Check out the A&B portal!

Library and Cultural Center in Pniewy. Restoration of historic building in passive standard

26 of May '21
Technical data
Name: Building of the Public Library and Cultural Center of the City of Pniewy in passive standard
Location: Poland, Pniewy Municipality
Studio: Nana Studio of Architecture (Ilona Najdek-Bajer), Siergiej Studio of Architecture (Grzegorz Siergiej).
Collaboration: Zmrok
Calendar: 2019-2020

In Pniewy, a city in Wielkopolskie Voivodeship, an abandoned building of the former Scout's House stood for years on Wolności Street. The municipality decided to transform the historic building into a library and local cultural center, and won EU funding for the purpose. However, the project, as it later turned out, entailed many challenges, which were faced by a team of architects from Nana Studio of Architecture, Sergei Studio and Zmrok.

A condition of receiving funding from the European Union was to design the building to a certified passive standard; unfortunately, as the technical expertise showed, it was not possible to adapt the existing building to these requirements. After consulting with the investors and the conservator, the architects took a detailed inventory of the Scout building and designed, or basically reconstructed, a new passive building with the same dimensions at the site.

The southern elevation of the building, due to its non-normative distance to the border of the neighboring plot, was set back. The protruding wall sections reflect the historic building. The reconstructed building and the added part create a walkway that allows passersby to shorten the distance between the market and the school and service areas. The whole invites people to use the library's resources, view exhibitions, learn about the program of events or relax on the café terrace with a small pond, write architects from the Zmrok studio.



© Nana Studio of Architecture, Sergey Studio of Architecture, Zmrok

Functional solutions inside and flexible spatial layout were designed in cooperation with employees of the Cultural Center, and so from the side of the city square the entrance to the building is encouraged by a large window, which allows you to look into the reading room for children and young people, a glass link leads to the performance hall located on the first floor, and the cafe also serves as a foyer and waiting room for parents whose children take part in activities. On the first floor, in turn, an adult reading room and offices have been located.

Ilona Najdek-Bajer, an architect at Nana Studio of Architecture, talks about the project and its challenges.

Ola Kloc
: The project was quite problematic - initially, the former Scout building was to be transformed into the headquarters of the Library and Cultural Center, but EU funding involved the need to create a building in passive standard - tell us about this process, please.

Ilona Najdek-Bajer: When we started working on the project, we based on the guidelines provided by the investor. We actually had an existing building listed in the municipal register of monuments, located in the area of the historic urban layout. The original idea was to reconstruct and expand the existing building, but after a technical expertise was carried out, it turned out that it was not suitable for further use, even after possible reconstruction. As a result, the provincial conservator granted the request to demolish it and reconstruct its body in order to preserve the existing urban layout. In the end, a new building is being constructed - referring in its massing to the old one - expanded with a part that is mainly the hall of the Cultural Center.

rzut first floorrzut first floorrzut first floor

first floor projection

© Nana Studio of Architecture, Sergey Studio of Architecture, Zmrok.

The entire building was designed to passive standard. During the design process, we drew on our experience and consulted the project on an ongoing basis with specialists from the Guenter Schlagowski Polish Institute for Passive Building and Renewable Energy in Gdansk. We focused our attention on the proper selection of materials used, including window joinery, insulation of the building envelope and technical equipment, which is of great importance in the case of passive buildings.

: What changes were made to the original body of the building and what were they due to?

Ilona: The main body of the building was reconstructed with minor changes, which were mainly due to the need for adequate space for the future library. The passive standard also imposes on us certain requirements or optimal solutions related, for example, to the location and insolation of rooms. Hence, for example, the gentle retreat of the south wall or an additional dormer in the roof.

In addition, the building has been enlarged to include a part with a hall for about two hundred people. "Old" and new parts, in accordance with the conservator's guidelines, were visually separated by a connector with glass facades.


floor plan

© Nana Studio of Architecture, Sergey Studio of Architecture, Twilight

: What was the most difficult part of this project, and what are you most satisfied with?

Ilona: I think the most difficult thing was the simultaneous consideration of conservation, investor and passive standard requirements. We were also limited by the size of the plot, but fortunately we managed to work out a compromise and implement the program. This is what we are most satisfied with.

In addition, together with Fractalmind, we designed the interiors of the future library and cultural center - that is, we created a comprehensive design of the building. I very much hope that the building will serve younger and older residents of the city and municipality of Pniewy. We are currently in the process of completing the project, it is expected that later this year the facility will be made available to future users.

Ola: Thank you for the interview.

Ola Kloc

The vote has already been cast