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"Grille 2D" - Design of a restaurant in the historical building of the Mogilska turnpike, proj. Ewelina Słomska

Małgorzata Tomczak
27 of October '20

Revitalization of the historic Mogilska turnpike building at the Mogilska traffic circle in Krakow

On Krakow's gastronomic map, the names of addresses change so quickly that it's hard to keep up. It was no different in the case of the project to convert the catering facility "Stolica" into a restaurant "Grille 2D", which is the subject of a bachelor's thesis by Ewelina Słomska - a graduate of the Faculty of Interior Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow. The thesis was written in the 2nd Interior Design Studio led by Prof. Rafał Ziembiński, and its supervisor was Dr. Małgorzata Zbroińska-Piątek. Stolica is the name of the former Mogilskie horn located near the Mogilskie traffic circle in Cracow. The aim of the project is to restore the former glory of the historic building through revitalization.

Grille 2D - sytuacja Grille 2D - budynek dawnej
Rogatki w 2020 roku

2D grills - the situation and the former turnpike building in 2020

A little about the history of the Mogilska turnpike

The Grille 2D restaurant project is located in the historic Mogilska turnpike building on the foreground of Bastion V of the Krakow Fortress. Since its establishment, the restaurant has served the function of collecting customs duties from manufacturers and merchants wishing to trade in the Royal City of Krakow. Customs collection points from those crossing the city's borders existed from the Middle Ages until the partitions. During the time of the Duchy of Warsaw, the then Minister of the Treasury ordered the girding of Cracow with a ditch and embankment with 9 passages. Turnpikes were set up at the entrances, where tolls were collected. After Krakow was incorporated into the Austrian partition in 1846, there was automatic incorporation into the Austrian customs system. A so-called General Consumption Tax on articles brought into the city was established and collected at the city's turnpikes. Krakow was surrounded by an excise line, which could only be crossed through 13 city turnpikes: 7 major and 6 minor ones. The main turnpikes included the Mogilska turnpike.

Grille 2D Grille 2D - koncepcja,
z zewnątrz

2D Grille - exterior views

The site has been reconstructed several times. The first buildings of the Mogilska turnpike were erected in the 1820s in a garden roughly in the middle of the present Mogilska traffic circle. In the late 1840s the turnpike was demolished due to the construction of the city's fortifications. A new one was built a few dozen meters from the bastion to the east. In 1912 the turnpike received a new location due to the shifting of the excise line. It was erected on the opposite side of the bastion, by the wall of the A. Lubomirski Foundation Shelter, facing the newly created Mogilska Street. It was a one-story building composed of two, distinctive in its massing and facade: in the eastern part in the form of a small risalit - an alcove, topped with a broken tent roof. In 1923, excise lines were abolished, so the turnpike, useless for tax purposes, was taken over by the City Power Plant - the building was adapted to house a transformer. After World War II, the building no longer served the power plant. Further changes in the surroundings are associated with the creation of a traffic junction, henceforth known as the Mogilskie traffic circle. In the 1940s, a warehouse was placed inside the premises. In the 1990s, the roundabout was successively the office of a telecommunications company, a pawnshop and finally a café.

Due to therecent reconstruction of the traffic circle, the building was demolished... it was rebuilt, however, at the end of the last century a few dozen meters from its original location. The exterior form was preserved, while the interior was modernized. After the Mogilskie traffic circle was completed, the building on the south side was obscured by a wall separating it from the newly constructed street, but it was possible to expose the facades, which were previously invisible.

Grille 2D - relacje
płaszczyzn Grille 2D - relacje

2D grills - concept, penetration and relationship of planes

genesis and inspiration

The mood of the interiors is built mainly by the grid - the grille. It was used extensively and divided the building into zones: structural elements in the architecture (stairs, roof, dome) and furniture (tables, shelves, cabinets, bar). The grid is also the inspiration for the restaurant's name Grille 2D. The English word grille, when translated into Polish, means a grid, a grating. It was no coincidence that this particular phrase was chosen. Grille evokes with its sound the word grill. Grill is associated with food, while food is associated with restaurant. Thus the name of the restaurant is created, while at the same time defining its interior in a discreet way.

The second part of the project's name was extracted from the building's existing address: Aleja Pułkownika Władysława Beliny-Prażmowskiego 2D. It was used in the context of 2D graphics, which, when juxtaposed with the restaurant's interior design, creates a contrasting composition. 2D used next to the word grille describes the grid as a graphic, only going inside the solid, the elements go into 3D dimension.

In the process of creating this thesis, an important element was the inspiration of historic architecture. In this case, it is a particular building of the Mogilska turnpike. The building very often drew my attention on my way to the city center or to the university. However, the interior did not make a good impression. The interior lacked atmosphere. After this architectural disappointment, I conducted an analysis of how to restore the mood of the historic interior in a modern way, so that the building would attract again. Among other things, the design was influenced by the original architectural drawings and plans.

The main inspiration bringing the project into the modern era, were geometrized forms. The structures are formed by simple parts: vertical and horizontal profiles. Ultimately, these elements allowed the construction of new, vibrant spaces.

During the development of the project, I was inspired by the work of British artist Antony Gormley. The sculptor creates expressive, openwork metal installations. My main attention was drawn to a series of works titled: "Matrix" and "Breathing room," the author writes.

Grille 2D -
komunikacja Grille 2D - projektowane

2D grills - designed interior

idea and functions

The former Mogilska turnpike is a unique, independent building with a very interesting history. To highlight it and bring out its greatest assets, the designer focused on preserving the original mass. The interior design was subordinated to the existing masonry, as well as the terrain. The surrounding area is unusual in that it is the largest interchange in Krakow, which allows the building to be admired by hundreds of people every day. A major advantage of the premises is that it is the only one with an entrance from the pedestrian way (as part of the pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure of the traffic circle) from the underground and bus stops. The property is about 210 m² with an adjacent garden of about 100 m². It has 3 floors for use. Level -1 with a separate entrance from the streetcar stop area; level 0 with an entrance from the bus stop area; and level +1. The -1 and 0 floors are connected by an internal staircase, an external escalator adjacent to the building wall and, in addition, an elevator that allows disabled people to communicate between these floors. Level 0 and +1 are connected by an internal staircase (which meets the communication requirements of public premises).

The interior arrangement provides space for lunch, business, individual and family guests. It allows to serve about 50 people in the building and approx. 20 in the garden. With proper arrangement, 15 additional seats for guests can be obtained.

The revitalization of the building consisted in bringing the interior to the shell of the entire building, excluding rooms such as the kitchen, dishwasher, storage, social, cleaning rooms, which were designed earlier, for the adaptation of the first restaurant. The existing state, on the other hand, presents yet another variant of the distribution of functional zones in the facility, this is due to later renovations. Returning to the raw state will help to get rid of unnecessary elements, thus restoring the atmosphere of the historic Krakow building.

Grille 2D -
projektowane wnętrze, krata

2D grills - mesh-grid in the designed interior

The mood of the interior is created by repeatedly duplicated metal profiles, vertical and horizontal, forming rectangular frames for steel mesh sheets. The development of such structures is intended to shake up the visual experience with a certain stability of the compact body of the building. The main architectural elements, including the staircase, columns, ceiling and dome will be surrounded by mesh profiles, creating a "spatial steel fog" around them. Duplication of ready-made frames in different formats, will allow to obscure a part of the selected object completely or only partially. In addition to spatial impressions, the profiles perform structural functions. They build stairs and a roof over the garden belonging to the premises.

The configuration of steel profiles in the garden creates a plan for the nets emphasizing their direction. In some places, to make the composition more dynamic, the course of the profiles changes and moves away from the grid. With its expressive arrangement, it is intended to attract the attention of passersby and create an amazing atmosphere for visitors, detaching them from the street hustle and bustle that surrounds them physically in the center of communication.

The guest area, its functions and shape are organized with steel frames. Particularly visible divisions are located in the lowest floor. In this space, zones for larger and smaller groups, public, semi-public and private areas are separated. Despite the many divisions, the form of the building is spacious and light.

Grille 2D - przekroje
Grille 2D - rzuty

2D grills - sections and projections

On level -1, an important element is a bar designed from two free-standing blocks. Under the countertop on the guest side, the bar wall is set back. In this place nets were placed obtaining the effect of "levitating solids". Above the counter, on the other hand, there are intersection points of profiles running through the entire floor. In this way, they determine the direction of communication. Entering the building from the underground, horizontal and vertical profiles inserted into the floor and ceiling directly lead towards the important point - the bar. Ventilation and electrical conduits, located just below the ceiling, were built in so as not to disturb the composition of the profiles. The existing columns on level -1 were treated not only as a structural object. A grid system was created around them which sets the directions of the profiles, distributing them throughout the floor.

Level 0 and +1 are connected not only by a staircase, but by the most important point in the entire building - the dome. It is the most characteristic element of the former Mogilska turnpike. Unfortunately, during reconstruction it was built over from the inside with a ceiling. On level 0, centrally under the canopy, the kitchen was expanded, making it impossible for visitors to enter, and on level +1 the number of seats was increased. The goal of the revitalization is to restore the original form of the premises. By demolishing the added ceiling, the dome inside is visible from the ground and 1st floors. In this way, it becomes the most impressive point in the building. A large geometric table and soft armchairs were placed under the canopy to view the upper floor.

The entire +1 level is dedicated to guests. Tables and seating are mainly clustered around the dome and staircase so as to give guests a view of the dynamic vibrating space. In opposition to the steel layouts, the tables are designed as rectangular planes so that they intersect the dome and staircase structures horizontally. Furnishings were created specifically for the interior of the Grille 2D restaurant using profiles, mesh and glass. Tables, shelves and cabinets were created. The designed furniture fits into the space, creating a cohesive whole. Glass tops introduce reflections and refractions of planes. On level 0 and + 1, the structures of the tables, dome and stairs are connected by profiles and light.

Grille 2D - wnętrza
ze świałem sztucznym Grille 2D - naturlane

2D grills - interiors on the lower levels lit artificially, the upper "deck" flooded with natural light


Thebuilding is quite dark. In order to get more natural light, the existing windows on level 0 under the dome, were converted into balcony windows, stretching from floor to ceiling. This also allowed direct access to the garden. Another way to brighten up the interiors is by using beams of light in the frames. The arrangement of the profiles became a kind of conduit of light, distributing it throughout the restaurant. The structure also runs outside the building, illuminating the garden and facade. Leds running along the profiles introduce an accent that stands in spatial opposition to the existing architectural fabric. An additional advantage is the highlighting of the forms. The interior receives a special atmosphere. A lot of shadows appear which together with the grid create complementary, vibrating planes.

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© Ewelina Słomska

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