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Two-story pier and pavilions on the renovated Lubianka River

28 of February '24

The Lubianka Reservoir in Starachowice is another interesting development in the public space of this small city, after the award-winning City Park. Two-level piers, pavilions dug into the slope and new bridges have functionally enriched the area, although the architectural interference could sometimes be more modest.

Lubianka is an artificial reservoir created in the 1980s on the river of the same name in the southern part of Starachowice. Situated between an estate of single-family houses and a forest, within the buffer zone of the Sieradowicki Landscape Park, it is an attractive place for water sports, walking and recreation.

Molo na zalewie Lubianka

Pier on the Lubianka lagoon

Photo: Kacper Kępiński

In the architectural competition for the development of the area by the lagoon, settled in late 2016, the winner was Format Architectural Studio from Kielce, the team preparing the concept consisted of Robert Tarczynski, Emilia Król, Agnieszka Legut and Dagmara Kraj.

Projekt zagospodarowania terenu nad zalewem

Design of the development of the area by the lagoon

© PA Format

The project in a diverse and multithreaded, but at the same time synthetic way, creates an attractive - public and intimate - space for recreation, leisure and sport in the area of the "Lubianka" lagoon. It fits harmoniously into the existing environment. It skillfully uses its scenic and physiographic qualities, while leveling out its handicaps. It creates an environment with high urban and architectural values, consistent in the convention of the compositional solution, the way of communication, formation of functional zones, disposition, tectonics and character of architectural forms, in their different scales, and their solutions of texture and detail, " reads the opinion of the competition court.

The designers' task was to find a new formula for recreational areas, going beyond its traditional role. The project was to include elements to activate children and young people, create meeting places for seniors, space for the organization of lectures, outdoor events, sports, music, theater and multidisciplinary shows and performances.

Przekrój przez molo

cross section through the pier

© PA Format

The project consists of a new pedestrian and bicycle promenade around the lagoon, along with bridges that now make it possible to go around the reservoir, development of green areas in the northern part, and sports infrastructure facilities and amenities. Among other things, sports equipment rental facilities have been expanded, and sports fields and playgrounds have been designated.

Pawilon nad zalewem Lubianka

Pavilion at Lubianka lagoon

Photo: Kacper Kepinski

A completely new volume at the site is a pavilion for restaurants, changing room functions and restrooms. The buildings were designed to be dug into the slope of the escarpment and open with their southern elevations to the lagoon. The grassy roofs are intended by the authors to integrate the buildings into the landscape and expand the natural area.

Undoubtedly, a particular challenge already during the design process was to preserve the natural character of the area as much as possible and, at the same time, to realize the intended program. Hence the idea of building into slopes, green roofs that are also viewing terraces, natural materials and multiple adjustments even during the implementation of the course of paths, accesses and layout of elements so as to limit interference with the existing vegetation to an absolute minimum. The contractor was implementing the project at perhaps the worst time, when Covid and later the outbreak of war in Ukraine disrupted supply chains and caused prices to skyrocket, so the entire implementation period required a constant search for compromises and the abandonment of some elements in order for the investment to be completed at all," says Robert Tarczynski of PA Format.

Molo na zalewie Lubianka

Pier on the Lubianka lagoon

photo: Kacper Kępiński

The authors of the project also proposed green terraces shaped with retaining walls integrated into the natural relief of the area- thus creating a partially natural amphitheater with a stage highlighted by the form of a concrete frame.

Pawilony oraz scena plenerowa

Pavilions and outdoor stage

© Dronspekcja

Although the authors tried to preserve as much of the natural landscape as possible, the central space of the establishment can seem overloaded in places - green roofs and steps struggle to break through in the thicket of retaining walls, columns, walls and technical equipment. Some elements, such as the concrete frame, seem completely unnecessary. More breath is offered by spaces away from the beach, where there is far less architectural intervention.

Widok jednego z mostów nad zalewem

A view of one of the bridges over the lagoon

© Dronspection

The problem with the scale of the establishment's architecture, moreover, may be due to the fact that both the project and the competition itself were prepared by architects, and landscape architecture has receded into the background here. This is why it is so important that both the author teams and the competition juries include competent people who feel the scale and issues of green areas and nature.

Pawilon sportowy nad zalewem Lubianka

Sports pavilion at Lubianka lagoon

photo: Kacper Kępiński

However, not all elements of the competition concept were realized. The scale of the water ski installation was significantly reduced and the service pavilions in the upper part of the area were not built. The authors point out, however, that the biggest compromise was the abandonment of the construction of a cafe on the water.

Wizualizacja niezrealizowanej kawiarni na wodzie

Visualization of the unrealized water cafe

© PA Format

The biggest and most "nagging" change for us was the abandonment of the café designed between the levels of the pier. The whole idea of the two levels was constructed around the construction of a fully glazed cafe, which was supposed to be a place with a unique atmosphere, where the landscape would completely blend with the interior, so that guests could experience true relaxation and enjoy the view of the tranquility of water and nature. Unfortunately, thanks to the absurd interpretation of the local plan by the county district administration, the idea of the café fell through, while we managed to persuade the investor to raise additional funds already in the pipeline and make the viewpoint in its current form at this location ," says Robert Tarczynski of PA Format.

Wizualizacja z lotu ptaka - etap konkursowy

Bird's eye view visualization - competition stage

© PA Format

Although the new development of the Lubianka River has its better and worse elements, in general its implementation should be counted as successful. Together with the commissioned City Park of the design of eM4 . Architecture Studio . Brataniec, Lubianka is an important example of the fact that even small cities can thoughtfully create attractive public spaces of high architectural value.

Molo na zalewie Lubianka

Pier on the Lubianka lagoon

Photo: Kacper Kępiński

Kacper Kępiński

The vote has already been cast