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"New skin" of a Gdansk landmark. A student idea for a block of flats on Chlodna Street

Dobrawa Bies
28 of November '22

A graduate of the Faculty of Architecture and Design at the Gdansk Academy of Fine Arts and a resident of Gdansk, Katarzyna Matyja decided to redesign a 1970s point building located at 1 Chlodna St. Her main goal was to give the building a more up-to-date expression, but not by demolishing it, but by adding new terraces and balconies which will increase the living area. The author also used a special grid to create a new facade - the "skin of the building".

The presented project, "Assimilation of an auto-rickshaw. Punktowiec at 1 Chlodna St. in Gdansk" is a master's thesis, carried out in 2022 in the Interior Architecture major, under the direction of Professor Beata Szymanska in the Interior Architecture I studio.

Punktowiec od strony ulicy Łąkowej Projekt punktowca w Gdańsku, wejście od ulicy Łąkowej

The spot is located at 1 Chlodna St. in Gdansk

© Katarzyna Matyja

Gdansk has been my hometown for several generations, so I decided to focus on its main problems. The period after World War II was the problem of constantly missing housing. Guaranteeing residents a roof over their heads necessitated the construction of simple prefabricated blocks of flats, which had to be built at lightning speed, with minimized costs. These times inspired me to take up the issue of building prefabricated housing. While looking at the ongoing renovations of buildings, both in the Lower Town and on Chlodna Street in Gdansk, I decided to take action on the point building at 1 Chlodna Street. "Never demolish, never remove or replace, always add, transform and reuse!" - these words of the duo Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal are extremely important and timely for me. When choosing the topic for my diploma, I asked myself whether it would be a better decision to leave the Punktowiec unchanged, or perhaps, however, to attempt an intervention that would allow the building to become part of the neighborhood's character and at the same time improve the comfort of the block," says Katarzyna Matyja.

The Punktowiec at 1 Chlodna Street in Gdansk is a residential block built in the 1970s to serve the needs of workers employed at the Gdansk refinery. The envisaged spatial solutions and designed apartments of small area do not correspond to the current standards of housing construction. According to a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts, the current form of the building and its location do not establish a relationship with the surroundings. The building remains an autsider of the neighborhood.

Punktowiec od strony ulicy Stefanii Sempołowskiej Projekt punktowca w Gdańsku, przekrój A-A

"The skin of the building" is formed by a steel mesh

© Katarzyna Matyja

"second skin"

Katarzyna Matyja's main goal was to give the building a more up-to-date expression, inscribing it into the old and new fabric of the Lower Town. The author, referring to the principle of "never to demolish", decided not to interfere with the structure and construction of the building as much as possible. To this end, she decided to surround the building with terraces and balconies, and added a new, second "skin of the building" that forms the facades.

Wizualizacja zaakcentowanego narożnika ogrodzenia

The author also designed a fence made of openwork ceramic molding

© Katarzyna Matyja

The existing elevations on some levels serve as interior walls, and the windows, after removing the sub-window wall, provide a transition to the newly designed part. The terraces surrounding the building are based on a structure independent of the building. The irregular shape of the terraces and the steel mesh superimposed on the entire facade, as well as the vegetation climbing on the terraces, give the mass a certain softness, neutralizing, the earlier, angular form.

Wnętrze strefy klubowej

The interior of the club area on the first floor

© Katarzyna Matyja

The designer also designed a fence made of openwork ceramic molding. In it she placed two entrances - one to the building, the other to the garden. The garden with a terrace is accented on the west side by the outline of the historic tenements. The massive wall of the defunct tenements is also symbolized by willow plantings. The terrace, surrounded by greenery, features shallow stone water troughs that can be crossed by wooden bridges. The inspiration for including water in the garden's design came from the drainage canals formerly located in the street.

Projekt punktowca w Gdańsku, wejście, klatka schodowa i windy

entrance - staircase and elevators

© Katarzyna Matyja

common space on the first floor

The first floor of the new punk building is a space for common recreation. The space provides integration of residents through rest, relaxation or exercise. In addition, the author envisioned a café with an outlet for bakery and confectionery products in the building. A passage on the first floor accessible only to residents leads directly from the staircase to the premises. At its entrance there is a gatehouse with a person overseeing the facility. All entrances to the building and interior spaces have been adapted for use by the elderly, families with small children or people with disabilities.

Rzut mieszkań jednopoziomowych

floor plan of single-level apartments

© Katarzyna Matyja

The materials that the author used on the exterior of the point block - brick, mesh and metal - have also been used in the interiors. Meanwhile, the highlighted walls in the club area were covered with wallpaper with an author-designed pattern.

Wnętrze jednego z mieszkań

The interior of one of the apartments

© Katarzyna Matyja

larger area for the apartment

The author decided to increase the area of the apartments, designing one- and two-level apartments ranging from 48 to 150 square meters. The single-level apartments gained terraces and balconies enclosed by a glass curtain wall, and their residents thus gained from 3 to 25 meters of additional space.

Projekt punktowca w Gdańsku, rzut apartamentu

projection of a two-level apartment

© Katarzyna Matyja

The two -level apartments were created by combining two apartments vertically. On the first level, the designer proposed balconies placed on the east side, and on the other sides - an open terrace, which is decorated with climbing plants growing in spacious pots. The rearranged and enlarged apartments thus have access to more light and the possibility to open up to the surrounding views.

Projekt punktowca w Gdańsku, balkon jednego z apartamentów

The balcony of one of the apartments

© Katarzyna Matyja

elaboration: Dobrawa Bies

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