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Productive city. Idea for a district of Gdansk awarded TUP 2022!

24 of February '23

{tag:studenci}, an urban planner and graduate of the Gdansk University of Technology and the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk, received the 2022 Main Prize of the Society of Polish Urban Planners for the best thesis! His master's thesis, using the example of a detailed urban-architectural concept for the area of the Railway Rolling Stock Repair Plant in Gdansk's Przeróbka district, touches on the idea of productive cities.

In recent decades, many European cities have experienced a real period of renewal and regeneration of their degraded areas, where revitalization processes were carried out or new residential districts were built. A generally widespread trend and policy point to the need to shape an integrated city with mixed-use functions. The origins of mixed-use are not new and had their application already in medieval cities. However, is it really the case that shaping development according to the mixed-use city according to the existing principles should be the goal of our time and is equivalent to the multifunctionality of an area? Do these solutions work? Do they leave certain spatial, social or economic disproportions as a result of ongoing socio-economic changes?—Karol Drobniewski wonders.

Na terenie dzielnicy powstaną wysokościowce

neighborhood favors pedestrians

© Karol Drobniewski

His master's thesis entitled. „Productive Cities in a Local Perspective. An urban-architectural concept for the area of the former Railway Rolling Stock Repair Plant in Gdañsk Przeróbka,” carried out under the supervision of Dr. Jan Sikora at the Architecture of Cultural Spaces course at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk, is an attempt to answer these questions. The author's goal was to popularize the idea of a productive city.

The entire work was presented as a simulation during the planning and investment process between the city—as the legislator of local law and having influence on the formation of future investment areas, and the investor—the designer and implementer of the future place of residence, the urban planner adds.

W ramach pracy powstał podręcznik oraz kompleksowa koncepcja urbanistyczna Przeróbki

As part of the work, a manual and a comprehensive urban planning concept for the Conversion was created

© Karol Drobniewski

The theoretical part is an attempt to define the modern productive city at the local level, analyzing its possibilities for development and implementation at different urban scales. Based on it, Karol has created a handbook Productive Cities from a local perspective, which can be used by local governments and other entities that influence the nature of urban space, as well as investors and developers.

How to „remake” Gdansk's Redevelopment?

The second part of the work, on the other hand, is a comprehensive urban planning concept for the area of the former Railway Rolling Stock Repair Plant in the Gdańsk district of Przeróbka. In it, the author shows how new large-scale urban projects should be shaped, while creating the first district based on the idea of a productive city in Gdańsk. The project emphasizes the creation of frameworks and principles for shaping development and new public spaces, while providing a leaven for discussions on the future of post-rail areas.

You can read about the history of Przeróbka and its current state in an article about the Narrcje 2022 festival taking place on its grounds.

Koncepcja projektowa

design concept

© Karol Drobniewski

Karol Drobniewski hopes that introducing the idea of a productive city will move the district toward the future:

The preservation and transformation of the existing industrial heritage is intended to create an area to foster and disseminate new creative communities that will become a driving force for the entire area. The district will provide space for a variety of non-intrusive workshop-like industrial and service functions that will create a vibrant, real city focused on selling locally made products. Diverse industries will share not only their space, but also their tools and know-how. The support and development of start-ups, a creative society and a reshaping identity and culture will become the driving force behind the district's carved-out character.

Przeróbka, aksonometria

redesign, axonometry

© Karol Drobniewski

phased site recovery

The phased reclaiming of the land and preparing it for investment is also included in the project. Along the eastern border, the author has planned a park with „productive greenery” where remediation will be carried out. Objects in poor condition will be demolished, and the remains will be recycled and reused. The author plans to gradually renovate historic buildings, some of which will continue to serve as local manufactories, while the rest will be used for socio-cultural functions.

The whole process is intended to begin the process of the community's „familiarization” with the area and remediation, which involves cleaning up the site from the harmful elements found there as a result of more than a century of industrial activity. The construction of new buildings with residential and commercial functions will start from the southern part of the area along Siennicka Street and will be implemented gradually to the northern border of the area, creating a more complete picture of the district, the designer explains.

Architektura i urbanistyka obszaru Przeróbki

Architecture and urban planning of the Przeróbka area

© Karol Drobniewski

friendly district

The urban planner's priority was to create a compact and pedestrian-friendly district with a rich offer of leisure activities. He preserved the existing tree canopies and tracks, which he used to launch a local means of transportation—a handcar. Meanwhile, in the green areas, he proposed a ten-hectare Linear Park.

The master plan was created in the most flexible way possible, allowing for the possibility of further designers to „sculpt” the district in further design phases, Karol Drobniewski adds.

Dzielnica będzie miała bogatą ofertę funkcji

The district will have a rich offer of functions

© Karol Drobniewski

The design area can be conventionally divided into two parts: the area of the historic urban layout and the „new part”, which is the area, spreading behind the existing entrance between the multifamily buildings located at 41 Przetoczna St. In the historic layout, the author introduced quarter buildings. The new quarters have a height of five stories—comparable to the buildings on the existing Przeróbka site. The sizes of the quarters are dictated by the widths and lengths of the wagon repair hall and locomotive repair hall, as well as the surrounding buildings. The wagon repair hall was enlarged by the author with buildings located on an elevation by means of pillars that do not disturb the structure of its walls.

Część budynków nadal będzie pełniła funkcję lokalnych manufaktur

Some of the buildings will continue to serve as local manufactures

© Karol Drobniewski

"growth of the city towards water"

Interestingly, the local plan does not impose height limits, hence the decision to build high-rise buildings that will be outside the historic layout of the city, rising in a northwesterly direction, ending with the tallest building at 96 meters.

Their gentle rise toward the Vistula is meant to be a symbol of „the city's growth toward the water.” Their location along the edge of the new Siding Street, is also combined with the creation of an acoustic barrier to the active railroad tracks three hundred meters away leading toward the Port. It is important that the buildings will complement the city's landscape in an interesting way, introducing dominants visible from important vantage points, such as Biskupia Górka and Góra Gradowa, orplaces that serve as exposition foregrounds, for example, Ołowianka, or the Imperial Shipyard Basin, and will also become a background for accents—the Pressure Tower and the Boiler Room Chimney located in the area. High-rise buildings are not visible from the human level in the area, so they do not disrupt its spatial order with an intimate character. In addition, their introduction, can compensate for the cost of upgrading historic buildings and numerous public spaces for the future developer, the author explains.

The new buildings offer a variety of forms of housing—lofts, apartments, standard apartments for every budget, student housing, cohousing and senior housing. In addition to commercial, business and office space, there are workshop-like units.

Przeróbka stanie się dzielnicą pełną życia

rework will become a neighborhood full of life

© Karol Drobniewski

public spaces

The new city is intended to be a place of stability, health and a sense of security, where the space, between buildings, is designed for living in a green and friendly fabric, reminding us of the railroad history. The public spaces will be based on the theory of the third place, acting as leisure functions, not only from work, but also from daily activities, Karol Drobniewski adds.

The main core of the public spaces is a grid of preserved tracks, marking five lanes in the area, which integrate with the core—a compositional axis routed along the historic buildings. It is on this grid that the system of local squares is based, with each square assigned its own functions. The whole is filled with connections located on the northeast and southwest axes, which take on the character of intimate streets. The remaining streets perform traffic functions.

Autor wprowadził Park Liniowy

The author introduced Linear Park

© Karol Drobniewski

Linear Park

In the renovated Przeróbka there is room for two parks, which account for 1/4 of the development area. A special place is the Linear Park, based on the theory of the fourth nature, which is a wild resting place. In this way, the designer also wants to honor the memory of the Stutthof-Przeróbka sub-camp once located here. He proposes walking routes, paths and pedestals for locally created art, as well as plantings of fruit trees. In the future, Przetoczona Street is to be rebuilt and become one of the main accesses to the port, so the park will act as a noise barrier.

The creation of the district in accordance with the idea of a productive city in the area will allow the creation of a completely new place, with a decidedly different quality compared to the shaped areas in the city, as well as in the country, while creating the first productive district in Poland, assures Karol Drobniewski.

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