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Gdansk Aeroclub not only for aviators. Project by Aleksandra Wisniewska

Dobrawa Bies
25 of September '20

The{tag:studenci} from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk decided to make the Gdansk Aeroclub open to the public, reorganizing its headquarters and the surrounding area. This created a spacious observation deck from which aviation enthusiasts can watch gliders.

TheGdansk Aeroclub, which is the largest aviation organization in Pomerania, is located at the airport in Pruszcz Gdanski, which it uses jointly with the 49th Air Base. And while its operations compare favorably with those of other aeroclubs in the country, the site's potential remains untapped in many respects. A major impediment is the sharing of the airport with a military unit - the club, as one of the few in Poland, has to reckon with many restrictions on a daily basis, such as restrictions on guest landings or the closure of the airport area.

Areoklub Gdański

The reorganization of the aeroclub will make it available to aviation enthusiasts

© Aleksandra Wisniewska

As the project's author says:

A significant problem that the club regularly faces is the issue of people violating the entry ban. Residents of Pruszcz Gdański and tourists, seeing gliders in the sky, drive up to the gate of the headquarters hoping to see the equipment up close. In the absence of such an opportunity, it has become a common practice today to jump over the fence and visit the closed area of the airport without permission. From the reports of members of the Gdansk Aero Club, it also appears that outsiders regularly ask about the possibility of looking into the hangar - such an eventuality, however, for many organizational reasons, is not considered today.

a viewing terrace for all

The design concept was born out of an analysis of small aviation in Poland and around the world and an assessment of the situation of the Gdansk club in the context of other aviation organizations. As a result, Aleksandra Wisniewska's main design guidelines centered around the full reorganization of the aeroclub's headquarters and the surrounding area, as well as making it partially accessible to the public.

Rzuty i przekroje

the viewing terrace forms a tibun

© Aleksandra Wisniewska

The author designed a viewing terrace on the public square in front of the headquarters' entrance, creating a tribune with the possibility of observing both sky and ground activities of the club. The idea refers to the now popular so-called "spotters' hills" - specially mounded hills in places with the best view of landing and taking off aircraft for photography. The designed terrace was created for all those who are fascinated by small aviation, but are not members of the aeroclub community. Thanks to its location in a public area, they have an unlimited opportunity to observe the life of the club - both that in the air and on the boundless turf of the airport.

winged architectural form

The terrace takes on a winged form that literally and figuratively squats on the edge of the hangar. It is a pole-supported, steel structure with an exposed truss at the bottom, referring to the hangar itself, with latticed girders towering inside. The designed structure consists of two parts. The first, with an even, horizontal surface, is just over 4 meters above the ground and extends over the private part of the airport, allowing traffic to be observed in front of the hangar gates.

Stalowa konstrukcja
tarasu Antresola wewnątrz hangaru
jest dostępna dla wszystkich

The second section of the terrace rises upward, with a public mezzanine inside the hall

© Aleksandra Wisniewska

The second section of the terrace rises upward, with its entire plane facing the south side of the airport - the direction where gliders and airplanes depart and arrive from. On its surface, wide steps pile up, every third of which smoothly transitions into the form of a bench. The terrace is based on a spacious steel structure and covered with aluminum panels powder-coated in white. The distinctive material is the wooden cladding of the steps, with a gnarled, delicate shade. This is a subtle reference to the hangar, whose entire interior ceiling is covered with planks. A balustrade of dense white expanded metal runs around the terrace, through which air flows freely.

As the author says of the project:

The terrace, although dynamic in its shape, thanks to the omnipresent white, is meant to provide a sense of security and tranquility. The white form, frozen in flight against a background of blue sky, is a proposal for a new business card of the aeroclub and an attempt to go beyond the scheme of traditional viewpoints.

airplane hangar reinvented

Following the idea of creating a public place for people interested in aviation, the design activities also included the hangar. The re-created layout of the rooms ensures contact between club members and their guests and gives them a chance to meet directly on the mezzanine designed inside the hall. Its character alludes to the viewing terrace outside and emphasizes the presence of the new fabric in the harmonious, static interior of the hangar.

Szkice projektowe

design sketches

© Aleksandra Wisniewska

The master's diploma project made under the direction of Beata Szymanska, PhD, is an attempt to go beyond the pattern of repetitive solutions. It is an alternative to the unified aviation centers and a dream to reveal to the world the uniqueness of the place, which is the Aeroclub of Gdansk.

compiled by: Dobrawa Bies

illustrations courtesy of Aleksandra Wisniewska

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