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The new life of the Recreation Center "Lucień". An idea for the forgotten Roundhouses

Dobrawa Bies
21 of December '22


Marcin Dryjer, a graduate of architecture at the Gdansk University of Technology, decided to save from oblivion the „Lucień” Recreation Center in Miałkowek. Built in the 1970s, now abandoned and falling into disrepair, the complex consists of distinctive Roundhouses, once used as a vacation spot for employees of Zyrardow's Linen Industry Plant. The young architect's proposal is to restore them to their glory, creating a Conference Center and a Museum of the People's Republic of Poland.

The presented work, „The Dilemmas of Postwar Architecture. How to Save Forgotten and Neglected Objects on the Example of Okrąglaki Lucień” was written as a master's diploma under the direction of Dr. Małgorzata Skrzypek-Lachińska in the Department of Residential Architecture and Public Utility at Gdansk University of Technology. The thesis was reviewed by Dr. Marek Gawdzik.

In October 2021, Marcin began looking for a topic for his upcoming master's degree—his goal was to find modernist buildings whose current state leaves much to be desired.

Położenie ośrodka, zdjęcia archiwalne i aksonometria

location of the center, archival photos and axonometry

© Marcin Dryjer

I came across the „Lucień” holiday resort on a group on FB about Urbex [urban exploration—a form of activity involving the exploration of abandoned, ruined, forgotten, inaccessible or hidden buildings and installations—editor's note]. After seeing photos of the place, I started looking for information, unfortunately, there wasn't much. I called local offices, conservationists and even a branch of the Warsaw University of Technology in Plock. Everywhere there are no documents of any kind—most likely they were lost/destroyed during the administrative reform in 1999. I found the only and original plans on the previously mentioned group, saved by one of the group members. Then I decided that the subject "chose me"—says the PG graduate.

„Lucień” anew

The „Lucień” resort is a facility erected in the 1970s by Zyrardow's Linen Industry Plant for its employees. The complex is located in Miałkowek—a village located in the Mazovian Voivodeship, with a population of about three hundred. The resort includes four large buildings on a circular plan—Okrąglaki, which in their glory years housed 120 rooms each to a high standard. Buildings A, B, C were connected to each other by glass corridors, together covering an area of seven thousand square meters.

Ośrodek Wypoczynkowy „Lucień” na nowo, wejście główne z mozaiką

Recreation center „Lucień” in a new way, main entrance with mosaics

© Marcin Dryjer

Today the resort stands empty, open and completely devastated. One should ask oneself, where did we go wrong? Do we not deserve such architecture? Have we simply failed as a people by not taking care of our heritage? Maybe," wonders the young architect.

Martin decided to restore the former splendor of the Roundhouses, which are part of the center, and completely rebuild the ground-floor building, converting it into a Conference Center. He also decided to erect a new building, intended for the Museum of the People's Republic of Poland.

The center is to operate on the principle of maximum immersion, so that tourists visiting the area will feel as if they have moved back in time to the 1970s. I intend to achieve this through, among other things, a number of activities—security guards dressed as militia, the use of cards and old "zlotys" as a method of payment, the organization of movie nights with Bareja's work projected on the wall of the Museum," the author lists.

PZT Ośrodka Wypoczynkowego „Lucień”

PZT of the Recreation Center „Lucień”

© Marcin Dryjer

The former splendor of Okrąglaki

Okrąglaki were treated by the designer as if they were a monument—he focused on restoring them to their former splendor and exposing the details, as well as on recreating the unrealized elements of the original design. He proposed an atrium garden in each of the Roundhouses, which he enclosed with a steel and glass structure. He decorated the walls with floral-patterned wallpaper, and the first floor of each building has a different function, being a catering area, a restaurant hall, and service establishments. The exception is the smaller Okrąglak, where the ceiling between floors has been removed, and its functions have been converted into a dance hall, where neighborhood parties and fajfs are to be held.

W Okrąglakach autor umieścił ogrody

In Okrąglak, the author has placed gardens

© Marcin Dryjer

Conference Center

In place of the single-story building, the author designed a Conference Center with two floors above ground and a utility terrace on the top floor, which serves as a foyer. The main entrance to the building is located to the east and is inspired by the architecture of holiday resorts.

Rzut parteru założenia i przekrój

first floor plan of the establishment and cross-section

© Marcin Dryjer

Particularly helpful during the design process was Marcin Wojdak 's book entitled. „The Last Turn. Postcards from holidays in the People's Republic of Poland,” which is rich in photos and descriptions of such assumptions. However, when creating the Conference Center, I did not want to recreate those buildings, but to design a contemporary center, referring to elements such as mosaics, terraces, suspended wooden ceilings and the use of natural materials on the facade. An interesting detail I included in the visualization of the entrance is the door—it's not just any door, but a reconstructed door, which is probably still in Mylark and held on two hinges," Marcin Dryjer says of the inspiration and design.

The designed facility includes an entrance area, recreation and game rooms, a conference center with a foyer, and all the necessary rooms needed for the proper operation of the entire center.

Na terenie ośrodka mogłoby powstać Muzeum PRL-u

A Museum of the People's Republic of Poland could be built on the grounds of the center

© Marcin Dryjer

Museum of the People's Republic of Poland

Another building proposed by Marcin is the Museum of the People's Republic of Poland—connected to the rest of the facilities by a characteristic connector.

The architecture of this building is a backdrop, it is meant to be a literal white sheet for the existing buildings, and in place of the unrealized roundhouse a cylinder twenty meters high and twelve meters in radius has been cut out. Such a joke, a negative. Through this procedure, a huge empty space was created, in which I designed ramps that serve as the main communication between floors. Thinking about what might appear in this large atrium, I started with what and how people would know. My train of thought: „It will be something viewed from all sides—and what is viewed from all sides? A sculpture. What kind of sculpture? A sculpture related to the People's Republic of Poland. "Teddy Bear.” This is how, ladies and gentlemen, „Teddy Bear” was created. „Teddy Bear” to the best of our ability—that's why it is not made of straw, but of aluminum," explains the author.

Rzeźba „Miś” z aluminium

„Teddy Bear” sculpture made of aluminum

© Marcin Dryjer

The museum has been divided into several zones: a permanent exhibition, a temporary exhibition and a VR zone.

The VR zone is one of the elements that will help bring people like me or younger people closer to the times of the People's Republic of Poland. Thanks to this technology, the museum can be a place that can be visited for longer periods of time, using various game scenarios. Those who choose to take advantage of this attraction will be transported to situations in which they can completely participate and influence the course of events. The situations may involve mundane moments inspired by the films of legendary. Polish directors. A brilliantly realized game in this technology is, for example, "TES V: Skyrim VR."—Marcin Dryjer adds.

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