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Poles have designed a new district of the Czech city of Náchod

08 of June '21

A team of young Polish architects and urban planners, doctoral students of the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology, consisting of: Olga Czeranowska-Panufnik, Wladyslawa Kijewska, Piotr Person, Aleksander Sojka won first prize in the international architectural and urban planning competition "Nowa Tepna - multifunctional center of the city of Náchod". The task was to design, develop post-factory areas and create a new district in the Czech city of Náchod.

Náchod is a city of twenty thousand inhabitants located near the border with Poland's Kudowa-Zdrój. The goal of the competition was to design a vibrant new city district adjacent to the historic center and the castle. The new district is to be built on the site of the old Tepna textile factory. Twenty-six teams (a total of 160 architects and urban planners) entered the competition, whose designs were evaluated by a jury consisting of: Jaroslav Wertig (chairman of the jury, architect A69 - Architects), Tina Saaby (chief architect of Copenhagen 2010-2019), Marta Mnich (Polish office VROA), Pavel Hnilička (Architects + Planners), Viktor Vlach architect from Nakhod. The city was represented by Mayor Jan Birke and his deputies Jan Čtvrtečka and Michal Kudrnáč.

Nowa Tepna, rzut Nowa Tepna, schemat

The authors proposed a district plan based on a triangular layout of squares

© Olga Czeranowska-Panufnik, Władysława Kijewska, Piotr Person, Aleksander Sojka

The judges considered the proposal of the Polish team from Warsaw, consisting of: Olga Czeranowska-Panufnik, Władysława Kijewska, Piotr Person, Aleksander Sojka, awarding it one million crowns.

As the jury's justification reads:

The proposal deserves first place in all respects, as its authors best understood the relationship with the environment and incorporated it into the proposed solutions. The establishment of two axes, which start from the designed square near Tepna, logically and clearly divide the area into urban quarters [...]. The plan is simple and clear, and largely respects existing buildings and site conditions. Individual elements can be gradually supplemented over time and there is no need to build them all at once [...].

Second prize went to the Czech studio gogolák+grasse, composed of Ivan Gogolák, Lukáš Grasse, Ondřej Císler, Josef Choc, Filip Rašek, Matúš Berák and Barbora Lopraisová. Third place went to the Leto architects team from Moscow: Dmitrii Prikhodko, Pavel Kultyshev, Grigori Parfjenov and Diego Romeo.

Nowa, zielona, czeska

An important element of the project is the issue of biodiversity and adaptation to climate change

© Olga Czeranowska-Panufnik, Władysława Kijewska, Piotr Person, Aleksander Sojka

an inclusive neighborhood

Social cohesion and a sustainable environment are two issues that constitute the main axes of our project. Both values were directly translated into the concept on an urban, architectural and detailing scale; they were also reflected in the programming of functions. Recognizing the accessibility and diversity of public spaces as the foundation of an inclusive residential environment, we proposed a neighborhood plan based on a triangular layout of squares connected by roads, alleys and paths, in which pedestrians always have primacy, the authors explain.

The architects wanted to emphasize the diverse nature of these places so as to provide choices and meet the needs of different social groups. They gave each node thus created a different character, taking advantage of their composition and functions adjacent to public spaces.

Nowa Tepna,
aksonometria co-housingu Elewacje części co-housingu

The awarded work includes a design for co-housing, housing for seniors, communal housing, and quarters for devlopers' facilities, among others

© Olga Czeranowska-Panufnik, Władysława Kijewska, Piotr Person, Aleksander Sojka

social cohesion

On the architectural scale, to ensure inclusivity and tenant diversity, the architects proposed a diverse typology of development quarters. The following can be singled out: detail-designed profiled co-housing, senior and assisted housing, public housing (the competition information provided by the city included data showing the systematically depleted stock of public housing, indicating the need to expand it), and finally quarters intended for development. Residential development is complemented by a rich program of social services and complementary functions. Service, retail and office spaces are integrated into the quarters, in addition, a kindergarten in a multi-generational center, a mobility point, a social center, a technology center - all according to the competition guidelines - has been designed.

Nowa Tepna, widok

In the park, at the foot of the castle slope, there is an urban wetland

© Olga Czeranowska-Panufnik, Władysława Kijewska, Piotr Person, Aleksander Sojka

sustainable environment

An equally important thread in our project is the issue of biodiversity and adaptation to climate change. We distinguished three types of landscape: a large, green park area, a semi-urban landscape introducing natural greenery and water solutions into public spaces, and a tamed, urban landscape using only small green elements with a precisely defined form, the architects say.

Nowa Tepna,
pół-miejski krajobraz

a very important element of the project is water

© Olga Czeranowska-Panufnik, Władysława Kijewska, Piotr Person, Aleksander Sojka

With a view to ensuring good water retention and an appropriate microclimate, the architects introduced water elements everywhere. In the park, at the foot of the castle slope, they envisioned an urban wetland - a water retention area, periodically filling, through which a footbridge was routed. A system of smaller rain gardens was also introduced, and in the paved spaces a water playground, a fountain or retention basins along the roads. In one of the squares, the authors proposed a natural swimming pond.

Projekt parku

Greenhouses appear in many places

© Olga Czeranowska-Panufnik, Władysława Kijewska, Piotr Person, Aleksander Sojka

The roofs of the designed buildings are predominantly green, which supports water retention and a good energy balance. Greenhouses - a characteristic element of Náchod's development - appear in many places. The architects also proposed generating energy through photovoltaic panels, selecting construction materials from renewable sources (a significant proportion of CLT), or reusing water in the buildings' internal cycle. Troughs have been provided for nesting birds and insects in the details of the facades and roofs.

idea of compact city

The pandemic did not significantly change the design thinking of the authors, but highlighted themes that always seemed important to them.

In the context of the pandemic, issues of accessibility, enabling the needs of daily life to be met on site, consistent with the idea of the compact city and the 15-minute city, seem to be the most relevant. They emphasize the need to provide a full spectrum of social functions and services within a radius of convenient pedestrian access. In the context of the crisis, it has also become doubly significant to respond to the growing problem of mental health in the built environment, which is linked to its form, lack of access to greenery, and social atomization, explains the award-winning team.

Widok z lotu
ptaka na projektowaną dzielnicę

The design of the district was created in accordance with the idea of compact city and fifteen-minute city

© Olga Czeranowska-Panufnik, Władysława Kijewska, Piotr Person, Aleksander Sojka

In the project, it was particularly important to provide access to a variety of leisure and relaxation spaces, public and social places located outdoors, with unrestricted and free access. The team also placed emphasis on creating a space that is an excuse for interaction between different social groups.

And what is the future of the project? The authors are now in talks with the city authorities to develop an urban design and general guidelines, which will become the local plan for the area. Such a process will take about a year, so phasing was also an important part of the competition. We're keeping our fingers crossed for the realization of the project!

We also invite you to listen to an interview with the authors, which was conducted by Academic Campus Radio.

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