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Architecture of social integration. Design of the Intergenerational Center in Tarnow.

09 of May '23

{tag:studenci}, currently studying at the Faculty of Architecture at the Cracow University of Technology, has attempted to solve the problem of social isolation of the elderly. Her proposal is a Center for Intergenerational Integration, which could be built in Tarnow. The facility, surrounded by abundant greenery, would consist of an estate for seniors, an integration building connected to a kindergarten and houses for families with children.

The presented engineering thesis was created in the winter semester of 2021/2022 under the guidance of Dr. Cezary Szpytma at the Ignacy Lukasiewicz Rzeszow University of Technology. The concept of the work was to create a space conducive to intergenerational integration—a space where seniors can live in their own way, feeling needed, belonging to the place and community.

Projekt centrum międzypokoleniowego w Tarnowie

The design of the Intergenerational Center in Tarnow

© Wiktoria Polanco-Celorrio

This project was created after observing the need for intergenerational integration in Poland. Low-intensity intergenerational relations are a visible problem here. Much different thinking on the integration of all generations is presented by the country where I come from—Cuba. The differences in relations are evident primarily in the cultural aspect. Cuban society is open to all contacts and extremely friendly. The elderly are highly respected, inspire the young, are a treasure trove of knowledge and „national heroes,” says Victoria Polanco-Celorrio.

 Projekt centrum międzypokoleniowego w Tarnowie, plan zagospodarowania terenu Projekt centrum międzypokoleniowego w Tarnowie, elewacje

landscaping and building elevations

© Wiktoria Polanco-Celorrio

Integration Center in Tarnow

The author wanted to introduce a similar model in Poland. The design plot where the Center could be built is located on Piłsudskiego Street in the Piaskówka district of Tarnów. In the project, the student included a model with the character of a safe space without a car—focusing on pedestrian routes. However, car communication is routed from the outside, around the developed area—with access and parking from the west and east.

In the center of the establishment there is an intergenerational integration building connected with a kindergarten—activating and socially integrating different age groups. The urban layout is surrounded by estates of houses intended for seniors and a strip of terraced houses for families with children. All elements are surrounded by a naturally landscaped park premise.

Ważnym aspektem projektu jest zieleń

Greenery is an important aspect of the project

© Wiktoria Polanco-Celorrio

My main idea was to create a place of integration, exploring the values of locality and social ties. I wanted to emphasize that all groups are part of one society, sharing common experiences. The building I proposed, responds to these assumptions, offering open spaces with a relaxed atmosphere, conducive to integration, conversation and exchange of experiences," explains the author.

a place for everyone

An important aspect of the project is greenery, giving the interiors a homey feel. The student decided to preserve most of the trees—they harmonize with the designed buildings.

Projekt centrum międzypokoleniowego w Tarnowie, rzut parteru Projekt centrum międzypokoleniowego w Tarnowie, rzut piętra

ground and first floor plan of the center

© Wiktoria Polanco-Celorrio

The functional solutions were divided by the designer into zones: for younger, older, commercial, educational and integration. The designed spaces are accessible to all, open and inviting to the local community, influencing the strengthening of ties.

Głównym punktem centrum jest duże atrium w kształcie okręgu

The centerpiece of the center is a large circular atrium

© Wiktoria Polanco-Celorrio

The centerpiece of the center is a large atrium in the shape of a circle, through which flows a water channel with a lake placed in a central location. It is a space for everyone where, concentrated were vegetable gardens, greenhouses, designed elements that create play areas for children and seating areas. In addition to intergenerational integration, this space promotes contact with nature.

Projekt centrum międzypokoleniowego w Tarnowie, rzut wnętrza urbanistycznego

urban interior plan

© Wiktoria Polanco-Celorrio

second home

Victoria Polanco-Celorrio sought to make the complex she designed resemble a second home for residents, surrounded by a garden. The interiors are decorated in bright colors, and clear, open communication makes it easy to move around the property. For a sense of security while moving around, the author used wide corridors with natural light falling from the atrium and thresholdless entrances. The most important functions have been located on the first floor, so as to focus all activity around and inside the atrium—which is the heart of the entire establishment.

Zaprojektowane przestrzenie są dostępne dla wszystkich, otwarte i zapraszają lokalną społeczność

The designed spaces are accessible to all, open and inviting to the local community

© Wiktoria Polanco-Celorrio

Through intergenerational relationships we can learn a lot from each other—each of us has different experiences that can help model ourselves and better understand the world and other worldviews. Establishing such relationships and creating an open society can be fostered by my proposed Center," concludes Victoria Polanco-Celorrio.

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