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Project of the Center for Underwater Environmental Sciences in Opole

Dobrawa Bies
07 of July '21

ThePodnym Environmental Science Center is Olga Wątorek 's proposal for the residents of Opole. The Opole University of Technology student decided to take advantage of the qualities of Kamionka Silesia and propose a new place for entertainment (especially for water and diving enthusiasts) and education in the vicinity of this popular body of water.

The presented project was created at the Faculty of Construction and Architecture of the Opole University of Technology under the direction of Radoslaw Wanago and Dr. Marcin Galkowski.

Centrum Nauki
o Środowisku Podwodnym, wizualizacja

Underwater Environment Science Center in Opole

© Olga Wątorek

water bodies in the city

Opole is known for its large number of bodies of water created by the flooding of stone pits, including by the great flood of 1997. These places are now known as stoneworks. Beneath the surface of the water, they hide many remnants of the pits, such as excavators, cars and even entire buildings and trees. Every summer, the reservoirs are visited in large numbers by local residents for recreating. The sites are also very attractive for diving. The author chose the charming Kamionka Silesia for the project site, which was once a marl stone quarry, which influenced the current turquoise hue of the water.

Kamionka Silesia
zagospodarowanie terenu Analiza podwodna akwenu

Development plan and underwater analysis of Kamionka Silesia

© Olga Wątorek

diving in Opole

The author, being a diving enthusiast herself, decided to design a building that would solve the problems and inconveniences arising from diving in bodies of water unsuitable for it. The building, built on a stonewall slope, allows direct descent into the water, which solves the problem of transporting equipment. Such a solution is also a considerable convenience for potential diving instructors - lecture rooms, equipment storage, service and dive store are located in one place. What's more, the expansion of the facility's functions will positively affect its use, providing the public with a wider range of leisure activities.

Centrum Nauki
o Środowisku Podwodnym, rzut poziomu 0 Centrum Nauki
o Środowisku Podwodnym, rzut poziomu -3

The Underwater Environmental Science Center is located on the southern escarpment

© Olga Wątorek

building with aquarium

Olga Wątorek designed the Underwater Environment Science Center on the southern slope of the stonewall because of the gentlest slope and the lush vegetation around it, which blends it into the surroundings. From the side of the reservoir, the five-story building with one floor located below the water's surface appears in its full glory.

Centrum Podwodne
w Opolu

The building consists of five floors

© Olga Wątorek

The entrance area, which is a single story, slightly interferes with the surrounding landscape. All levels of the building are connected by a cylindrical aquarium with a spiral staircase, so that visitors, traversing each floor, can observe underwater life.

This provides an opportunity to travel deep into the building, which we can compare to delving into a body of water," the author adds.

rich program and unusual elevations

The program of the proposed building and its functions will appeal to different age groups. One of the main functions is a science center, which is responsible for the educational part, bringing visitors closer to the underwater nature of the Silesia stoneware, as well as a diving center located under the surface of the water.

Centrum nurkowe pod
powierzchnią wody

The diving center is located under the surface of the water

© Olga Wątorek

Access to the underwater world is via a "concrete air gap," which is one of the facility's many attractions. The project also involves the development of the underwater part of the reservoir, creating zones corresponding to divers' skills, as well as the creation of an artificial-natural coral reef on the slope, which will further diversify the diving, says Olga Wątorek.

 Schemat funkcjonalny
i ukształtowanie bryły oraz elewacji

© Olga Wątorek

A restaurant is located on the largest and most elevated floor, serving not only the users of the science and diving center, but also outsiders who come to enjoy the view of the reservoir. Additional features include an administrative area, as well as a service store located on the top floor, where divers can stock up on equipment and also have it repaired.

Centrum Nauki
o Środowisku Podwodnym, elewacja zachodnia

The beige hue of the facade refers to the color of the stone

© Olga Wątorek

The architect wanted the building's facades to blend in with the surrounding terrain as much as possible. Their form alludes to the layers of earth that the escarpment consists of, as well as to the trees growing nearby. The beige h ue corresponds to that of marl. Each floor was made of a different material (a reference to the layering of stone), which emphasizes the diversity of the building's functions.

Read also about the design of Marta Winkler' s multifamily building, which was also built at Opole Technical University.

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