Become an A&B portal user and receive giveaways!
Become an A&B portal user and receive giveaways!

A peculiar hybrid. A contortionist project in the Old Town of Gdansk

03 of April '24

A combination of a glass modern block and historicizing tenements is to stand in the Old Town in Gdansk. The project, for which the developer Moderna is behind, was agreed upon while the previous conservator was still in charge, and can boldly join the most controversial investments of that term.

The new block is to be built on a short street called Wodopój in the Old Town of Gdansk. Nearby is the modernist Dom Technika NOT, and it is close to the nineteen-story Mercure Hotel, built in the late 1970s. There used to be more buildings on this street, but only a half-timbered building, a remnant of a fisherman's house from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, has survived.

The project behind which the developer Moderna is standing was agreed upon while the previous conservator was still in charge, and can boldly join the controversial investments approved by Igor Strzok. Suffice it to mention the grotesque form taken by the Dwór Migowo housing development, or the no less controversial pedestrian footbridge in Oliva.

The development is to rise to a height of 30 meters (9 above-ground floors and one underground). The building, designed by the Tri-City studio Wolski Architekci, plans 72 apartments and four commercial units. The peculiar form is created by a hybrid of a glass modern block with historicizing tenement houses. Local portal Tró was the first to write about the investment.

Projektanci podkreślają, że projektowanie rozpoczęli od analizy zaleceń konserwatora zabytków

The designers emphasize that they began the design by analyzing the recommendations of the conservator of historical monuments

Moderna Holding

Much discussion and a shocking result

The project is all the more disappointing because several studios (including Wolski Architekci studio) leaned over the area - and with better results. Concepts for the development of the site were prepared by then: KD Kozikowski Design, Wolski Architekci (it was a different design than the one we see today) and Interurban Architekci. The proposals were then discussed during a debate at the local SARP.

Today, the designers from Wolski Architekci emphasize that the implementation of the project in the center of the city, surrounded by architecture with centuries-old overlays, raised the question of the direction of design activities from the beginning.

On the one hand, the detail-free and form-saving modernist blocks of the NOT building and the Ibis hotel, and on the other, the ascetic facades of urban multifamily housing of the post-war period. The varied height relationships of the neighborhood accumulated on a small plot of land with an additionally difficult trapezoidal shape, the architects report.

Designers: preservationist recommendations

They add that they began their planning by analyzing the recommendations of the preservationist.

Recreating the directions of the historic pedestrian routes imposed an additional division in the first floor plan. The cascading modern massing of the upper floors gently slopes toward the pedestrian walkway. The four lowest floors of the building are stylized to resemble bourgeois townhouses in Gdansk. The frontage created in this way corresponds to the monolithic body of the building NOT creating continuity and closing the quarter. Above it climbs a modern, geometric mass enclosed by a glass facade blurring in the reflections of the surroundings. The architectural detailing has been adapted to the part of the building and the style of the facade. Interstory cornices, glyphs and window reveals, attics carved in their profiles decorate the historicizing facades. The modern glass block was stripped of detail, enriched only by vertical profiles that give it slenderness and soaring, the designers explain.

While the previous restorer was an advocate of historicizing forms, Dariusz Chmielewski, who sits in this position today, takes a different approach. We asked the investor if there is a chance that the project will be changed due to the changes in the conservation office.

building permit application already in the office

A building permit application has been submitted for the project as presented, says Szymon Nadolny, head of Moderna's marketing department. He adds that the construction start date is not yet set.

The only hope is for the City Architect to take a look at the project before a building permit is issued, and it will be far too late for changes.

Ewa Karendys

The vote has already been cast