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Semi-Worlds. Design of a multi-family building in Warsaw's Praga district

Dobrawa Bies
30 of June '21

Architecture students at the Warsaw University of Technology - Monika Palczewska and Zuzanna Trzcińska - have created a design for a residential building in Praga. However, Halfworlds is more than just another multi-apartment building. The authors focused on creating a space that is a stage for everyday life.

Half-worlds, according to the authors, is a slice of space characterized by something distinctive - the activities of people who have something in common. Monika Palczewska and Zuzanna Trzcinska conducted numerous analyses of the rich context of Prague before moving on to the design process of the building. They decided that due to its extensive history, as well as the strongly defined character of the district, the newly designed building would be a reference to Prague's distinctive world and smaller half-worlds.

Budynek wielorodzinny na
Pradze

The building refers in character to Warsaw's Praga district

© Monika Palczewska, Zuzanna Trzcińska

scenes for life

The architects assumed the creation of an adaptable space, allowing the separation of various zones inside and outside building, thus building scenes for neighborhood life. One of the problems they raised is the anonymity and alienation of typical developer housing estates, and the authors wanted to prevent this. In addition to the standard apartments, the project introduces some cohousing, thus responding to the problem of the lack of diversity of the societies living in the various estates.

Półświaty
w Warszawie, idea

The building was divided into three worlds

© Monika Palczewska, Zuzanna Trzcińska

The building was divided into three worlds, connected through risers and neighborhood levels. This division was shaped in accordance with the historical context. The building was created on the outline of a tenement house continuing the existing buildings.

The innercourtyard refers to the musical tradition of Prague and creates a real stage. The multitude of gateway passageways and music from the interior are meant to encourage passersby to spend time in the courtyard and make connections, the authors add.

Półświaty
w Warszawie, plan zagospodarowania terenu

The building is built around a courtyard

© Monika Palczewska, Zuzanna Trzcinska

repetitive modules and sustainable construction

The building was designed on a repetitive structural module, which allows for any arrangement of space or combining modules and apartment sizes depending on the family's current needs. In order to facilitate this, the distribution of installation cubicles has also been optimized, so as to, as little as possible, define the need to locate specific rooms.

Półświaty
w Warszawie, rzut kondygnacji powtarzalnej

The building was designed on a repeatable structural module

© Monika Palczewska, Zuzanna Trzcińska

The structure of the building consists of wooden columns and beams. Wood has the property of accumulating greenhouse gases throughout its life cycle, which is why it was also used on the facade. In this way, the authors are trying to introduce the principles of sustainable construction. The way the apartments are created also aspires to it. Each of them is ventilated from two sides.

 Półświaty to
budynek wielorodzinny

The windows are set back and form loggias

© Monika Palczewska, Zuzanna Trzcińska

The largest amount of glazing is on the south and, in the case of the cohousing, on the west. The southern windows have been set back, creating loggias. These measures allow the building to be heated and ventilated by renewable energy sources such as the sun and wind. They thus reduce the building's demand for usable energy. An integral part of sustainability is access to greenery. The authors planned to place greenhouses in common spaces. They influence the microclimate of the interiors and supply residents with fresh fruits and vegetables, even in strictly residential areas.

common areas

Półświaty
w Warszawie, rzut parteru

the first floor includes a clubhouse, a music fireplace, a recording studio, among others

© Monika Palczewska, Zuzanna Trzcińska

Thecommon parts are the bonding element of the project. In cohousing, they encourage use even for basic activities, such as preparing meals. Entrances are provided from galleries, open or closed depending on the location and area of the individual apartments. Inner corners of the building serve as terraces, echoing the location of stairwells in historic townhouses. The terraces also combine private life with the musical spirit of the courtyard.

Półświaty
w Warszawie, elewacje

The building was designed according to the principles of sustainable architecture

© Monika Palczewska, Zuzanna Trzcińska

The project is an attempt to find a compromise between the sustainability of architecture and the variability of residents' lives due to the passing of time. It provides for the fulfillment of numerous needs, but gives us the opportunity to choose which of them we opt for today," the authors conclude.

We would like to remind you that the student competition HE ALTHYHOUSE is underway. We are looking for designs of single-family and multi-family houses that are user- and nature-friendly, functional and created with the residents in mind. Submit your works.

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