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Project Island back to people. The process of revival of the harbor island in Szczecin

Dobrawa Bies
24 of September '21

Using Lasztownia Island in Szczecin as an example, Adriana Hęglewicz, a student of architecture at Lund University in Sweden, decided to take up the topic of post-industrial areas often located in strategic points of large cities. Her proposal is to bring the island back to the people and transform it into a friendly vibrant place.

The project, called Island back to people, was created as a master's thesis under the supervision of Andreas Olsson, an architect and professor of sustainable urban design.

Watefront Szczecina

waterfront of Szczecin

© Adriana Hęglewicz

In many post-industrial cities, the relationship between water and the city has changed over the years. Our needs are different now, and consequently, the nature and use of these places has changed over time. From areas of high manufacturing capacity and industrial development, to sources of social centers, recreation and outdoor activities," says Adriana Hęglewicz.

Bringing Lasztownia back to the people

The project, Island back to people, presents a vision of a new, revived island, part of the revitalization process, which was originally the heart of the city's industrial powerhouse, creating an identity for Szczecin.

Plan Łasztowni po
wprowadzonych zmianach

The author decided to make the waterfront accessible by, among other things.
opening it to public functions and creating new housing opportunities

© Adriana Hęglewicz

I present the problem of the loss of the city's identity, the lack of a strong connection with water, even though it was originally one of Szczecin's strongest features. Through the project, I try to emphasize the beauty of the place, and by improving it and working with the existing structure of the buildings, give a new value that will change the perception of a neglected, inaccessible, post-industrial island, into an island that reminds us of the great times, unique history and opens up to people. Opening up the island is all the more important because until a few years ago it was the heart of the labor movement and many families still feel a very personal connection to the place, the author says.

Adriana's plan to make the waterfront accessible by opening it to public functions and creating new housing opportunities, as well as creating a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly place connected to the center of Szczecin, will help give the island back to its residents and encourage a more sustainable lifestyle.

Spichlerze na wyspie Centrum sportowe na wyspie

proposed new public zones

© Adriana Hęglewicz

It was very important to me in the project to pay tribute to the unique history of the post-industrial city, still visible in the preserved historic buildings in the Lasztownia area. Besides, it was equally important to carefully analyze all the factors that contribute to the fact that the island is popular, but unfortunately only in the summer. Through the design changes I made, I wanted to emphasize the beauty of the existing historical granaries, located in the central part of the island. They form the identity of the area, as they are associated with the original functions of Lasztownia, such as commerce and shipbuilding. Through the design solutions I introduced, I wanted to present a more balanced approach to living and space development, where residents will have the opportunity to live and work in close proximity, as well as opportunities for recreation, sports or relaxation," says the architect.

Plac miejski na
wyspie Przestrzeń miejska
zaprojektowana pod wystawy plenerowe

The author designed green spaces and places for art exhibitions

© Adriana Hęglewicz

city squares, sports center and art center

In the design, the author placed great emphasis on public zones, which are intended to function as open squares. Pedestrian traffic is routed through them, but interestingly, the city squ ares will be flexible in terms of land use.

From my observations of existing Lasztownia activities, it seems that currently the island is bustling with life only during the summer. People hold all sorts of flea markets, food festivals and amusement parks. In the project, I wanted to reinforce these existing values by proposing the concept of city squares, located in different zones of the island, and I designed them so that they could be adapted to current events. I expanded these currently existing attractions, adding the possibility of outdoor art exhibitions to promote local artists, or weekly markets with fresh, local products to support a more sustainable lifestyle," the architect explained.

Plac miejski na
Łasztowni

Lasztownia city square

© Adriana Hęglewicz

Thesports center was designed with the need for an urban recreation center closer to the city center in mind. It will include a skatepark, a gym and a basketball court. The author also proposed a new art center based on the vision of renovating and revitalizing existing granaries. A public, artistic zone is to be created in the area, with numerous restaurants, pubs, local artisan stores, second hand stores and design offices.

The centerpiece of the project is a public square where all roads meet. It is a place to meet and relax by the water. A place where residential buildings meet office buildings. The square is adjacent to the water's edge, around which cafes, restaurants and small neighborhood stores are located.

Rozplanowanie domów
na wyspie Rzut placu miejskiego

an important element was the creation of a new residential structure
which is intertwined with a grid of offices and retail

© Adriana Hęglewicz

new values for the island

The author wanted to create new opportunities for living and relaxing on the water all year round, as it turns out that Szczecin, despite its strategic location on the river, does not currently benefit from its advantages. It was important to create a new residential structure that is intertwined with a grid of offices and retail. To activate the waterfront and the life of the place, the architect made the first floors of the buildings available for public functions so as to create an active edge towards the water, making it a vibrant new meeting point.

The project is also a vision of a green Lasztownia connected to the city center and accessible, especially by public transportation or bicycle. The architect also introduced a lush green zone to the island, which will eventually replace the castle route, creating a new place to spend leisure time. The design also includes a connection to the neighboring Grodzka Island, which is full of greenery to the north. Thanks to these two measures, Lasztownia will gain two lush green zones, without interfering with the industrial character of the island, so important for preserving its identity.

 Łasztownia,
waterfront

A new vision for Lasztownia

© Adriana Hęglewicz

The new, reborn island depicted in my proposal is a place that blends the old with the new. It is a place that emphasizes what is beautiful and what is its cultural heritage. In this way, I seek to restore the island's lost identity while adding new developments that go hand in hand with a sustainable approach to urban planning. New jobs and new housing opportunities on Lasztownia will make it a more attractive place to live and encourage new investments," concludes Adriana Hęglewicz.

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