The “Reunite the River with our City” project, an public initiative by 4am Architekci, aims at creating a new approach in Poland for introducing changes to the shape and character of Warsaw and to propose solutions to the topic of planning the city’s sensitive areas. Concerning the master plan of Warsaw’s waterfront in the city’s downtown area, they feel an obligation to use their knowledge and experience for public benefit by distributing their work between paid and non-profit conceptual projects according to the 80/20 rule. Their goal is to materialize the “bottom up” rule, where the society is giving a proposal and solutions and thus relieves the administrative apparatus. More images and architects’ description after the break.
River for centuries had a huge impact on the formation of urban tissue and the city’s image. It used to protect the city or on the contrary – was the biggest threat to it. The function of the river as a motivator for the establishment of new urban centers lost its significance a long time ago. Transport function has faded or is already so developed that it cannot be exploited more. The economic functions of the rivers are not as important as dozen or several hundred years ago. Today, one of the most important functions of the river are the landscape, spatial and social values.
The river is able to perfectly highlight the unique atmosphere of the city, through which flows. It has the ability to create new nodal points, giving the town its individual character. However, to fully enjoy the beauty of the city that connects itself into the structure of the river, we have to carry out a number of technical activities aimed at regulating the river. Riverside revitalization requires a long-term strategy firmly inscribed in the spatial policy of the city. It is important to preserve the identity of the city. To saturate the riverside areas with well thought through functions we have to be aware of their accessibility, openness and diversity of users of this space.
The aim of the study is to identify methods of urban transformation, allowing for optimal use of the investment potential of the land – alternative to the provisions of “Development Studies of Warsaw” documents, and other planning studies, which in authors opinions are not optimal. The object of the study are riverside green, seldom used spaces, extending along the left bank of the Vistula boulevard, situated in the center of Warsaw, in the most representative district, which is downtown. Waterfront area is limited by Vistula river (Bohdan Grzymala Siedlecki Boulevard) Stanislaw Poniatowski Bridge and streets: Karowa St. and Wybrzeże Kościuszkowskie St. Most of the area is currently taken by sparsely wooded and unkempt T. Kahl Square. Like the neighboring areas, located on the opposite bank of the river – Port of Praga, or the National Stadium area – despite the central location – it is very poorly invested or even neglected.
At the same time the right bank is now being repaired and enforced to be a nature Reserve – a green, undisturbed part of the city. Port of Praga turns into an exclusive office and residential district. In the area of the Stadium there is a plan to build conference halls, sport infrastructure and exhibition buildings. At the same time it is planned to revitalize the historic fabric of Praga district, adjacent to the Port of Praga. With these treatments, river-side part of Praga will be a representative part of the city. That’s why it is so crucial to create a center-creative region on the left bank of the Vistula. Projects of local plans under development (local development plan “Powiśle North” and “Southern Powiśle”) flagrantly do not use the potential of its location – both in terms of economic, architectural and urban planning as well as social and tourism promotion.
The area covered by our concept of development is located in the city center, in the immediate vicinity of the river and riverside boulevards, it has excellent transport links with the city – subway, bus and tram stops, passenger harbor. Those characteristics will attract crowds of users in the future. Therefore, the present site meets all the criteria for the construction of public facilities of the highest class. They should be various institutions of culture, science, administration, and local services, such as hotels and premium offices. The first sign that the process has already begun and it is needed is the Science Center “Copernicus”, located just above the Vistula itself.
The proposed set of buildings on the left bank of the river would create Warsaw’s “water-front”, becoming the third most attractive region of the city. The current plan, proposed by the City make our dream of contemporary Warsaw unreal. Land development has been divided into three areas: science, culture and services. Objects of science associated with the University of Warsaw, will be between the intersection with the Karowa St. and the Copernicus Science Centre. According to the proposals contained in the guidelines for the already resolved Competition for the Vistula Boulevard we foresee the construction of two buildings, which fall within the new institutions the University of Warsaw. The area of education and new technologies are the buildings including the “Copernicus” Science Center, buildings on the site of reduced Explorers Park and the building between the road stripes connecting Powiśle to the Świętokrzyski Bridge. The area of culture extends from the proposed site of the underground station “Powiśle” to the Railway Bridge. The city needs new cultural facilities, such as a concert hall, Ateneum Theatre, and other cultural institutions. Creation of a passenger harbor facilities, serving the visitors is also expected in the future. Service and office area is the area located between the exits from the Poniatowski Bridge, and the extension of Stefan Jaracz St. It consists of four objects. The first two are situated on the plot located between the exit from the Poniatowski Bridge and the Railway Bridge. The other set is on the opposite side of the Railway Bridge. The project envisages the adaptation of the construction of the Railway Bridge to adapt to the needs of both buildings combined to a set. The new buildings will be connected to representational Royal Way by the communication system through the streets of downtown with pedestrian advantage, creating a system of public spaces of a similar nature and functions. Architects: 4am Architekci Location: Warsaw, Poland Lead Architects: Tomasz Karpinski, Mateusz Wojcicki Prepared by: Anna Dobek, Małgorzata Krukowska, Tomasz Karpiński, Mateusz Wójcicki, Arkadiusz Wróblewski Cooperation: RS Architektura Krajobrazu (Agnieszka Gasparska, Patryk Zaręba), Forum Rozwoju Warszawy (Patryk Zaremba), SISKOM (Jan Jakiel), Piotr Fedak