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Nina Kempa - "The role of green areas in the city. Environmental education center as a direction to restore the former glory in the Silesian Park"

21 of August '23
Technical data
Type: master's thesis
Year of defense: 2022

Nina Kempa

Wydział Architektury Politechniki Warszawskiej

Dr. Justyna Zdunek-Wielgołaska, Paweł Grodzicki

Work submitted for the competition
"Best Diploma Architecture".

Today, gardens are no longer just a place to admire, but green areas that are part of the city's ecosystem, which perform many social functions and often become co-created places. The work confronts these findings with the conditions of the selected site, resulting in a multidimensional strategy for the park: from a macro approach - a general vision for the site, to a micro scale - the development of development and architectural intervention in the selected section of the park.

plan zagospodarowania terenu

site development plan

© Nina Kempa

The Silesian Park was established in 1950 on the border of three cities, Katowice, Chorzów and Siemianowice Śląskie, and to date it is the largest example of an urban park establishment in Poland (620 hectares). It was created as a compensation for the poor environmental conditions of a heavily urbanized region and, like many sites of the era, as a strong propaganda piece. The investment was a success, and the site itself is still an interesting example of conscious cultural landscaping and successful revitalization of brownfield sites. Today, however, the park is neglected and, despite the ongoing modernization work, there is no coherent vision for its development.

przekrój terenowy, strefy

field cross-section, zones

© Nina Kempa

This concept represents a vision for the future of the park. With such a large scale of the site, the first step was to set an overall strategy; the park was divided into nature zones: forest, clearing, garden, promenade and square. The different zones differ in the type of vegetation and the degree of equipment; the type of zone will also be a determinant for the activities we can expect there.

strefa lasu strefa ogrodu

forest and garden zones

© Nina Kempa

strefa polany strefa promenady

clearing and promenade zones

© Nina Kempa

The next stage was the transformation of the chosen location - the site of the former National Horticultural Exhibition. This decision was influenced by the discovery of an object that had disappeared from the park forever - the Tower Greenhouse.

Measuring 54 meters and being the tallest greenhouse in the world and the first example of vertical cultivation in Poland, it was used for experimental plant cultivation using the hydroponic method. In 1983, after less than twenty years of operation, it was demolished due to poor technical condition.

widok terenu od strony stawu

view of the site from the side of the pond

© Nina Kempa

The goal of the project was to return to the roots and restore the image of the site as an innovative and education-oriented place. An additional aspect is participation understood as garden work and environmental education. The new establishment fits into a circle formed from the existing composition of paths, and each of its parts has its own individual character. The first, with the existing exhibition hall Hat, continues this function in the form of exhibitions and a periodic market. Next to it is a section dedicated to manufacturing, with a new Greenhouse Tower in the center. The third quarter is dedicated to the botanical garden with a palm house pavilion. The last section houses greenhouse crops and a restaurant using the garden's harvest. The entire establishment is unified by a strip consisting of a set of water reservoirs and meadows.

plan zagospodarowania terenu obiekty

site plan and facilities

© Nina Kempa

The architectural design seeks to restore the former facility of the Greenhouse Tower, but in a way that will enrich the park with new functions. In addition, its technological aspect could be a continuation of the innovative heritage of the area and a direction for further development of vertical agriculture in the region. The old architectural expression has been preserved, with the new building taking the form of a transparent tall cylinder rising from a rectangular glass substructure, which has grown significantly in the new building to accommodate the new functions. The previous program involving hydroponic production was expanded to include educational and social aspects.

wieża, przekrój długi wieża, elewacja długa

tower, cross-section and elevation

© Nina Kempa

First of all, the pavilion has been opened to the public, along with the tower section, which offers an observation deck in addition to the tour itself. The building also houses an exhibition hall and a lecture hall. The building is a lightweight pavilion based on circular columns with a fully glazed facade that opens to the outside. Thanks to this solution, it melts with the landscape, and will offer a view of the beautiful green surroundings.

wizualizacja parku

visualization of the park

© Nina Kempa


Illustrations: © Author

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