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You can shoot! Shoothouse—a unique training facility from P3 Architecture Studio

Kuba Głaz
13 of December '22

A one-of-a-kind shooting range has been built in Wlośjewki, Wielkopolska. The Shoothouse by P3 Pracownia Architektury is used to simulate emergency situations. It is located in a private training complex, which is to be enriched by another building by the same architects.

Few architects get to design a building with a unique function that is not found elsewhere. The Shoothouse is just such a case, a facility where soldiers, policemen, commandos and other special units can practice sharp shooting in a safe manner. The building is full of varied interiors, passageways and staircases, allowing to practice different action scenarios. Almost all the walls are finished with special rubber linings and sheet metal behind them. These layers absorb bullets.

shoothouse wnętrze guma shoothouse p3 pracownia architektury

Shoothouse, Vlasciejewki, design by P3 Pracownia Architektury, interiors lined with rubber facings, shooting is not allowed above the yellow strip at the top

Photo: Anna B. Gregorczyk

Shoothouse was established in the village of Wlośjewki (65 km south of Poznan) at the private training center European Security Academy founded by Dr. Andrzej Bryl, which has been operating since 1992. The headquarters has been located since 2012 in a restored manor house that once belonged to the Niegolewski family. Next to it are open shooting ranges, training areas with mock-up buildings and accommodation. Shoothouse by P3 Pracownia Projektowa from Poznań joined them in 2021 and made it to the finals of this year's edition of the Architectural Award of the Wielkopolska Region (NAWW).

Shoothouse, Włościejewki, proj. P3 Pracownia Architektury

Shoothouse, Vlasciejewki, proj. P3 Pracownia Architektury - View from the exercise field built with a mock-up of a city from the Middle East

Photo: Anna B. Gregorczyk

get a shot in the arm

Did the architects have experience designing for the military or police? Sebastian Nowakowski of P3 Pracownia Architektury answers:

None. The investor came to us on the recommendation of a supervisory inspector with whom we work on other projects. This subject came as a big surprise to us. However, thanks to the fact that the investor had a detailed plan and guidelines for the interiors, we did not have great problems with the functional program. Our task was primarily to shape the massing and fit the new building into the existing complex.

Here the designers were helped by the slope, into which they integrated the building. This was determined by one of the guidelines stating the need for independent access to two floors. The designers describe other aspects of their idea:

We decided to go a step further in fitting in with the landscape context, and so not only cut the building into the slope, but also move the floors in relation to each other creating a sense of mass following the terrain, while creating terraces.

Shoothouse, Włościejewki, proj. P3 Pracownia Architektury

Shoothouse, Vlasciejewki, proj. P3 Pracownia Architektury - The massive form and cut-and-pulled grid are meant to give the building a fortified character

Photo: Anna B. Gregorczyk

shots on the cage

The offset treatment turned out to be not only an aesthetic measure, but also a practical one. The terraces work well as one more exercise area. Meanwhile, the massive mass is enlivened by a tower riser with a staircase and ventilation systems obscured by expanded metal. The main entrance is located on the axis of the tower. Nowakowski says:

We wanted this accent, and in the process it turned out to have a previously unplanned utility value. During some actions, commandos arrive at the scene by helicopter and enter through the turret. I also heard from the investor and users that the ability to shoot sharply also within the staircase is unique for this type of facility.

It also confirms that, according to the owners, this is the only such building not only in the country, but also in Europe. According to the intention of the authors, the body shaped in this way resembles a compact and difficult to conquer fortress. This effect, however, is somewhat weakened by the white plastering of the Styrofoam-insulated walls and the ventilation equipment added rather haphazardly to one of the elevations. Nowakowski explains:

The additional ventilation installations were added at the final stage of the work for safety reasons. A building of this type must be perfectly ventilated, among other things to prevent ignition of gunpowder residue left over after shooting. As for the facades, we had initially planned to finish them with corten, the character of which would fit perfectly with this investment. However, it came to cost optimization and there are white plastered walls and expanded metal.

Budynek recepcyjny European Security Academy, wizualizacja, proj. P3 Pracownia Architektury

European Security Academy reception building, visualization, proj. P3 Pracownia Architektury

visualization: Tomasz Jurkowski, P3VIZ

Corten, however, is to appear in another facility to be built at the center in Wlośjewki. The same architects have designed a low-rise pavilion, where rust-colored steel is to be contrasted with extensive glazing. It will serve as a reception area for the resort's expanded accommodation facilities.


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