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Paprocany, or architecture for ordinary people

13 of October '19
Technical data
Name: Recreation Center "Paprocany" in Tychy -.
Investor: Tychy City Hall
Location: , Tychy, Parkowa Street
Author: Robert Skitek
Author cooperation: Jakub Zygmunt, Jarosław Zieliński, Szymon Borczyk, Marcin Jamroż, Dorota Zwolak, Katarzyna Wiśniewska
Construction: Jan Kostorz


  • Design:
  • implementation



  • land

approx. 2ha

General contractor: P.P.U.H. Akces Brunon Kieloch

Name: Recreation Center "Paprocany" in Tychy -.
Water playground
Investor: Tychy City Hall
Location: , Tychy, Parkowa Street
Author: Robert Skitek
Author collaboration: Jakub Zygmunt, Szymon Borczyk
Zdzislaw Banaś, Piotr Balik (AQUATER)
Construction: PW-2 Design and Construction Office
Water technologies: Maciej Papiurek, Krzysztof Wacek, Anna Terentjew


  • design
  • implementation



  • land
  • buildings
  • total

1 450 m²
333 m²
354 m²

General Contractor: PROBUD
approx. 1.7 million PLN

From the archives of A&B - the best Polish projects of the last decade

[A&B 12'2015 original material]

In Tychy, a promenade and a water playground were created on Lake Paprocany. This public space, which operates independently of the city, has become a meeting and recreation place for residents. They come there to relax, take a walk or go on a date. The architect from the RS+ studio Robert Skitek is interviewed by Malgorzata Tomczak.

Malgorzata Tomczak: What is the genesis of the promenade with a water playground on Lake Paprocanskie in Tychy?

Robert Skitek: Lake Paprocanskie has long been a much-loved and frequently visited place by residents. In recent years, the city of Tychy has regularly invested in the area, especially in the recreation center. New alleys, playgrounds have been built, including an aquatic, floating platform, a new restroom building, changing rooms, and a path around the lake. The promenade is the next phase of these activities. And certainly not the last.

widok na pomosty od strony wody

view of the piers from the water side

© RS+

Margaret: The project was divided into stages. Could you talk about these different stages and the space that was created? What value did it bring to the city?

Robert: The promenade was created between the resort and a complex of restaurant and sailing club buildings, along a shore previously used mainly by fishermen.

The wooden promenade runs along the entire shoreline - a meandering string that alternately faces the lake and moves away from it. This allows for different perceptions of the space from different points along the promenade. At the retreating points, the promenade connects to the rear pedestrian and bicycle path, while at the points going out over the water it descends almost to its level. The promenade also features an opening with a net stretched over the water and specially designed benches, which can also serve as stands for those watching water sports competitions taking place on the lake. The development is complemented by attractions: a new sandy beach and an outdoor gym.

Prior to the investment, the area was just a lawn by the side of the road. Despite its scenic value, it was completely unused.

Already in the first weeks after opening, despite the lack of favorable weather, the promenade became a place crowded with residents. It became a fully functioning public space, a new meeting place. During the day a place for strolling by whole families, in the evening a place for date nights and contemplation.


cross sections

© RS+

Margaret: What materials did you use in the project? What is the construction like?

Robert: The primary goal in selecting finishing materials was to emphasize the natural landscape character of the landscaped area using natural materials. The finish of the boardwalk and benches is natural wood. We were very keen that it should be just a natural material - naturally aged. It also refers to the wood we used earlier on the water playground. The structure of the platforms consists of steel beams set on concrete piles. Part of the structure has been covered up by appropriately landscaping the area and sowing it with grass.

Margaret: What are the most important tasks architects face when designing a public space?

Robert: Everyone would like the space they created to be alive, full of people and their daily activities. Every designer and investor. I think this is not only the result of good design. In general, it is a very complicated task, not only in terms of design. After all, each public space will have a different historical, social context. It is necessary to take all this into account and combine it with the expectations of users, not anonymous, but those specific ones that make up the local community.

konstrukcja wstęgi promanady

promanada ribbon construction

© RS+

Malgorzata: What were the most important design tasks of the Paprocan promenade? Have they been achieved?

Robert: The obvious goal was to integrate it into the natural landscape. Its function was to allow people who are not necessarily comfortable in the noisy surroundings of playgrounds to relax. Typically, there are older people sitting on the long seat, with youngsters just below them on the net. Together, right next to each other, they all enjoy the space. It's not up to me to judge, but I'm very pleased with the results that have been achieved here, including aesthetic, but especially social.

Margaret: You run a blog, where one can read book reviews, see interesting realizations of single-family houses, follow the stages of the creation of your house. In your opinion, do the trade media in Poland fulfill their task well? Are their pages open enough for discussions with architects and - perhaps - shaping the tastes of readers outside the industry?

Robert: Is that what the trade media are for? Are they meant for people outside the industry? Specialty magazines, of which we have only a few, probably not. And magazines related to home building or decorating are governed by their own rules and don't have an educational mission regarding architecture. Although this one, too, is changing for the better and is driven more by market research and current demand than by thoughtful education.

wodny plac zabaw

water playground

photo: Tomasz Zakrzewski /

It seems to me that in our country architecture is still not an interesting topic for the mainstream media. Of course, one writes about large and expensive facilities: previously sports, more recently cultural. And that's good. But there is still no mass media interest in architecture for ordinary people - public spaces or homes. These are the design topics close to the majority, and they are the ones that are likely to provoke broader discussions, perhaps even have an impact on shaping the tastes of nonprofessionals. Another thing is that it is not easy to write about architecture in a non-trivial but interesting way for laymen, or to make a program about it, and I do not know many good examples.

Now, fortunately, we have the Internet, where we can easily find the best realizations and stigmatization of grotesque examples. I think this is the medium that can have the greatest impact on improving our tastes. However, nothing can replace proper aesthetic education - the kind that is normal in schools, which is grassroots work.

And as for my blog: the reason for starting it was noticing on one of the construction forums a complete misunderstanding of what the work of an architect is about. Therefore, its main thread is the section "Why do I need an architect?" Such a guide for the investor.

Margaret: Thank you for the interview!

interviewed: Malgorzata TOMCZAK

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