Materials and Technologies for Architects – free online version

Magdalena Żądło - "Old Factory - urban activity space project".

Dobrawa Bies
30 of January '23
Technical data
Type: master's thesis
Year of defense: 2022
Author: Magdalena Żądło
University: Faculty of Interior Design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw.

Dr. Beata Dobryjanowicz

Work submitted for the competition
"Best Interior Design Diploma 2021/2023".

The thesis focuses on the importance of the former textile industry for the contemporary image of Bielsko-Biała. The architectural and urban transformations that took place, from the time of the first guild workshops to companies exporting their products to all continents, undoubtedly shaped the visual form of the city and the identity of the local community. Drawing on this multifaceted history, the project to revitalize the Old Factory building, a remnant of the Büttner family's cloth business, which now houses a branch of the Bielsko-Biała Historical Museum, is an attempt to combine the past with the challenges of the present.

Lokalizacja (fotografia archiwalna - Żywieckie Przedmieście - fabryka Büttnera)

© Magdalena Żądło

Based on the research conducted and after analyzing examples of revitalization of post-industrial spaces in Poland and Europe, the main assumptions of the project became: the creation of new jobs; counteracting negative social phenomena, including the marginalization and social exclusion of the elderly, physically disabled and children; reactivating disappearing professions; improving the visual quality of the downtown area; protecting objects of architectural value and historical significance.

Lokalizacja - pl. Żwirki i Wigury 8, Bielsko-Biała

© Magdalena Żądło

The goal of the work undertaken was to provide the city's residents and those from neighboring towns with a space that meets their diverse needs: from services, to entertainment, to education. The leitmotif of the project is the sociological significance of the factory in the fabric of the city. Just as in the past simple halls bound together the culturally, nationally and religiously diverse society of Podbeskidzie, so today different social groups will find themselves in the new space.

Stara Fabryka, koncepcja - strefy

© Magdalena Żądło

The concept is to divide the interior into three main functions: the first floor as a service space with designed craft „workshops”; the first floor, in the convention of open space, intended for educational activities; and the attic housing an exhibition space with a cocktail bar.

Stara Fabryka, przestrzeń wystawiennicza

© Magdalena Żądło

Giving the main part of the project to the aforementioned craft „workshops” is a reference to the history of the twin-city, whose development was coupled with the work of weavers and clothiers. It is also an attempt to discuss the importance of the services of local manufacturers in the context of mass production and its effects on the environment. The finishing materials used refer to the original function of the place, emphasizing the architect's intention, according to which the main determinant of the form was its function.

Stara Fabryka, koncepcja - strefy

© Magdalena Żądło

The common denominator for all the spaces is the restored original window and door woodwork and the transmission poles, which retain their original character. The walls are covered with ecological clay plaster in a shade of white, which serves as a background for the rich structures of the individual workshops. The colors used and the textures of the movable furnishings allude to materials produced at the Büttner factory, among others, samples of which are now stored in the museum's archives.

Stara Fabryka, drink bar, strefa rozrywkowa

© Magdalena Żądło

Work on the new interior functions is complemented by a concept for the area around the factory at Żwirki i Wigury Square. Its main idea is to expose the museum building and create a recreational space for both visitors to the Old Factory and residents of the tenements surrounding the square.

Stara Fabryka, open space

© Magdalena Żądło

An important element of the space is a newly routed pedestrian thoroughfare on a section of highly varied height. The use of ramps integrated into the natural relief of the terrain instead of stairs makes this important section, connecting two streets, accessible to people with mobility impairments.

Stara Fabryka, widok z poziomu tarasu zamkowego

© Magdalena Żądło

The proposed concept of the Old Factory as an Urban Activity Space could be a contribution to the discussion of the importance of the actions taken against the disappearing relics of the widely-understood textile industry that was once a landmark of the two-city area.

Magdalena ŻĄDŁO

Illustrations: © Author

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