Urban Designer, Architect and Researcher

Warsaw Bride - Reinvented Square

International Competition 2013

  • Site: Narutowicza Square, Warsaw, Poland

  • Program: Public City Square Redesign

  • Client: City of Warsaw

  • In colaboration with: Edyta Wiśniewska, Basic City, Felixx

Infrastructural aspects of St. Narutowicza square outweighed any other meaning. Search for its new and multi-meaningful role in the city was in the centre of our approach. 
Square is situated at a very attractive location in the city. Close to the centre, on the route to the airport. Square is edged by the intensive traffic corridor, while its heart surrounded by a complex system of tram lines. This makes any attempt to enhance the quality of the public space to go hand in hand with a large investment into the optimization of infrastructure, which would deem the whole operation not realistic. 

How to reinvent a public square in the times of shrinking public funds and undermined belief in the speculative urbanization?
Having virtually no any pressure to build new program in the area which to help pay off for the necessary investment, we chose another direction. We embraced square’s redundancy. Decided to erase all the limits and avoid all readymade formulas. Square’s complete erasure becomes one of the discussed directions. Strategies which to enable the idea are listed. Eventually, we simply fence off the square, detach it form the city. Make it not easily accessible. 

So far, practically undistinguishable, surrounded by the fence the square becomes visible. Bluntness of the concept articulates the surrounding urban context. It reveals a beautiful residential alley and an urban plaza in front of the church from two opposite sides of the fence. Immediately intriguing, the space inside, we speculated, would later become desirable. Program is flexible and can change throughout time. At first, the space surrounded by the fence is given back to the marginalized activities. Forgotten social practices, that don’t find place in the city anymore, revitalize the urban ambient. Meaning of the square and its role in the city are reinvented. Effortlessly.

 

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