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Porto Leba. Aparthotel between the Baltic Sea and Sarbsko Lake.

Dobrawa Bies
26 of October '22
Technical data
Name: Porto Leba
Function: Aparthotel
Location: Poland, Leba
Investor: Kristensen
Studio: Archmondo
Architect: Piotr Kowalczyk
Photos: Karolina Chęcińska
Building area: 1 619,58 m²
Cubic capacity: 17 394 m³
Building height: 12, 42 m
Number of floors: 4


  • project
  • implementation


Porto Leba is another development by Piotr Kowalczyk of the Archmondo studio located on the Polish coast. The new aparthotel was built on a former military area, between the Baltic Sea and Sarbsko Lake. Both the architect and the investor wanted to preserve the natural scenery and trees as much as possible - hence the location of the building on the edge of the vast plot, creating an intimate character.

Port Leba is surrounded by water

Porto Leba is surrounded by water

Photo: Karolina Chęcińska © Archmondo

Originally, the area on which the building is located was a military area, as evidenced, for example, by the preserved bunker hidden among the trees. Later, the plot ceased to serve its original function, making it possible to use it in a completely new way, explains Piotr Kowalczyk.

Aparthotel Porto Leba has a distinctive, contrasting facade

The aparthotel is hidden in the forest

Photo: Karolina Chęcińska © Archmondo

Porto Leba has four above-ground floors with a total of sixty-eight apartments. To cater to the diverse needs of guests, the architect designed units of different sizes, and placed a playground and a beach soccer field on the project site.

Contrasting facade of the hotel

The hotel's contrasting facade is made of white plaster and tan wood

Photo: Karolina Chęcińska © Archmondo

What draws attention is the facade covered with wood fired using the YAKISUGI method - a traditional Japanese technique. In addition, many new conifer plantings have been made on the site, corresponding with the existing trees, and many ornamental grasses have been introduced into the building's atrium, thus combining nature with the interior.

Aparthotel Porto Leba, projection

Aparthotel Porto Leba, projection

© Archmondo

interview with Piotr Kowalczyk

Dobrawa Bies: Your studio is well known for its projects at the Polish seaside. We are talking about another one - an aparthotel in Leba which is located on a former post-military site. How did you approach this project "hidden" in the woods? Did the development plan create limitations?

Piotr Kowalczyk: Designing by the sea, a lake in the woods really gives a lot of satisfaction. Indeed, it so happens that we happened to design buildings in such attractive locations. Porto Leba is also part of this set. Of course, the local plan created restrictions, sometimes understandable, sometimes not. However, the most important thing for us was respect for nature.

Elewację wykonano z opalanego drewna i białego tynku

The overriding values were nature and high quality architecture

Photo: Karolina Chęcińska © Archmondo

Dobrawa: The building is surrounded by nature - a forest and the Baltic Sea on one side and Sarbsko Lake on the other. How should you design in such an area to interfere with nature as little as possible? It certainly involves considerable challenges.

Piotr Kowalczyk: Yes, as I mentioned earlier, we started with an in-depth analysis of the surrounding nature. The building was constructed on a two-hectare plot, where the overriding task was to design the building in a non-wooded part of the site and to determine the optimal height so that the hotel would not extend beyond the treetops of the surrounding forest. Preserving as much greenery as possible was paramount, and this, to a large extent, defined the form of the building for us.

Aparthotel Porto Leba, atrium

aparthotel Porto Leba, atrium

Photo: Karolina Chęcińska © Archmondo

Dobrawa: What did the investor expect?

Piotr Kowalczyk: The investor of the project was the Scandinavian Kristensen Group. This is a company for which nature and high quality architecture have always been the overriding values. The investor expected to design a functional, unusual building, refined in every detail, whose character will fit well into the surrounding landscape, harmonizing with it, while occupying as little of its area as possible.

Zaprojektowano także plac zabaw i boisko

A playground and sports field have also been designed

Photo: Karolina Chęcińska © Archmondo

Dobrawa: A distinctive treatment is the contrasting facade and gabled roof - recognizable to Archmondo. Please tell us more about the materials used.

Piotr Kowalczyk: It is true that many of the buildings designed by us have a sloping, gabled roof. Usually, however, this is a requirement of the local plan, or of the site development conditions. These provisions are very common in Polish planning assumptions. This was also the case with Porto Leba. Paradoxically, however, if possible, we choose a flat roof form. The façade materials we chose include YAKISUGI-fired wood, color-consistent black sheet metal and snow-white, high-quality, plaster. The character of the building is also emphasized by the window finishes and the shutters present in the atrium. Contrasting with the white, dark accents create, a monochromatic composition that gives character and is very associated with the traditional coastal buildings of the area. The materials used were primarily intended to create a complete, cohesive composition, matching the surroundings.

The character of the building is also emphasized by the finishing of the windows Czarne okiennice kontrastują z białym tynkiem

The character of the building is also emphasized by the finishing of the windows and the shutters present in the atrium.

Photo: Karolina Chęcińska © Archmondo

Dobrawa: One last question - how should guests feel about the hotel?

Piotr Kowalczyk: Here I will probably not be original. Above all, the guests, the owners should feel comfortable and relax well in the seaside climate. The tranquility of this place, the proximity and beauty of the surrounding nature will allow you to slow down and relax. I think this place will be pleasantly memorable for visitors and I hope our architecture will be too.

Dobrawa: Thank you for the interview.

Dobrawa Bies

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