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Healthy grand slab. Student idea to fight smog in the city

16 of April '21

A team of third-year students from Warsaw University of Technology, consisting of: Agata Kobus, Natalia Kulesza, Filip Starzomski and Joanna Ziembowska, in response to the Bee Breeders platform's MICROHOME 2020 competition task, created a "Healthy Great Plate" project that helps fight smog!

MICROHOME is an annual architectural competition held as part of the Bee Breeders Small-Scale Architecture competition series and in partnership with ARCHHIVE BOOKS publishing. MICROHOME aims to highlight the importance that small-scale architecture can have in the face of the housing, economic and climate crisis. Participants were asked to design a modular house with an area of no more than 25 square meters, which would be suitable for two people and also include a workspace.

Zdrowa wielka płyta,
plan zagospodarowania terenu Zdrowa wielka płyta,

The project was placed in the square named after General Jan Jura-Gorzechowski in Warsaw

© Agata Kobus, Natalia Kulesza, Filip Starzomski, Joanna Ziembowska

The works submitted for the competition were evaluated by an international jury consisting of: Oke Hauser (vice president for. Architecture and Design at Quarters Co-Living in Berlin and former creative director and project manager of BMW-MINI Living), Brian Gaudio (CEO of Module Housing, based inPittsburgh), Anne Cecilie Haug (architect at Snøhetta, Oslo), Carlo Ratti (director of MIT SENSEable City Lab and Carlo Ratti Associati, based in Milan), and Patrik Schumacher (principal of Zaha Hadid Architects in London). Among the submitted works was a project by a Polish team from the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology.

Starting to work on the concept and idea of our project, we wrote out the assumptions that would guide us in our further work. We wanted our project to solve a specific problem. Considering climate change and what effects it has, we wanted to create a place/asylum in an urban environment. Therefore, the goal of our project is to fight the smog that is common in Poland," say the authors of the project.

Zdrowa wielka płyta,

The students separated the work zone from the rest zone

© Agata Kobus, Natalia Kulesza, Filip Starzomski, Joanna Ziembowska

healthy prefabrication

The students found inspiration for their design work in the communist era, where the architecture of the so-called large slab - in retrospect very un-ecological and uneconomical - prevailed. To highlight the problem, the project was placed in the square named after General Jan Jura-Gorzechowski in Warsaw, right next to a prefabricated housing development. In response to this ecological indifference, the young architects named their shuttle Zdrowa wielka płyta.

Zdrowa wielka płyta,
detale projektowe Zdrowa wielka płyta,

The building was made of prefabricated concrete elements

© Agata Kobus, Natalia Kulesza, Filip Starzomski, Joanna Ziembowska

Our bungalow design is "healthy" not only through the materials used, but also through its functional layout. Psychological research proves that in a residential building one should clearly separate the rest zone from the work zone. Mixing them causes us to not be able to function optimally, as we are not concentrated enough during work, while during relaxation we think about work. This can easily be observed in the current times, overcrowded with work and remote learning, the authors explain.

Zdrowa wielka płyta
w Warszawie

Green roof increases biodiversity in the city

© Agata Kobus, Natalia Kulesza, Filip Starzomski, Joanna Ziembowska

fight against smog

Taking into account the above reasons, the students decided on an elongated layout of the building with clearly separated functional zones. The precast concrete elements they designed contain titanium dioxide, which, thanks to its chemical properties, neutralizes smog in the air. On the statistics made by the students, one can clearly see the improvement in air quality after adding titanium dioxide to the concrete. In addition, the authors created a green roof, increasing biodiversity in the city. Electricity is obtained by glazing with PV glass, from which the skylight is constructed. Waking up and falling asleep, the resident can watch the sky, where there is less and less smog.

Zuzanna Slabik (also a student at Warsaw University of Technology) participated in the MICROHOME 2020 competition and received an honorable mention for her Modular House Unit project.

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