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"Green river" will flow down the slope. City-building shortcut in the center of Poznań

26 of January '23

We had to wait a long time for it: the Poznań Fair will finally stop being a district isolated from the city . An all-access green walkway running through the MTP grounds is expected to be ready in six months. This will create an aesthetically pleasing shortcut that will make life easier for residents.

For many decades, the Poznań Fair grounds have been a kind of inaccessible everyday island in the middle of the city. They opened only to visitors, and only in the last few years have they begun to make some of the space available in the summer for an urban beach and temporary playing fields. A profound change in thinking about the grounds of the Poznań International Fair (MTP) took place in the second half of the decades. First, the MTP Group decided to functionally divide the site into two parts: conference and exhibition. Secondly, the Fair began to change its strategy and invest in new facilities, led by a multi-level parking lot, and this meant changes to the local zoning plan.

Following a suggestion from the City Urban Planning and Architectural Commission, a bond was written into the amended plan so that, should new investments begin, an attractive walkway between the Western Railway Station and Wilson Park would be made available to residents at the same time. This will happen this year. The passageway is what the MTP Group calls, somewhat exaggeratedly, the "green river." It will be located in the conference section, which is also planned to house the Poznan Philharmonic Orchestra (under the working name "music center"—we wrote about in the material titled "Philharmonic at the Fair—a revolutionary change in Poznan").

will the river flow in the summer?

The prelude to the opening of the "river" was already the November opening of the General National Exhibition (GNE) square over the new parking lot (we wrote about it extensively in the material titled  "Is this the square of Universal Betonosis? Poznan's new public space"). The square, which is part of the walkway, has been used for Christmas and winter attractions since December, but the walkway itself—contrary to earlier announcements—is not yet ready and open. Now the Fair has presented visualizations of the "green river" and announces that it will be completed and made available to residents in about six months.

Fragment pasażu na terenie MTP zwanego

A section of a walkway on the MTP grounds called the "green river"; visualization.—View from Sniadeckich Street to the square by the convention center. On the left, greenery around the shelter over the entrance to the MTP grounds.

© MTP Group

The walkway will include a spacious square in front of the convention center and an exit parallel to the green terraced rest area (designed by Studio ADS, 2014). Greenery will also appear within the shelter over the entrance from Sniadeckich Street. Tall trees with crowns providing shade, medium-high greenery, as well as perennials and grasses are planned here. There will be no monoculture—a diversity of species is envisaged. A separate route will also be provided for cyclists, for whom the new passage will be a major convenience (it will enable them to bypass Glogowska Street, which is unfriendly to cyclists).

In addition to aesthetic value, the "de-paving" is expected to reduce the heat island effect of the still heavily built-up and concreted Fair. The lush greenery in their space is, by the way, no novelty, but a return to good practice from many decades ago. Until the 1980s, the MTP was home to quite a mature old-growth forest—a reminder of the cemeteries removed during the war and incorporated into the Fairgrounds.

On the eastern side, the "green river" will connect to PWK Square. So far, it is green only in a small section on the south side. Other than that, the plaza's slab is essentially treeless, as it sits above a multi-story parking lot. Only in the spring are tree pots to be placed on it.

Plac PWK, widok od północy wstronę centrum kongresowego

PWK Square, view from the north towards the congress center—design: Sniadek+Sniadek Architects

photo: Jakub Glaz

improve quality!

When the whole thing is ready, Poznań will gain a convenient shortcut between the West Railway Station and Wilson Park (i.e., the entrances from Glogowska and Śniadeckich Streets), without having to go around the Fair. The tract will also be picturesque, as it is located on a rather sloping hillside with an interesting view of the Poznan skyline.

On the other hand, we will have to wait longer, at least until the end of the year, to see the rebuilt Hall No. 2 between PWK Square and Glogowska Street. It will become—also with a temporary delay—a place intended for entertainment, catering and coworking (we wrote about it in the material entitled "Urbanizing change of MTP hall - another investment of Poznan Trade Fairs"" ). Restaurants and cafes will use the PWK square for food gardens.

Hala nr 2 i wschodnie obrzeże placu MTP

Hall No. 2 and the eastern edge of the MTP square

photo: Jakub Głaz

In perspective plans include a continuation of the "green river"—this time on the north-south axis—running by the Fair's spire and along the Fair's most important open space—the so-called St. Mark's Square. At its end is to be a new northern entrance to the MTP grounds (today it is a car entrance). Next to it, plans call for the construction of a high-rise building and a lower office building connected with pavilion No. 6 (read more in material "Trade fair razor blades - new MTP office building opens to Poznań").

mtp płot zielona rzeka plac pwkl nawierzchnia

The new fence separating the public conference area from the closed—exhibition area; the damaged surface of the square in December 2022.

photo: Jakub Głaz

One can only hope that the quality of workmanship of the next phases of the MTP's public space will be better than at PWK Square. The pavement here was already sloppily laid when it opened, and after the Christmas market some of the slabs were damaged. Some have already fallen off. Also exceptionally unsuccessful are the new steel fences with which MTP separated the congress space from the exhibition space and from Glogowska Street. Their obtrusive form is conspicuous and stands in contrast to MTP's efforts to improve the aesthetics of the fair area.

Jakub Głaz

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