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Sense Center. Design of a green leisure and therapeutic center in Olsztyn

Dobrawa Bies
20 of December '22

A Aleksandra Godycka from the Faculty of Architecture at Wrocław University of Technology has designed an unusual spa in Olsztyn. Her leisure and therapeutic center, dubbed the Senses Center, could be built near the soothing surroundings of Kortowski Reed. The highlights of the project? User comfort, contact with nature, zoning and the use of eco-friendly materials.

The project is an engineering thesis created under the direction of Anna Bać, Ph.D., professor of arch at PWr. The building proposed by the student is a rest and therapy center offering a wide range of activities, therapies and treatments to stimulate various senses.

Centrum Zmysłów w Olsztynie, wnętrze strefy relaksu

Senses Center in Olsztyn, interior of the relaxation zone

© Aleksandra Godycka

In my design, I put the comfort of the user first and paid attention to the special role of architectural space in the relaxation-therapeutic process. The design of the Senses Center is a response to the problem of high levels of environmental stress faced by modern man. The aim of my work was to create a soothing environment where regeneration of the senses and integration of users is possible," says Aleksandra Godycka.

Centrum Zmysłów w Olsztynie, PZT Centrum Zmysłów w Olsztynie, rzut parteru

Senses Center, PZT and first floor plan

© Aleksandra Godycka

contact with nature

A key role in Aleksandra's design is played by nature, which positively influences the senses. The very location of the building is not accidental. The author placed the building on a plot of land adjacent to the Kortowski Reedbed in Olsztyn, the view of which, along with its gentle hum, has a soothing effect on the user.

Centrum Zmysłów w Olsztynie, schematy funkcjonalne

Senses Center in Olsztyn, functional diagrams

© Aleksandra Godycka

The most important element of the center is the atrium system, which consists of: two uncovered courtyards, a winter garden and green axes, connecting the layout into a coherent whole.

The plan designed in this way provides an adequate amount of natural light and allows for good interior ventilation. At any time of the year, users are provided with contact with greenery - both directly and through viewing links, the student explains.

Centrum Zmysłów w Olsztynie, wnętrze sali kąpielowej  Centrum Zmysłów w Olsztynie, widok na atrium

Interior of the bathing room and view of the atrium

© Aleksandra Godycka

architecture as a backdrop

Theurban context had a particular influence on Aleksandra's design work. The selected plot of land is the meeting point of three distinct spaces: nature, the historic post-German buildings of Kortow, and a contemporary estate of eight-story residential buildings. For this reason, the author, proposing a restrained form, wanted to create a place that is a background. For the facade material, she chose facade panels made of low-emission concrete and panels made of biological concrete, which will become covered with moss and lichen over time.

Centrum Zmysłów, budynek

Facade panels were made of low-emission concrete and biological concrete

© Aleksandra Godycka

Color-wise, the building relates to the contemporary neighboring buildings, forming part of a unified background for the display of the historic buildings. It was also important for the author to maintain the human scale of the building and the maximum building height imposed by the Local Development Plan.

Since for the residents of the neighboring estate, the most frequently viewed part of the Senses Center would be its roof, I decided to introduce usable green terraces on it, " Aleksandra adds.

Centrum Zmysłów w Olsztynie, schemat kształtowania bryły

The Senses Center in Olsztyn, a scheme for shaping the body of the building

© Aleksandra Godycka

clarity of space

The Senses Center has a clear functional layout, divided into zones with varying degrees of stimulation and a sense of privacy, so that each user, could make the best use of the center's offer for himself. Additional criteria that guided the author in introducing the division of zones were acoustics, thermals and sunlight conditions. The functional layout also allows for efficient use of energy.

The legibility of the space was particularly important to me, as the author, because it translates directly into comfort of use," says Aleksandra.

Centrum Zmysłów w Olsztynie, schematy wyjaśniające przyjęte rozwiązania

Senses Center in Olsztyn, diagrams explaining the adopted solutions

© Aleksandra Godycka

areas of sustainability

The building I designed can be an example of sustainable architecture, combining two "extreme" approaches, described by Dr. Anna Bać in her article "The idea of sustainability and its selected manifestations "1. I designed the building to not only use resources efficiently, but also to meet the criteria of the 6L idea - thanks to the technical and material solutions used, the building is therefore characterized bylongevity (longevity), low energy consumption and reduced carbon footprint (low energy or carbon low). The center is located in an optimal, easily accessiblelocation (locationally-appropriate). The facility is likely to be liked by future users, as I designed it taking into account their preferences, based on surveys conducted and taking into account the criteria for creating a healing space(liked by occupiers, loveable)2 , Aleksandra Godycka concludes.

1. Bać A., "The idea of sustainability and its selected manifestations", Architectus 2014 2(38)
2 Connellan K., Gaardboe M., Riggs, D., Due C., Reinschmidt A.; Mustillo L., "Stressed Spaces: Mental Health and Architecture," HERD: HEALTH ENVIRONMENTS RESEARCH & DESIGN JOURNAL, SUMMER 2013, VOL. 6 NO. 4, pp. 127-168

elaboration: Dobrawa Bies

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