Materials and Technologies for Architects – free online version

THE LIFE FRAMES. Award-winning project by students of Wroclaw University of Technology.

Dobrawa Bies
28 of January '22

Kamila Boroch, Katarzyna Jasinska, Aleksandra Piechota and Marcelina Terelak, students of the Faculty of Architecture at Wrocław University of Technology, received an honorable mention in the international Hangar Ticinum competition organized by TerraViva Competitions. Their project called THE LIFE FRAMES is a proposal to bring life and a rich cultural and social program to the formerly deteriorating hydrofoil hangar, Idroscalo.

The Hangar Ticinum competition was tasked with restoring the splendor of the former hangar located on the Ticinum River in Pavia - a small Italian town known for its university, local food and wine, and rich cultural offerings. However, Pavia is not only a remarkable artistic heritage, at the beginning of the 20th century, like many other Italian towns in the north, the town was booming with industry.

Hangar hydroplanów w Pawi

Idroscalo hangar in Pavia, photograph from 1933

© Musei Civici

history of the hydroplane hangar

Numerous ruins of buildings remain from Pavia's industrial period, spreading along the Ticinum River. The most distinctive building is located just inside the gate of the historic center - the Idroscalo hangar , designed in the 1920s by a young Italian architect named Giuseppe Pagano. Strategically located at the confluence of the Naviglio Canal and the Ticinum River, the facility housed hydroplanes (watercraft) and was to be the start of the Turin-Pavia-Venice-Trieste route planned by the Italian Aeronautical Services Association (SISA). In 1926, under Mussolini's leadership, the grand opening of this river airport was held. However, after an initial phase of great prosperity, with the advent of the mid-1930s, air transport and SISA's operations plunged into crisis, leading to the collapse and liquidation of the innovative building. The hangar that is the subject of the competition is the result of a combination of two styles: art nouveau and almost modernist. Surrounded by lush vegetation, today Idroscalo appears as an enchanted ruin. The massive concrete pillars anchoring it to the ground disappear absorbed by the greenery, giving the impression that the building is literally levitating on water.

Hangar w Pawi aktualnie

The hangar, current state

Photo: Alberto Imberti © organizers' materials

restoring its former glory

The unquestionable historical and artistic value of the building, the uniqueness of its architectural typology, and the alarming state of deterioration the building had been in for decades, became the reason for Terraviva Competitions to organize an international competition. The organizers posed the question - how to restore the splendor of a forgotten building?

 Projekt THE LIFE FRAMES, lokalizacja w Pawi

The building is located on the banks of the Ticinum River

© Kamila Boroch, Katarzyna Jasinska, Aleksandra Piechota, Marcelina Terelak

Participants were asked to create projects aimed at restoring life and the former significance and position of the hangar in the city. The competition entries were to take into account social and cultural aspects and a broad program related to the daily use of the space intended for both the local community and visitors. The organizers did not set design restrictions, and the most important question was - how to transform ldroscalo into a community center that will be alive seven days a week?

Projekt THE LIFE FRAMES, wnętrze

THE LIFE FRAMEST project received an honorable mention

© Kamila Boroch, Katarzyna Jasinska, Aleksandra Piechota, Marcelina Terelak

honorable mention for PWr students

The works submitted for the competition were evaluated in terms of originality of concept, integration with the environment, contemporary interpretation of the program, sensitivity in the use of materials, environmental impact and graphic representation. The submitted projects were evaluated by an international jury consisting of: German Fuenmayor (PIUARCH), Anastasia Kucherova (Stefano Boeri Architetti), Lorenzo Degli Esposti (DEGLI ESPOSTI ARCHITETTI) Mariangela Singali Calisti (Pavia City Hall), Filippo Imberti (TSPA), Luca Paci (OPERASTUDIO), Bogdan Peric (Untitled Architecture) Toufic Rifai (Politecnico di Milano).

Projekt THE LIFE FRAMES, rzut parteru Projekt THE LIFE FRAMES, aksonometria

THE LIFE FRAMES project, projection and axonometry.

© Kamila Boroch, Katarzyna Jasinska, Aleksandra Piechota, Marcelina Terelak

The jury decided to award three main prizes: First Prize also went to the team from Poland, consisting of: Paulina Górecka, Paulina Pawlikowska, 2nd Prize went to Devin Dobrowolski from the United States, and 3rd Prize went to the team consisting of: Valeria Paez Cala and Luisa Brando. Four honorable mentions (Golden Mentions) and ten honorable mentions were also awarded, among which was the project THE LIFE FRAMES by a team of students from the Wroclaw University of Technology.

Projekt THE LIFE FRAMES, malarstwo Projekt THE LIFE FRAMES, ciemnia fotograficzna

The authors designed a box designed for various activities

© Kamila Boroch, Katarzyna Jasinska, Aleksandra Piechota, Marcelina Terelak


The project by students of the Wroclaw University of Technology is based on a renovation aimed at bringing life back into the danwgo hangar building, so that it is filled with users once again and becomes the caretaker of the Ticino River again.

The authors based the functional-utility program on the universality of the space. The interior was divided into three lighting zones, where each zone is a stage for different activities. As the authors say, the function of the designed object is organized by introducing a structure of boxes, based on a modular grid. The boxes are originally empty spaces where various activities will be conducted, such as painting, crafts, photography (darkroom), yoga, theater and a range of other activities involving the public.

Projekt THE LIFE FRAMES, zajęcia teatralne Projekt THE LIFE FRAMES, relaks

In the facility, for example, you can take part in theater classes or relax

© Kamila Boroch, Katarzyna Jasinska, Aleksandra Piechota, Marcelina Terelak

In the object, the ways of perceiving space are particularly important. Its dominant feature is the "window on life", which becomes a place to observe changes in nature - it is a "screen on the world". The multitude of functions makes the facility live 24 hours a day - during the day with a rich utility program, as well as at night, where it becomes a space for rest or temporary stopover. The hangar is a facility from where people come out richer in experiences and interests, and its space itself is a zone for strengthening social ties and developing their skills , the authors conclude.

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