An Architecture of Context
The project for a City Library is located on a prestigious plot near the Main Railway Station in Wrocław, it exists as a very busy and lively place. Due to the urban layout, there was a need for a dominant architectural element that would attract passers-by and promote culture. As such the project takes the form of a tower, and is a counter dominant for a strongly horizontal Station’s block.
The facade is a synthesis of the neighbourhood, where arcades and arches are often present. The character is reflected on painted- like graphics. Also, people on the pictures are specially chosen from Edward Hopper’s paintings, perfectly fitting to the background.
Who influences you graphically?
While working on a project, almost immidiately after getting an idea, I kind of imagine the picture. Rarely does it happen to me to do a reaseach on the graphics or change the very first imagination of it. Almost all of my projects are expressed differently, rather matched to the subject than to my personal preferences.
In this project specifically, after giving some thoughts to the Library itself, I extracted two types: more cosy and local ones and those, which arouse respect. And so the building I imagined, in a very prestigious spot in Wrocław, represented the second kind. Reffering to a book as the traditional media, powerfull and respected tool, I decided to reflect it in the graphics that strongly refers to it’s origin.
How does the graphic language of the proposal relate to the proposal? You talk about character of the neighbourhood, what is this and how does it translate?
I guess that my previous answer partially explained the relation between proposal and it’s graphics. It was mostly imposed by the facade, which really dominates the whole thing.
The project is located in an area with a strong historical background. In the nearest naighbourhood there is KDM, a housing estabilishment build in the 50’s, commonly called “The Arcades”. And ofcourse the Main Railway Station, also containing those elements. So is almost every tenement house on Piłsudzkiego street. The facade is a result of taking those elements together, as a generall expression of surrounding’s character.
Why do you neglect to reveal context within the images when you instead talk about it as a driving force for the design process?
I would not call it a driving force. It may now seem so since the facade has such a strong expression. Also part of the closest sourrounding are very detailed buildings, and it was simply the matter of time.
Why the choice of Hopper figures?
The reason for it came up in the process of creating graphics. I got highly contrasted backgound with a refined, bright aestethics. Being familiar with Hopper’s work i got an idea to match it together. And now might be a goot time to answer another of your questions: Does the structure invite for exchange and interaction between people? If so how do the isolated Hopper figures stand in relation to this?
The building strongly stands out in the context. Mainly because of it’s hight and notion. And that’s the way it encourages passers by to enter. To explore what’s inside. And inside they are supposed to be even a bit overwhelmed and calm down in a very busy and lively surrounding. In my opinion Hopper’s figures aptly represent it.
Does the different width of the arches relate to a specific view- facade etc? how do you articulate these and in relation to what aspect of the context? Strikingly similar to the EUR complex in Rome, was that a reference?
The Arches are placed densely on the southern site and the rule is followed on the other facades. The pattern though is rather random. EUR complex is something that i always have in mind, though it was not a direct inspiration for this project.
How did the form develop as a tower? is it an ode to the verticality of the pile of books? What are the programs and what is the programmatic distribution? Where are the books? How does the proposal challenge the notion of the library?
There is much simpler explanation for a tower. And it is directly linked to the programmatic distribution and location of the books.
A dominant is a consequence of location. Along the Piłsudzkiego street there is a high office building (vertical dominant), which closes the composition of the public square, along with the Main Railway Station (horizontal dominant). Library is the missing element to get a full composition, closed between 3 elements.
The building contains two functions: library and conference center. And so it was divided in two parts. The low one, with rectangular facade is a restaurant and conference center. Library is placed in the tower, and that’s where all the books are. Two parts are connected by an entrance hall (showed on the graphics).