznań, which we described.

osiedle przy ul. Starkiewicza, Szczecin Pomorzany, wizualizacja

housing development on Starkiewicza Street, Szczecin Pomorzany, visualization—northern part of the housing development—view from the backyard garden towards the former station

design: Fort Poland

Giving the blocks a red color near the historic brick buildings is also an interesting procedure. What is worrying, however,—part of a harmful fashion—is the use of numerous single portfères. Admittedly, we don't know the layouts of apartments, but experience suggests that this type of window, which worsens the positioning and illumination of small rooms, is mainly due to the desire to enliven the drawing of the facade.

Wojciech Caruk, president of PFR Real Estate comments on the plans:

The presence of historic buildings in the area is, on the one hand, a major challenge, but on the other hand, a great opportunity to create an urban space with a mix of functions, where one can not only live, but also eat, shop and relax.

When will the realization of the investment, which will join PFR Real Estate's under construction or existing developments in 30 Polish cities? The investor announces the start of work only in 2025. There is no information about the planned completion date. It remains to be hoped that the development will be built in its entirety, including the service and recreational functions planned and praised by the CEO, so that it will not be a residential monoculture.

Jakub Głaz

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