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Competition for a community center in Vancouver - the winner is the "tectonic" design of a Polish woman!

Dobrawa Bies
23 of August '22

Canadian magazine Arc Ace organized an international competition called The Invisible Hub, whose challenge was to design a community center in Vancouver. The proposed building was to take a bionic form and blend in with its surroundings. A {tag:studenci} from the Faculty of Architecture at Poznan University of Technology also submitted her idea. Her building design, which refers in shape to the mountains, caught the attention of the jury, which awarded it first prize!

The organizers of the competition chose the Mt Pleasant neighborhood, located near the Emily Carr University of Art + Design building, as the design plot. Participants were asked to design a space where users could develop their interests and talents and strengthen their ties.

Projekt centrum społecznego w Vancouver, dziedziniec

Design of Vancouver's community center, courtyard

© Veronika Deszkiewicz

competition for community center

The building was designed to "hide" in its surroundings, to relate to and intertwine with nature. The proposed plot is lowered in relation to the adjacent street to the east by five meters, allowing the designed building to merge with its surroundings. The organizers asked for a bionic architecture that seems to grow out of the ground, seamlessly connecting the levels of the site and the surrounding greenery, blurring the distinction between the solid and the site. The competition site is part of a large business center called False Creek Flats, located less than a kilometer from downtown Vancouver and the harbor. For this reason, the designers were asked to take into account potential flooding and ground waterlogging. The community center itself had to include features such as a lobby, arts and learning space, media, a sports area, community spaces and a café.

Projekt centrum społecznego w Vancouver, wnętrze skryte pod ziemią

The interior of the building hidden underground

© Weronika Deszkiewicz

polish students on the podium!

Of the works submitted for the competition, the jury awarded five, and among them were as many as three projects from Poland! First Prize went to Weronika Deszkiewicz from Poznan University of Technology, second place went to the team composed of: Nastaran Houshmand Khaligh and Seyyed Amirreza Bahrololoumi Tabatabaee from Iran. Third prize went to Karolina Kaczor from the Silesian University of Technology, fourth prize went to Rashi Karkoon and Smriti Sharma from India, and fifth prize went toMartyna Kotulek, also from the Silesian University of Technology.

My building was designed primarily with the user in mind, and its form was inspired by a mountain range near Vancouver. The surrounding area is full of hiking trails and viewpoints, allowing an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. I wanted my design to provide such an escape without having to leave the city limits. Students from the nearby university, as well as residents and workers from the neighborhood, will be able to breathe among the peaceful walls, enjoy art and expand their knowledge, and most importantly, create a community with other people with similar interests," says the first prize winner.

Aksonometria budynku Przestrzeń między budynkiem

The author wanted the shape of the building to refer to rock formations

© Weronika Deszkiewicz

building like a rock formation

From the street we are greeted by a mass resembling rocks growing out of the ground, and their split like a gate invites us to explore the building. The skylight used by the author, placed in the ground, leads deep into the building, splitting - one path directs the eye to the horizon with mountains, and the other leads towards the city and the gentle slopes of green roofs. The rooftops can be accessed and relaxed amidst the greenery.

Projekt centrum społecznego w Vancouver, wschodnia i południowa elewacja

The east and south elevations of the building

© Weronika Deszkiewicz

On the second roof, the student placed solar panels to provide energy for the entire building. The author chose to finish the facade with textured plaster, which, along with the ivy overgrowing it, brings to mind a stone hillside, while glass cracks in the walls provide natural light to the interior of the social center.

: Projekt centrum społecznego w Vancouver, rzut budynków na poziomie ulicy Projekt centrum społecznego w Vancouver, rzut poziomu -1.

0 and -1 level plan.

© Weronika Deszkiewicz

spaces for learning and relaxation

Due to the nature of this project and its close proximity to the University of the Arts, there are a number of outdoor and indoor spaces for learning, organizing exhibitions and artistic activities, and relaxation. The first floor of the building was planned on a regular grid, which is broken by columns supporting irregular walls. Two staircases and elevators provide access to every part of the building. The outdoor staircase is a place for relaxation, and the surrounding greenery provides shelter from the sun.

Read also about the design of the Youth Center in Canada, for which Maria Feliszewska of the Silesian University of Technology, won third prize in the Nature Inspired Youth Center competition.


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