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LIBRARY + THEATRE

2024, Bielsko-Biała, Poland
Public Building
Competition

 

     Bielsko-Biała is a city strongly connected to its geographical location. It is situated on the Silesian Foothills, at the foot of the Beskids, which form the northern part of the Carpathian mountain range. Its terrain features a varied landscape, consisting of extensive hills divided by deep stream valleys, with the central valley of the Biała River.

     Architecture that arises in such a specific and attractive landscape should be closely intertwined with it. It should uncover its advantages and, through its form, highlight and impart unique characteristics to it. Understanding the place, its character, and its connections initiated the process of creating a new urban space based on the geological processes that were the original architect of the site.

The project's idea is also based on the city of Bielsko-Biała itself as an example of two separate agglomerations divided by a river valley yet harmoniously coexisting for centuries. It became extremely important to emphasize the attributes of the place where the planned plot is located and to propose a new landscape fabric that, in close symbiosis with the surroundings, highlights its beauty without competing with it.

     By listening to the nature of the surroundings and analyzing the needs of the design assumptions, a building emerged whose heart is a central square created during the building process, alluding to the mountain-forming processes that have occurred here for centuries. The original mass of the building, resulting from the existing context, cracks along the axis of the communication collision between the PKP station and Broniewskiego Street, naturally dividing the block into two parts, one occupied by the Theater building and the other by the Library.

     Next, pedestrian movement, like a meandering river, erodes the space between the buildings, creating multi-level terraces. The erosion of the mass aims to integrate it more harmoniously into the surroundings, creating forms that encourage the exploration of the building. The ramps created by this erosion, connecting different areas of the building, provide the user with an experience akin to Le Corbusier's architectural promenade.

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