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The new life of the Workers' Houses in Poznań. Creative Activity Center project

Dobrawa Bies
25 of March '21

In Poznań, in the Chwaliszewo district, there is a building called Czartoria 5. The dilapidated building, which is a remnant of a former workers' apartment complex, has become the subject of work by Kornelia Traut of the University of Arts in Poznań. The student decided to give it new life, creating a Center for Creative Activity offering a rich cultural program.

Former Workers' Houses

Kornelia Traut decided to place her project in Poznan's Chwaliszewo district, choosing the Czartoria 5 building. The structure is a remnant of a former workers' housing complex. In the twentieth century, Workers' Houses were the modern residential construction in Poznan. Czartoria 5 was shaped like a horseshoe with an inner garden and a playground for children. Unfortunately, as a result of warfare and lack of comprehensive reconstruction after 1945, the building was deteriorating - only a fragment of it has survived.

Centrum Aktywności
Twórczej, sytuacja obecna

Kornelia's project is located in Poznan's Chwaliszewo district

© Kornelia Traut

Currently, the building is in a very bad technical condition. The only remaining building of the entire complex has no façade on the side of the Warta River and is subject to dampness. Two gable walls on the side of Czartoria Street have survived. Numerous cracks in the masonry and missing wooden window and door frames are visible. Against the background of Chwaliszewo's modern development, the building is frightening in its appearance. The building's plot still retains the outline of the historic Workers' Houses development. The area partially enters the Warta River and is overgrown with greenery. This is also where the pedestrian and bicycle road called Wartostrada breaks off.

Centrum Aktywności
Twórczej, aksonometria

The author proposes to create a cultural place to enliven the Chwaliszewo district

© Kornelia Traut

Despite its ideal location in the center of Poznań, the plot is not developed. Chwaliszewo lacks places where residents could meet regardless of the season - the open playground in the Stare Koryto Warty Park or KontenerArt are visited only in the summer months. The number of commercial establishments is also very small - they mostly appear in new developments. In the area of the plot, new multi-family housing development is appearing next to the old frontage development, which contributes to the revitalization of the neighborhood. However, one of the needs of the residents includes the creation of a meeting place, integrating the community, says Kornelia Traut.

Creative Activity Center

The subject of Kornelia Traut's engineering work, done under the direction of Hugo Kowalski and Andrzej Kurzawski, is the new life of the building, that is, giving the current wasteland a new cultural function, as well as an image. The author assumed the creation of a block of the building added to the two historic walls from Czartoria Street. However, she earmarked for demolition the part of the building that is in poor technical condition.

Centrum Aktywności
Twórczej w Poznaniu

The facade of the center refers to the old buildings

© Kornelia Traut

The use of the existing building is important because of the identity of the place and the continuity of its history. Assigning a cultural function is not accidental. Chwaliszewo was a settlement next to Poznań, which was famous for its well-developed crafts. Therefore, active creative work and creative development of residents became very important in my work. Joint creative activities affect interpersonal relations, increase the sense of self-worth, as well as that of others. The designed Center for Creative Activity would be a place for social integration, encourage the residents of Poznań to engage in creative activities and make the panorama on the Warta River more attractive," explains the author.

rich cultural program

The building's program is aimed at a wide range of groups - from the youngest, through adults, as well as seniors. Visitors to the center can use the café and the exhibition space on the first floor, where works made in the studios housed in the building are displayed. The first floor is an open space, where all floors can be reached from the hall via stairs and an elevator. The second floor houses the modeling studio and art rooms, where classes and design workshops are held. On the second floor, participants can use the music room, dance room and sewing room.

Centrum Aktywności
Twórczej, rzut parteru

On the first floor there is a cafeteria and exhibition space

© Kornelia Traut

The dance hall in the morning hours can be used as a space for gymnastics and yoga exercises. It is two stories high, making it additionally suitable for performances, shows and concerts. The third floor houses workshop studios for independent work. All floors are connected by a patio, through which all studios are visible.

Visitors to the facility can enjoy the observation deck and flower garden, located on the roof. From there, there is a view of the Warta River panorama. The terrace is a reference to the former green garden inside the courtyard of the Workers' Houses. Spaces for the building's employees are separated from the public spaces on level -1 and the fourth floor.

Centrum Aktywności Twórczej,
przekrój przez sale

The roof of the building is a viewing terrace and a flower garden

© Kornelia Traut

reference to history

The body of the Center for Creative Activity was shaped on the basis of view openings - the view of the Old Gasworks, the cathedral and the town hall located in the Old Market. The main entrance to the building is located on the north side, where the terrain has no depressions and allows access for people with disabilities. In the northern part, the author proposed an outdoor garden with wooden seating, and in the southern part a café garden. An important element of the project is the extension of the bicycle section - Wartostrada.

Centrum Aktywności
Twórczej, elewacja zachodnia

The facade was made of clinker bricks laid openworkly

© Kornelia Traut

The building was designed with a monolithic structure - reinforced concrete walls and ceilings. Preserving the connection with the old buildings, the student emphasized the façade with red-brown clinker bricks laid open-work. This manner mimics the cross-bond arrangement found on the walls of Czartoria 5. The first floor of the center has been glazed. The patio space has a glass façade built with mullion and transom curtain walls, obscured by openwork brick. The roof was made in the form of a green roof with meadow plants.

Kornelia Traut's project was among the list of the best art and design diplomas of 2020 of the "Font Not Font" competition.

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