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Mateusz Tomaszewski - "Katharsis. Adaptation of the Concrete Shipwreck in Szczecin".

12 of January '23
Technical data
Type: master's thesis
Year of defense: 2022
Author: Mateusz Tomaszewski
Wydział Architektury Politechniki Śląskiej

Dr. Jerzy Wojewódka

Work submitted for the competition
"Best Diploma Architecture"

Everyone's life consists of moments that are beautiful, full of happiness and smiles, as well as moments that we would rather forget stressful, full of bitterness, reminding us of wounds that have never fully healed. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed, distracted, sad, slowly closing in on ourselves we feel bad. An attempt to solve this problem is this work: its theme is catharsis cleansing, also understood as restoration to proper functioning. The term refers to people who want to shed the burden of tiresome affairs, but also to the adapted object, which is the wreck of a reinforced concrete ship left without an idea the Concrete Ship.

lokalizacja Betonowca        lokalizacja Betonowca

location of the Concrete Ship

© Mateusz Tomaszewski

Concrete Ship

Reinforced concrete ships are relics of the past, few people know of their existence, and even fewer are aware that there are two such objects within the borders of present-day Poland. The one chosen for the diploma project is located in the northern part of Lake Dąbie in Szczecin. By virtue of its uniqueness, it is a tourist attraction in its own right, located in the beautiful areas of the Oder Valley. Unfortunately, its condition is deteriorating year by year, and through lack of maintenance it may disappear forever. An element that approximates the degree of neglect is the tree that has grown on the bow of the ship.


przekrój A-A

elevation and cross-section A-A

© Mateusz Tomaszewski

about the project

The project is based on the universality and ambiguity of individual elements. This allows for a personal experience of the object. Entering the interior of the object served as a metaphor for looking inside oneself and searching for the title purification. Walking through the vessel and experiencing the various stages and elements of the interior is meant to encourage the viewer to ask himself questions about the reality in which he lives, about making decisions that affect his immediate environment and inner experience. The concrete building is meant to allow the viewer to experience various states and emotions, to cause a stir, to remind him of the essential elements of life, in order to ultimately lead to an improvement in mental condition. The chosen minimalist style of the work and the story that is an integral part of the diploma allow one to mentally travel through the project and empathize with the character traversing the object in search of catharsis.

aksonometria wnętrz

interior axonometry

© Mateusz Tomaszewski

the way

The goal of the experience experienced during a stay at the Concrete Building is to be a catharsis  a purification to which a certain path leads, different for each person. What form it will take depends only on the people who are to take it, which will be helped by the various elements encountered along the way, such as a bowl used for the "ritual," a mirror, a bench, a door, a tree on the prowl, darkness or silence.

grafika „Droga”        grafika „Ulotność”

"Road" and "Fleeting" graphics

© Mateusz Tomaszewski

rooms and elements

Arriving at the ship, one enters the platform, which is a moment of relative stability in relation to the boat trip. Walking on the gangway leading to the deck, one overcomes the framework, which can symbolize overcoming difficult moments in life, while descending into the concrete interior of the object evokes a longing for the world full of nature visible on the surface.

przekrój, detal E        przekrój, detal F

cross sections

© Mateusz Tomaszewski

We come across a large door that opens in accordance with the direction of the path being traveled. Then we enter a room with a bowl in which a fire burns, with a structure resembling an emporium meant to emphasize the mystical essence of fire. The next room is a columbarium with a mirror in the shape of a hole in the hull, giving the illusion of the enormity of the number of people who have already passed away. After passing it, we find ourselves in a room of silence, from which we can either reach the last room, or return to the earlier ones if we are not ready for purification.

przekrój, detal G        przekrój, detal I

cross sections

© Mateusz Tomaszewski

In the last room, which is accessed by a door that opens in a non-obvious way, there are two benches and a mirror-shaped door from the earlier room, enclosed by columns in an elliptical circle meant to emphasize the importance of these elements. The experience may culminate when the door opens, and we see the person sitting on the other side, because in the other person is a reflection of ourselves.


Illustrations: © Author

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