How should a space dedicated to education be designed? What should not be missing in it? How to adapt the space of a school in an old building, linking it directly to the new one? WOW WORLD is the latest project by the MAKAA studio, which Katarzyna Waloryszak talks about.
Wiktor Bochenek: Your school expansion project combines part of the historic building with a modern block. How was this carried out?
Katarzyna Waloryszak (MAKAA): The historic building remains almost unchanged. The new block has been connected from the rear elevation to the existing glass staircase designed in a linear arrangement, which further provides a sunny common space.
The old building does not meet the demand for the entire function of the school. So we decided to dedicate the existing simple functional layout entirely to classrooms assigned to classrooms. On the other hand, we designed common spaces in the added block.
An underground cafeteria, a hall with lockers and a gymnasium, arranged in a C-shaped plan together form the layout of an internal atrium. We developed this idea in turn, arranging the courtyard into a theatrical staircase that can be used by students for various occasions. In the 3-story designed block above the gymnasium, we placed, a library, a room for pre-schoolers and open spaces of the so-called "common room," a place for common play after school. The new building, full of large glazing, is to be a meeting place for students.
The school is to combine historical and modern parts
Victor: How did you separate the division of functions between the old and new parts? What was most important in the new part?
Catherine: The new part is to be fully adapted to the new regulations and comfort. Comfort equals a lot of sunshine and a lot of common space. The plot and the school are very small - so an idea that would ensure efficiency and clarity of function was important. We also wanted the new design to show the approach to education that the teachers at this school and us parents care about. On building a sense of independent thinking, respect for cooperation and common goods, and above all, education based on curiosity about the world and awe of it. The shape and form of the space can express all this.
Wiktor: Where did you get the idea for this solution for the building's facade?
Katarzyna: The openwork form and the circular canopy over the entrance is a reference to the old orangeries - which appeared in the historical recreational spaces of factory Lodz.
The WOW WORLD inscription is something we thought was straightforward. The perfect message for a school, and the perfect message on a school building filling one of the corners in the heart of the city's strictly historic factory buildings.
Nearby is the cathedral, where there is no public restroom "because it doesn't fit in with the monument." The plot is part of the former Geyer company, which owns one of Lodz's most iconic buildings, the White Factory. It's a very sensitive space, where any intrusion of new development is subjected to strict evaluation. And new - these are new generations who need air and space to create their culture.
Agarden for kids and a gymnasium with such a sign - this is a contemporary dominant, certainly drawing attention to itself in the city. It is a dominant that draws attention to itself, in a different way than through height.
space for students
Victor: What do today's schools lack, and how should they be expanded?
Catherine: Light and confidence in students;). Actually, all infrastructure can come from what we are like inside. I watch my children and I'm full of admiration, how they can enjoy learning about the world. How they are able to interpret it. What a natural ability they have for abstract thinking.
Observing the world is a response to their needs. The openness to their way of interpretation is something that is, in turn, a wonderful new energy for me. How they interpret the world is often extremely wise and accurate. Unfortunately, too, often the only thing that gets in their way is their efforts to respond to our expectations.
WOW WORLD - a drawing that takes into account the division of functions
Today with the rest, in such an important process of changing the world, we see that we have imposed templates that incapacitate us in the long-term care of ourselves, of space, of the planet....
From these few sentences, we are ready to draw a school where both student and teacher can feel comfortable together, safe, and enjoy communicating their admiration of the world together. School is a fun place for development, and that's where we should start this drawing.
Schools lack this playfulness. Space to express ourselves and make mistakes.
When designing buildings, we often talk a specific number of rooms and areas - as if the nature of these spaces, the sun, the connections between them - don't matter. For example, corridors and common spaces are places where a very important part of students' lives takes place, for the so-called release of energy - or the sharing of experiences between different students.
How to expand these schools to breathe air into them? With an idea!
Wiktor Bochenek: Thank you for the interview!