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Youth meeting place. Development-specific design

12 of January '23

The international student competitionu titled Nature Inspired Youth Centre for the design of a Youth Center in Canada, organized by Arc Ace magazine, attracted a lot of interest from Polish teams. Students from the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk - Zuzanna Kowalska, Marcela Zielińska and Julia Zubka- took part in the design challenge. Their proposal focuses on adolescence and supporting development, dividing the building and its surroundings into PSYCHE, SOMA and POLIS zones.

The competition challenge was to design a building for young people between the ages of 14 and 19. The building was to be inspired by nature, and participants were to use natural materials, green living walls and roofs, and shapes with organic forms. An important element was to offer a program for young people - conducive to development, cooperation, learning, play and sports.

Studentki ASP w Gdańsku zaprojektował budynek spotkań młodzieży i jego otoczenie

Students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk designed the youth meeting building and its surroundings

© Zuzanna Kowalska, Marcela Zielińska, Julia Zubka

polish students appreciated!

Of the submitted projects, the jury awarded five Grand Prizes. The third and fourth prizes went to Polish students.TREE HOUSE byMaria Faliszewska of the Silesian University of Technology wonthird prize, and theUnderground Center project byDaria Wróbel and Mateusz Zwierzchowski of the Poznan University of Technology received fourth prize.

Students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk Zuzanna Kowalska, Marcela Zielińska and Julia Zubka also took part in the competition. Their project, made under the direction of Prof. Beata Szymanska and Dr. Pawel Czarzasty in the 1st Interior Design Studio, admittedly did not make the podium, but deserves attention.

Przestrzeń wspólna zachęca do spotkań

The building consists of a first floor and a mezzanine level

© Zuzanna Kowalska, Marcela Zielińska, Julia Zubka

As he prepares to enter adulthood, a young person refers to the future by verifying childhood experiences. He also looks to the future, trying to determine who and what he wants to be. The time of adolescence is one of the most difficult in life. Our idea was to create spaces for the young, facilitating this period and allowing them to develop properly in many aspects, which we divided into mental development - PSYCHE, physical development - SOMA and social development - POLIS. In addition, we introduced spaces that induce a sense of oneness with nature in the users," the authors say.

Miejsce spotkań młodzieży, rzut Na terenie znajduje się stacja meteorologiczna

The project includes the main building and the research station building

© Zuzanna Kowalska, Marcela Zielińska, Julia Zubka

meeting place

Adolescents in adolescence begin to spend more time outside the home, but often do not have properly designed, safe and dedicated places for this. Students of the Gdansk Academy of Fine Arts have therefore designed a dedicated space for youngsters in a natural setting. This is a year-round accessible facility with an open layout, conducive to integration and containing activities needed for healthy development.

 Miejsce spotkań młodzieży i stacja badawcza, elewacja

youth meeting place and research station, elevation

© Zuzanna Kowalska, Marcela Zielińska, Julia Zubka

The establishment also includes an outdoor research station with equipment for measuring the weather (a water meter, a wind meter and a meteorological cage). The students also designed a climbing wall made of tubes, which leads to the mezzanine and encourages active spending. To descend from the mezzanine, one can use a slide, the outlet of which ends in a common space with modified tables suspended on rails.

Elewację pokrywa termobimetal Ścianka wspinaczkowa wykonana z rurek prowadzi na antresolę

The facade is made of thermobimetal, and the climbing wall is made of metal tubes

© Zuzanna Kowalska, Marcela Zielińska, Julia Zubka

unusual materials

When designing the building, the authors reached for both experimental and natural materials. An interesting proposition is the facade made of thermobimetal, formed from a combination of two metals, shrinks under the influence of heat, in this case the sun's rays, gradually revealing openings in the facade and allowing natural light into the building. The façade glass used helps maintain thermal comfort while preserving views of the surrounding nature. The structure of the youth center is skeletal and made of locally occurring Douglas fir wood, andrammed earth (rammed earth) forms the walls and floor, insulating well and regulating indoor humidity.

Centrum Młodzieży w Kanadzie

The structure of the building is skeletal and made of Douglas fir wood

© Zuzanna Kowalska, Marcela Zielińska, Julia Zubka


The designed PSYCHE zone is responsible for mental development, emotional maturation and coping with stress. It consists of observation of nature, the changes of which, according to the designers, can resemble the transformations that occur during human adolescence. One such element that facilitates observation is a mini weather station, allowing analysis of atmospheric conditions and climate changes. Another, are the plantings of American troy in a clearing near the building. This plant is the natural habitat of an endangered species of monarch butterfly. Contact with nature, is also encouraged by the many paths leading to the nearby forest. Relaxation is also an important aspect. The authors have placed numerous hammocks in the building for relaxation and tranquility.

Przestrzenie Centrum Młodzieży to także miejsce na relaks

The spaces of the Youth Center are also a place to relax

© Zuzanna Kowalska, Marcela Zielińska, Julia Zubka

SOMA and POLIS zone

The SOMA zone is responsible for physical development. It is formed by numerous paths and shortcuts. The main entrance to the mezzanine is on the outside of the building, while to get to the mezzanine from theinside, one must use a climbing wall. The descent is expedited by a slide that encourages play.

Podwieszane stoły można ze sobą łączyć

The suspended tables can be combined with each other

© Zuzanna Kowalska, Marcela Zielińska, Julia Zubka

ThePOLIS zone, which is responsible for social development, establishing relationships and a sense of acceptance, is a modifiable meeting space in the facility. It is formed by tables suspended on rails, which can be divided and combined in various configurations. This allows users to meet in pairs, small or larger groups. An important place is the discussion table, where conversation can be easily undertaken. As seats, the authors proposed special balls that can be easily rearranged and arranged in different ways.

Also read about the design of theLIBRARY WITH ELECTRONIC RESOURCES, which is a gateway to the forest. For this project, its author Magdalena Ambroszko from Wroclaw University of Technology received the third prize in the 2030 Academic Library competition, also organized by Arc Ace.

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