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The Gates of the Streets of the World project in Lodz, a combination of modernity and history

Dobrawa Bies
21 of December '20

{Student}, a graduate of the Technical University of Lodz, designed a complex of buildings forming a gateway between the New Center of Lodz and the historic part of Piotrkowska Street. Her master's project takes up the theme of semantics and metaphor in architecture.

The title of the work by Julia Mejer, done under the supervision of Prof. Marek Janiak, is "Gate of the Streets of the World." The title derives from the location of the complex, on the border of the New Center of Lodz and the historic zone of Piotrkowska Street. The buildings are thus a gateway between modernity and history. The architecture itself contains classical and modern motifs, referring to classical proportions, socialist realist monumentality and modernity expressed in glass and steel.

Brama Ulic Świata
w Łodzi

The architecture itself contains classical and modern motifs

© Julia Mejer

In the words of the project's author:

For understanding the essence of the Gate of Lodz, the concept of gate symbolism is crucial. In the gate there is an interpenetration of zones, almost like in the philosophy of the Pythagorean mathematical thinkers creating a binary system. Gates can divide, but they can also unite. They determine the character of a place, which, through separation, moves away from globality and homogeneity toward privacy and locality. In this context, the gate lets in and out, it is a link between the New Center of Lodz and the Piotrkowska Street area. In a non-literal sense, it is a passage between modernity and history that accumulates classical and contemporary themes. In the title of the project there is a close connection of meaning and location, which leads us to understand the gates as a dimension of continuity. A person who is a carrier of the extension of experiencing the city will become a continuation of the street he has left in his city. Any arbitrary street in the world will transform into our street. There will be a merger. The Gate of the Streets of the World will become the gate for these streets.

gate of Lodz

The multi-component and diverse image of the premise contradicts the modernist slogan "less is more," acting on the principle that development does not take place by elimination. Although it may seem that the forms used are a transformation of universal canons, modern materials bring the architecture into the framework of modernity. Julia Mejer's design tells a story about classical proportions, symmetry, sandstone, high-tech steel and the dynamics of deconstructivism.

Brama w Łodzi,
rzut parteru

The first floor of the establishment includes a patio

© Julia Mejer

The axis of the idea, however, is the separation of the facade from the rest of the building. The tri-partite facade in mathematically determined proportions is only a "dummy for function". Thus, it is not a fulfillment of the "form follows function" thesis. It's a clear reference to the symbolism of triumphal arches, i.e. architecture for its own sake, conveying representational and purely aesthetic values," explains the author.

The Socialist Realist character of the building refers to the nearby Polish Television building. Monumentality and elegance were achieved through overscaling, symmetry, attics, pilasters or high first floors. A style associated with coldness and a harsh system is confronted with the capitalist style of Western culture and freedom expressed in the dynamics of deconstruction and steel. The result is an intersection of styles seemingly impossible to combine.

Patio w Bramie
Ulic Świata Widok od ulicy Traugutta

steel structures and patio

© Julia Mejer

vertical facades

The facades are formed by walls with cut-out window openings. Behind them are latticed structures and patios. Behind the façade hides all the function in the form of glass forms with floors shifted in relation to each other. The walls are clad in sandstone, while the woodwork and the center section of each wall is steel, gray and raw. They are crowned by a coronation cornice supported by arched supports. The central facade, on the other hand, is made of steel and topped by an attic with exterior half-columns. It emphasizes the symmetry and layout characteristic of classic and eclectic Lodz townhouses.

Założenie widoczne
z góry

The steel "grill" of the facade

© Julia Mejer

The elevations are separated by a scenographic interference in the form of a steel "grill". The whole is joined by a common first floor. The facade is organized mainly by a system of vertical divisions emphasized by pilasters, semi-columns and longitudinal windows. Harmony and elegance have been achieved through repetition and unification of patterns.

The designed architecture does not try to be historical and restorative by force, and at the same time does not try to be modern at all costs. It is a translation of the idea of progression, which in human life and nature takes place with respect for the past. It is also an attempt to materialize non-empirical ambiguity, radical eclecticism, and finally a natural response to the cultural right to choose," concludes Julia Mejer.

elaborated: {tag:AuthorAiB}

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