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Gdynia finally wants to beautify one of the city's main squares. Just why without a competition?

23 of October '23

Adjacent to the Gdynia Główna train station, Constitution Square is to change its face and become green and friendly to pedestrians, cyclists and public transport passengers. Officials are behind the concept, and the designer for one of the city's key locations will be determined by price.

Gdynia intends to beautify one of its key squares, officials boasted on Monday, and the same day announced a tender for a design and cost estimate. Not only will the area directly next to the station change, the surrounding streets - Dworcowa, Janka Wiśniewskiego and Jana z Kolna - will be renovated. Today Constitution Square can hardly be considered a good urban space: cars and transit traffic dominate, there is a lack of greenery, and the modernist railway station has no suitable surroundings.

Tak dzisiaj prezentuje się plac Konstytucji w Gdyni

This is how Constitution Square in Gdynia looks today

photo by M.Mielewski

today far from a showpiece of the city....

Constitution Square and the space around it is supposed to be a showcase of our city, and at the same time a comfortable interchange for travelers. We want to create a space here, encouraging residents and travelers to relax, and additionally serving as a place to meet, first and last impressions of your stay in Gdynia," announced Marek Lucyk, Gdynia's vice-president for development. - Today we have announced a tender procedure for the design of Constitution Square, which will ultimately form the basis for the reconstruction of this space in the heart of the city.

Officials stress that the reconstruction will encourage pedestrians and cyclists to use the space, bring the station closer to public transportation stops. But it will also reduce excessive car traffic. Among the promises: the creation of a modern transportation hub, priority for public mass transit and the prominence of themodernist building fabric through the thoughtful introduction of greenery. In addition, the stops scattered today will be integrated. Those using cabs or private cars will still be able to reach the interchange by car and stop at Kiss&Ride parking spaces.

- The concept calls for the introduction of a lot of greenery throughout the area, especially trees, and the expansion of pedestrian space, creating new more intuitive and friendly traffic corridors for pedestrians, as well as a large accessible green central plaza in front of the train station itself, concludes Tadeusz Schenk, head of the City Gardener's Department.

While such a desire to change the square deserves praise, it is surprising that Gdynia, for such an important area, does not opt for an urban planning and architectural competition. Especially since when it comes to competitions the "city of sea and dreams" is doing quite well. Indeed, Gdynia has enshrined in its local plans for the most important plots of land in the city the requirement to hold competitions. This is how, among others, the development project of the Gdynia Waterfront investment was chosen, or the buildings planned for Kosciuszko Square - between Topolowa Avenue and the marina.

A competition would give a chance for better results

The redevelopment concept itself was developed by the Investment Department and the City Gardener's Department in cooperation with the City Historic Preservation Officer, the Office of Spatial Planning and the Board of Public Transportation. The city is waiting for bids for the project until November 7. The winner will be decided by... price.

Why did this happen? We asked Marek Lucyk, deputy mayor of Gdynia, about it.

We know what we want, we know what Constitution Square should look like. We have worked hard on the concept, you could say that in a sense we did an internal competition. Now we are aiming for a project to be created. I am very happy that we were able to announce this tender, because the investment will provide people leaving the station with a beautiful view of the city," Marek Lucyk says in an interview with AiB.

Wizualizacja remontu placu Konstytucji

Visualization of the renovation of Constitution Square

mat. City Gardener's Department

Lukasz Pancewicz of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at Gdansk University of Technology and the A2P2 studio praises the direction of the changes, but is also surprised by the formula the city has relied on.

A racial competition with designers from all over Poland or a design workshop could have brought more interesting, diverse solutions, Lukasz Pancewicz tells us. - The result will be a nice city square, but after all, we're talking about a square that is a gateway to the city. In addition, Gdynia is aiming to put the Downtown Square on the UNESCO world listand it is supposed to be an architecturally polished space. It is worth recalling that the city is doing a big consultation for Polanka Redłowska, with participation of participation specialists and architects from Warsaw. Cannons were rolled out there, but in the case of the city's main square such measures were lacking.

Ewa Karendys

The vote has already been cast