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Green areas around the Lotników estate in Mielec. The awarded project of architecture students

Dobrawa Bies
25 of May '21

Dominika Niżnik, Adrianna Popielarczyk and Iga Soczawa, architecture students at the Silesian University of Technology, received first-degree honors in an architectural competition to develop a conceptual design for the development of green areas in the Lotników estate in Mielec.

The main objective of the competition organized by the Mayor of Mielec was to develop a conceptual design, development of green areas located in the Lotników estate in Mielec. The basic program-idea was to make these spaces available for use by residents, both pedestrians and cyclists. Participants were to propose such a formula that would appeal to the tastes and needs of different age groups, and attract users with an interesting form and functions. In addition to elements of small architecture, the competition entries were to include a brine graduation tower, a floor fountain, an outdoor gymand site lighting. In addition, the conceptual design had to take into account the division of the investment into stages, include design documentation, technical drawings, visualizations with the surrounding area and complementary descriptions presenting the idea of the project.

Wizualizacja parku
w Mielcu

The authors opted for a variety of non-invasive plant species to attract pollinating insects

© Dominika Niżnik, Adrianna Popielarczyk, Iga Soczawa

Honorable mention for students of Silesian University of Technology

The project by Dominika Niżnik, Adrianna Popielarczyk and Iga Soczawa from the Silesian University of Technology, members of the LAB 60+ Student Scientific Circle, was noticed by the competition jury and received a first-degree honorable mention.

Taking into account the requirements outlined in the regulations and the unfamiliarity of the area in question, we began our work with an in-depth analysis of the surrounding area. It unequivocally emerged that the site under development is well connected to the neighborhood, is accessible to all age groups, and the potential users of the site will be mainly local residents of the neighborhoods, as there is no facility fulfilling similar roles in the immediate vicinity. Hence, it also became our goal to provide a park area that would appeal to the tastes of the youngest users, coming from nearby kindergartens and schools, but would also respond to the needs of senior citizens," say the authors of the awarded project.

Plan zagospodarowania
terenów zielonych

diagram of functions and green areas

© Dominika Niżnik, Adrianna Popielarczyk, Iga Soczawa

After such preparation, the students divided the space into zones and adjusted them to the needs of the users. Their design included zones for relaxation, entertainment, recreation and play - age-appropriate. They planned the realization of the premise in points - starting by dividing it vertically and then horizontally with a grid of paths, delineated by connections to the surroundings or based on frequently used trails. They then proceeded to adjust the remaining paths. In the center of the designed area, instead of a classic sensory path, they planned to place it in a maze of park paths. There was also a water zone with a water playground with a river, providing rest as well as fun for the youngest. Alongside these attractions, the authors placed a brine graduation tower with a natural surrounding of flowerbeds with tall grasses and lawns adapted into multipurpose meadows.

Tężnia solankowa
w Mielcu

The brine graduation tower should have been included in the design

© Dominika Niżnik, Adrianna Popielarczyk, Iga Soczawa

recreation and rest zones

Throughout the park, the students planned a number of ecological solutions, such as birdhouses, insect hotels and houses for local hedgehogs. In addition, the plants were chosen to attract bees and butterflies in addition to looking and smelling nice. Along the main pedestrian and bicycle route and in the vicinity of the school is a recreation zone. In addition to the classic equipment popular in open gyms, the authors proposed activation equipment and designed for seniors. Adjacent to the school and playing fields is a rest zone, containing platforms that serve as benches and bike racks.

Such a solution will help popularize this ecological means of transportation and will certainly encourage students to meet outdoors even after classes are over. An additional attraction for both younger and older users are earth trampolines, specially placed in the vicinity of the school and kindergarten, the students explain.

Strefa street
workoutu

The street workout zone can be an alternative to gym lessons

© Dominika Niżnik, Adrianna Popielarczyk, Iga Soczawa

Another element of the project is a street workout zone, adjacent to the main pedestrian and bicycle route and the school. This makes it an alternative to PE classes and an interesting option for high school students. Following the route divided by green strips, next to the kindergarten, is the last separate zone, consisting of three parts and combining various elements of the playground, placed on a safe surface.

We are adapting all the existing elements so as not to produce another one of the same kind. We are committed to moving the current recreational elements to a new and better place. The ubiquitous greenery has been divided into parts - colorful and green, calming, the authors add.

ścieżka rowerowa
i betonowe ławki

A pedestrian and bicycle route runs through the entire site

© Dominika Niżnik, Adrianna Popielarczyk, Iga Soczawa

connection with nature

The architects wanted the park to connect with nature as much as possible. For this reason, they looked for solutions that would influence the local ecosystem, such as using a variety of non-invasive plant species, plants that attract pollinating insects, plants that bear fruit and guarantee food for birds. An important element was also the placement of nesting boxes for birds - swifts, titmice and other species living in the surrounding neighborhoods. The park also included hotels for insects and boxes to help hedgehogs overwinter. The authors also took care to use easily accessible materials - the benches are created from ecological concrete, covered with wood on top.

Plac zabaw dla dzieci

The new playground is located next to the kindergarten

© Dominika Niżnik, Adrianna Popielarczyk, Iga Soczawa

universal design

The main idea accompanying the author during the creation of the project was to adapt to the assumptions and expectations of investors, and to combine spaces in such a way that they do not exclude anyone and are created in accordance with the principles of universal design. As a result, the park is friendly to people of all ages, regardless of the level of fitness. The use of differentiated paving and contrasting colors makes it easier to orient oneself on the designated paths. The placement of a sidewalk fountain also draws the attention of the youngest users, and provides a relaxing buzz that allows for tranquility. The sensory path makes it possible to organize educational lessons and stimulate all human senses.

We believe that this approach to the set topic was our recipe for success. Listening to the needs of users, carefully analyzing their assumptions and presenting them in an appropriate form that guarantees a friendly atmosphere and an accessible and possible implementation is always our primary goal," the authors conclude.

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