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Natalia Torbiarczyk - "Neighborhood of the edge: spaces between the city and the countryside, Wroclaw"

14 of February '24
Technical data
Type: master's thesis
Year of defense: 2023

Natalia Torbiarczyk

Wydział Architektury Politechniki Wrocławskiej
Dr. Ada Kwiatkowska

Work submitted for the competition
"Best Diploma Architecture"

The initial phase of the project and the search for its theme was a reflection on life on the border, at the interface between the city and the countryside, the so-called space between. A border is commonly understood as a line enclosing or separating a certain area, a way of division. Extending this concept, however, it can become a self-developing space with its own individual characteristics, an identified area.

sąsiedztwo skraju: przestrzenie pomiędzy miastem a wsią         analiza kształtów budynków z wybranego obszaru

Neighborhood of the edge: spaces between the city and the countryside; analysis of the shapes of buildings from the selected area

© Natalia Torbiarczyk

Bearing in mind the problem of Wrocław's peripheral neighborhoods, whose frequent problem is the lack of good communication, the first analyses focused on places on the edge of the city and the countryside, right next to the railroad lines. The next stage was the selection of the space subject to intervention the peripheral Mokra neighborhood in the northwestern part of the city.

The newly defined life between the city and the countryside was divided into four main stages of making changes in the existing area:

  1. a thorough inventory of the selected area;
  2. removal of buildings that degrade the space through their condition;
  3. designation of potential sites to be used for neighborhood houses integrating indigenous residents with newcomers;
  4. introduction of a new urban-rural settlement.

aksonometria i plan zagospodarowania terenu

axonometry and site development plan

© Natalia Torbiarczyk

The premise is based on the construction of a common wall using bricks from the demolition of an old stable. The wall was designed as a link between the houses built on its outside and the common heir inside; as a link between urban and rural areas. The new typology aims to bring together people who want to live together in the open landscape of the space in between.

schematy i rzuty dachu

diagrams and roof plans

© Natalia Torbiarczyk

An important step of community building is the creation of a neighborhood house. In the project, an unused horse stable took over such a function. Open workshop rooms, a shared kitchen and guest rooms are located on the first floor. The dormitory rooms would provide an opportunity for those willing to live there to check out the location in advance, and could become a place to live while the houses are being built. To the assembled group of willing people for community, participatory construction, simplified principles of construction and construction technology would be presented at the outset, so that in the future they could undertake most of the tasks themselves.

wizualizacja         wizualizacja


© Natalia Torbiarczyk

Once the inner courtyard has been delineated, a development framework will be created on the outer side of the wall, as well as a zone on the inner side for private home gardens, potential additions and the later introduction of necessary functions. After selecting a development typology for each new resident, the first stage of shaping the settlement follows the joint construction of the wall, the initial step of community construction. The next and most important step is the phased appearance of the first houses on the outside of the wall and the development of the inner courtyard.

rzuty, przekroje i elewacje

plans, sections and elevations

© Natalia Torbiarczyk

Houses of double-row frame construction with infill made of blocks of compressed straw or straw combined with clay have been planned. The first project is a single-family house for a family with two children. It was designed so that it is easy to separate the first floor from the first floor, which will allow the first floor to be developed after the children move out of the house for an additional apartment or other function.

rzuty i elewacje

plans and elevations

© Natalia Torbiarczyk

The semi-detached house was prepared in two versions. The first for residents who want to develop its second part into an office, the second project presents the arrangement of both parts of the house into living spaces, suitable for two families. The terraced development, due to the size of the premise, presents the final phase and its anticipated development scenario over time.

rzuty i elewacje

plans and elevations

© Natalia Torbiarczyk

The entire development is composed of rental space for singles and modules for two or more people. It is possible to create only a few modules at the beginning, which are then expanded and change with the needs of the residents on an additive form, as a living unit.


floor plans

© Natalia Torbiarczyk

The proposed design solution is intended to be a form of spatial experiment acting as an active element of the city's periphery. It is an expression of the border between the city and the countryside, between a compact and open structure at the same time. The edge neighborhood could remain an answer to the problem of the interface between the city and the countryside and give rise to a new perception of peripheral areas.


Illustrations: © Author

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