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Gathering House. Microdome project of Polish students awarded!

11 of October '23
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  1. Architecture students from the Warsaw University of Technology won third prize in the MICROHOME #6 competition for their Gathering House project.
  2. Their concept focuses on filling spatial and social gaps in Poland's block housing areas.
  3. The microdomes in the project are made of modular wooden construction and promote social integration and facilitate contact with nature.
  4. Features of the project include movable facade panels, and an adaptable plan that can be adjusted to any location.
  5. For more interesting information, visit the home page of the A&B portal.

Architecture students of Warsaw University of Technology: Łukasz Danilczuk, Zuzanna Derska, Urszula Jędrzejak won Third Prize in the international MICROHOME #6 competition organized by Buildner. Their project Gathering House, made in modular wooden construction, is a proposal that the authors believe can fill spatial and social gaps in Polish block housing areas. How? Read on and see for yourself.

Projektowane mikrodomy mogą powstać na terenach polskich blokowisk

designed microhomes can be built in areas of polish block housing estates

© Łukasz Danilczuk, Zuzanna Derska, Urszula Jędrzejak

MICROHOME #6 is the sixth edition of the competition announced periodically by the Buildner platform, organized in cooperation with Archive Books, as part of the „Architecture of Small Scale” series. The competition aims to highlight the importance that small-scale architecture can have in the face of the housing, economic and climate crisis. Each year, the organizers look for model solutions — designs for a small, modular house of twenty-five square meters for two people. While the location, materials and functions are arbitrary. Modern solutions in the spirit of sustainability are promoted, as well as those that focus on a selected social problem.

Otwarte patio ze wspólną kuchnią

Open patio with shared kitchen

© Łukasz Danilczuk, Zuzanna Derska, Urszula Jędrzejak

Third Prize for PW students

The works submitted for the international competition were judged by a jury consisting of: Sevince Bayrak (SO?), Sarah Broadstock (Studio Bark), Anne Cecilie Haug (Snøhetta), Gavin Hale-Brown (Henley Hale-Brown), Norihisa Kawashima (Nori Architects), Francesca Perani (Francesca Perani Enterprise), Todd Saunders (Saunders Architecture) Patrik Schumacher and Lei Zheng (Zaha Hadid Architects).

First Prize and the Buildner Student Award went to the Building Bridges project by a team from Germany consisting of: Malte Terboven, Luca Ligotti, Luisa Herzog, Lukas Kunze. Second Prize went to the MIKROSERAMBI project from Singapore by a team of Isaac Lee, Melinda Kumala, Eu Juin Toh, Caleb Lew.

Third Prize was awarded to the team from the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw University of Technology, composed of Łukasz Danilczuk, Zuzanna Derska, Urszula Jędrzejak, for the Gathering House project.

Lokalizacja projektu w przestrzeniach między blokami

location of the project in the spaces between the blocks

© Łukasz Danilczuk, Zuzanna Derska, Urszula Jędrzejak

Gathering House focuses on filling spatial and social gaps in larger Polish cities. The proposal draws on Polish customs, and responds to the problems of urban block housing — overscaled central courtyards, increasing isolation. The Warsaw University of Technology students' project offers the possibility of filling these empty spaces with small houses and community gardens, which could result in: higher residential density, access to nature and community programs for closer social integration.

The concept stands out for its various strengths, such as bridging the gap between young people and the elderly. The design skillfully takes advantage of the changing seasons. It would be good to see a plan for the attic," stressed Todd Saunders.
The plan with a 1:1 ratio of interior to exterior is an attractive new typology for a micro-home and a highly feasible design with many workable locations, assessed Norihisa Kawashima.

Gathering House z otwartą częścią patio podczas lata

Gathering House with an open patio area during the summer

© Łukasz Danilczuk, Zuzanna Derska, Urszula Jędrzejak

micro-home on a Polish block of flats

Gathering House was supposed to fulfill a couple of goals we set at the beginning of the design process. First and foremost, the house focuses on addressing the lack of connection between people living in larger communities. Drawing from the Polish heritage and the biased behavior of Poles, we created an environment where establishing and maintaining close relationships is facilitated. In addition, the house reflects our desire to maintain traditions ingrained in Polish culture, such as life revolving around the table and treating the kitchen as the heart of the home. Another goal was to combine the advantages of living in and outside the city. Access to nature and all-encompassing hospitality meets access to essential services and being surrounded by a large population, the authors explain.

Gathering House, część dzienna

Gathering House, day part

© Łukasz Danilczuk, Zuzanna Derska, Urszula Jędrzejak

The students responded to these assumptions by creating community gardens, orchards and a public pavilion, which provide an opportunity for seniors living in the buildings surrounding the project area to bond with the young people living in the microhomes designed by the authors.

Gathering House, aksonometria

Gathering House, axonometry

© Łukasz Danilczuk, Zuzanna Derska, Urszula Jędrzejak

modular wooden construction

The designed houses are made of wooden construction. The modular building plan is so adaptable that it can be used in any location. The large patio of each micro-home promotes social integration and outdoor work and cultivation of community gardens, during the summer season. In winter, on the other hand, the polycarbonate facade panels are enclosed and keep the building from cooling down.

Gathering House, zamknięte patio w okresie zimowym

Gathering House, an enclosed patio during the winter season

© Łukasz Danilczuk, Zuzanna Derska, Urszula Jędrzejak

The microhomes are equipped with perovskites and photovoltaic panels, gray water recovery, and accordion-folding facades made of polycarbonate to provide a shield from light and a thermal barrier. The authors also introduced EPDM industrial rubber insulation for the roof and cellulose insulation for the walls.

Gathering House, rzut parteru

Gathering House, first floor plan

© Łukasz Danilczuk, Zuzanna Derska, Urszula Jędrzejak

Our project seeks to solve the problem of overly extensive undeveloped courtyards built in the post-Soviet period, combined with residential architecture of the second half of the 20th century, the young architects add.

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