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Mission Possible - a project for a micro-home development on a bridge in Pilchowice

Dobrawa Bies
19 of February '21

Can the bridge over Lake Pilchowice be saved? Szymon Chrzanowski and Sebastian Krawczyk of Wroclaw University of Technology say it is possible! The students, using the platforms of a forgotten railroad bridge, designed the Mission Possible modular microdome housing development . Their proposal took part in the MICROHOME 2020 competition organized by Bee Breeders.

The task of the MICROHOME 2020 competition was to design a modular structure in the sustainable architecture trend, with an area of no more than 25 square meters. The design had to include a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, work and relaxation space, as well as storage space. The organizers encouraged participants to think about spatial organization, incorporate unique aesthetics, new technologies and innovative materials. The object could be placed anywhere in the world.

Most nad jeziorem
w Pilchowicach

Railroad bridge over Lake Pilchowickie

Photo: Pawel Kuźniar (Jojo_1, Jojo) / CC BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)

The Mission Possible project calls for the construction of seven micro-houses with a building area of no more than 25 square meters. The students of the Wroclaw University of Technology proposed a decommissioned bridge over Lake Pilchowice located near the village of Strzyzowiec as the site for the project. Recently, this bridge, became the subject of public discussion and dispute because of a controversial idea - it was to be blown up by Tom Cruise in the next part of the movie Mission Impossible. The design challenge faced by the authors was to use the forgotten and disused structure to adapt it for new residential functions. The design work was supervised by Dr. Eng. arch. Anna Bać.

Przekrój jednego
z mikrodomów

The authors designed microdomes placed on old railroad platforms

© Szymon Chrzanowski, Sebastian Krawczyk

history of a forgotten bridge

Thelattice-architecture bridge, supported on two concrete pillars, is suspended over the Pilchowice Lake. The structure was built in 1906 as part of the German railroad line running from Jelenia Góra to Lwówek Slaski. Currently, the bridge is not in use, and the last train run took place in 2017. The structure is considered one of the tallest railroad bridges in Poland - its parabola is 38 meters from the bottom of the Bay of Beaver river, and the total length of the structure is 135 meters. It survived the war, the attempts of the Germans to blow it up, however, it may not survive Tom Cruise.

Wnętrze jednego
z mikrodomów

Large glazing provides a view of the surrounding nature

© Szymon Chrzanowski, Sebastian Krawczyk

Mission Possible estate

The architecture proposed by Sebastian Krawczyk and Szymon Chrzanowski was to become a form of protest and a proposal to look at the forgotten structure in a new light and give it a residential function. On the 135-meter-long and 4-meter-wide bridge, the authors designed micro-houses placed on old railroad platforms. Both they and the garden modules between the houses are meant to resemble passing trains. The building area of each house is only 25 square meters. Inside, the authors have separated rest and relaxation areas, a work zone, a kitchen, a bedroom for two and a bathroom. Further spaces have been separated by built-ins to save space and create additional storage areas.

Mission Possible, rzut

The built-up area of each house is 25 square meters

© Szymon Chrzanowski, Sebastian Krawczyk

Communication between the buildings is carried out on a separate common space. The path created in this way allows access to the houses and their accompanying gardens. The extreme platforms have been given the functions of technical buildings, a waste collection area and a bicycle room. The location of the buildings, the large glazing and the southwestern exposure provide constant access to natural light and allow admiring the surrounding landscape.

the second life of the bridge

The architecture of the buildings blends into the existing landscape, almost hiding in the bridge structure. For its construction, the students proposed using local materials obtained from the nearby forest, river and village. The houses were designed from two, repetitive modules of wooden construction filled with a mixture of straw and clay. This technology provides adequate thermal and acoustic comfort inside the structures, and keeps the humidity of the rooms at the right level.

Osiedle Mission
Possible na moście

The authors hope that their project will show the possibilities of reviving and using forgotten objects

© Szymon Chrzanowski, Sebastian Krawczyk

The buildings are powered by energy obtained from photovoltaic panels. A tank on the roof and filtration provide drinking water. A gray water recovery system has been placed in each micro-dwelling, and waste water goes to a common tank of a biological treatment plant. The designed houses improve the quality of life of residents thanks to ecological solutions. The design of the Mission Possible estate, as the authors claim, is intended to show the possibilities of reviving and using forgotten or destined for demolition buildings.

Also participating in the MICROHOME 2020 competition was Zuzana Slabik, who received an honorable mention for her Modular House Unit project.

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