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Project to activate seniors. A modern cultural center in Rzeszow

Dobrawa Bies
06 of August '21

{Student}, a student at the Faculty of Construction, Environmental Engineering and Architecture at Rzeszow University of Technology, observing the growing phenomenon of an aging population, designed a community center specifically for seniors and tailored to their needs. The modern building, located on a hill overlooking the Rzeszow skyline, was divided into zones: sports, cultural and gastronomic.

The student's goal was to create a space focused on cultural activities for seniors and contained in a minimalist form. The building was to stand out from the architecture of Rzeszow and be adapted in terms of function and use to the needs of the elderly. The work was done under the direction of Professor Marek Gosztyła.

The creation of architecture intended for a specific audience is a response to the progressive demographic phenomena in society and the issue of universality of designing architecture without barriers, for everyone, says the author.

Ośrodek kultury dla
seniorów w Rzeszowie

The community center is located on the Matysowka estate

© Karolina Kowal

community center on the hill

For the location of the design plot, the student chose an area located in Rzeszow's Matysowka estate. This area, recently annexed to the city, has considerable scenic qualities and is located away from the large concentration of downtown services. The author planned the building on a hill with a view of the Rzeszow skyline. The neighborhood is characterized by low car traffic, so the air is not polluted. Karolina also wanted to draw attention to the area, which in the future could become an important point on the tourist and cultural map of Rzeszow.

środek kultury dla
seniorów, zagospodarowanie terenu

The object was placed in the central part of the plot

© Karolina Kowal

The author proposed to place the building in the central part of the plot, where it is the widest. As access she used the existing road from the eastern border of the plot, paving it with asphalt and introducing pedestrian and bicycle paths. At the corner, the student designed the entrance, in the form of a paved road leading to the building itself, providing the possibility of deliveries, and placed a surface parking lot for cars at the entrance.

In the western part of the plot, sheltered from the south by trees, is an area for relaxation and integration. Here there are seating areas and a free space to move around. The concept is based on an arrangement of larger and smaller modules, in top view being rectangles. There are greenery flower beds, large segments for seating and chess tables. In the northern part of the plot, green areas have been designated for sowing with wildflower species that will form a pet-friendly flower meadow.

 Ośrodek kultury dla
seniorów, elewacje

The facade was covered with corrugated fiber cement panels in dark red color

© Karolina Kowal

distinctive red building

In the pre-design assumptions, the lump of the community center was to be integral with the surroundings, but also characteristic because of the function it serves. The designer opted for a building not exceeding two stories for the sake of the existing two-story buildings in the close vicinity and the location on a hill.

The cultural center has been divided into three zones: sports, cultural and cultural-catering, which are connected by a glazed connector. The cultural and gastronomic zone was elevated to the next floor, thus creating a view opening to the Rzeszow skyline. This zone was rotated with respect to the world and covered with a mono-pitched roof to improve insolation and place photovoltaic panels on the slope.

Ośrodek kultury dla
seniorów, rzut parteru Ośrodek kultury dla
seniorów, rzut piętra

ground and first floor plans of the center

© Karolina Kowal

The auditorium forms a separate block, and its height corresponds to two stories including roofing and trusses. The author proposed an additional entrance to this part of the building from the west side, so that the flow of people during a larger event would be smooth. The third part of the premise consists of technical facilities and sports and recreation rooms.

From the front, the building is to relate in shape to the development of single-family houses adjacent to the plot. The main circulation route is the lobby with the exhibition area. The lobby is completely glazed, a procedure that brings light to the interior and gives lightness to the establishment, which is laid out on 1225 square meters. The space is also a clear landmark with a reception area at the front door.

Ośrodek kultury dla
seniorów, przekrój

Due to the slope of the site, the building was designed on stepped foundations

© Karolina Kowal

modern and simple solutions

The center's interior includes, among other things, a library with a reading room, a restaurant, workshop rooms, exercise rooms and a large auditorium and theater. Floor surfaces have been finished with non-slip tiles, there are elevators at each circulation riser, and a contrasting, bright navigation and information system makes it easy to navigate the facility. The facade has been clad in a uniform material - corrugated fiber cement panels in dark red.

Ośrodek kultury o charakterystycznej, czerwonej elewacji

The building from the front is to relate in shape to the development of single-family houses

© Karolina Kowal

The proposed structural solutions for the load-bearing elements include the construction of walls in timber-frame technology. Due to the considerable slope of the terrain, the building was placed on stepped foundations. For insulation, the author proposed straw cube technology, which has a positive effect on the annual energy balance of the building, and is readily available in our climatic zone. It is also among the ecological insulating techniques increasingly used in construction.

The project was included in this year's Young Architect's Challenge.

Read also about a project for a coliving estate for the elderly in Morocco and a new model for a nursing home in Rzeszow.

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