Toya Design wins Zamek Culture Centre modernisation competition

28Polish office Toya Design shared with us their latest project, which won the First Prize in the competition for Architectural Concept of Modernisation of Grand Hall complex at “Zamek” Culture Centre in Poznan, . The project will be realized in the years 2009-2011 with the 70% European Union fund.

The concept is based on the idea of extending the first floor hallway in front of the Grand Hall to form the central ATRIUM, where all functions of the Castle concentrate, and where paths of its visitors meet.

Architect’s description and more images, after the break.

Located in place of the original castle courtyard, the ATRIUM is covered with a glass skylight, which makes the place “return” to its original architectural layout. Open across three storeys, it becomes a new, friendly CENTRE which the Castle has lacked to date.

The spectator-guest-visitor-resident does not feel lost in the recesses of the huge orifice anymore, but turns into a witness-participant-creator of events.

Such concept requires changes in the present structure of the buildings, or, to be more exact, partial recreation of the original, historic layout. This entails removal of the ceiling above the present-day hallway in front of the Grand Hall, demolition of canteen and staircase walls, as well as adding a glazed skylight of the ATRIUM. A ring-shaped mezzanine is put in place of the ceiling. Nest-shaped, it rests on its own reinforced concrete structure, which becomes a connecting area between the right and left sides of the second floor. The arched stairway which leads to the mezzanine offers excellent view of the whole optically open area encompassing more than three storeys of the castle. The glazed skylight of the ATRIUM remains invisible from the outside.

New structural arrangements also redefine the area above the Grand Hall. Replacement of its present suspended ceiling with a new, higher structure makes establishment of a full-size contemporary stage possible. Still higher, inside the room outlined by stretches of the roof of the building, a new “suspended” stage can be accessed via a “gangway” staircase from the last storey of the tower which flanks the building’s main entrance (and houses the main lift). With a platform placed upon it, the new ceiling becomes a structural element of the new stage (elements of the Grand Hall’s technical infrastructure are suspended underneath).

The Grand Hall becomes a multi-purpose theatrical-event venue. It is equipped with moving platforms, which support the stage and auditorium. Both can be arranged in a number of ways, depending on the character of the performance and requirements of the set. Furthermore, moveable, folding auditoriums are introduced. The suspended ceiling is complete with a fly system.

The most important decorative element of the newly-designed interiors is their natural austerity, which is achieved through disposal of all the stone facings previously used in these areas.

Raw concrete, visible elements of technical infrastructure, graphite-grey colouring of the walls and structural elements made of steel form excellent background to all Castle’s mission activities. Neutral flooring made of large slabs of granite does not visually disrupt the interiors. The only “colourful” element is natural, rosewood facing of inner doors.

The materials used lend the facility the quality of an interior defined by its function; they do not force their stylistics and thus play a subordinate role to events that make up the Castle’s program.

Cite: Jordana, Sebastian. "Toya Design wins Zamek Culture Centre modernisation competition" 12 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 May 2015. <>
  • Zaki

    I don’t get the idea of this project. Can You tell me why these footbridges are shaped like this? It’s construction looks soo heavy that adding a glass floor on in has absolutely no point. This eliptical structure covering the atrium doesn’t suit there . And what is this portal-like ring with some instcriptions/ runes on it? (too much Lord of the Rings guys!). This classic building calls for simple, aesthetic and refreshing project. I’m sorry to see that this sad and dull architecture is going to be build in my country :-\.

    btw. I can see 3(!) staircases in the atrium- I don’t think You need that many…

  • krzh

    looks like a quake 3 arena environment :P

    • Scarpasez

      …beat me to it. Yikes!

      • Matt

        haha! exactly what i thought

  • samuel

    how awful

  • StructureHub Blog

    The project is definitely ambitious – and good in that it would preserve a decent old building. But…must so much of the new interior construction be so hard and gray?

  • Lucas Gray

    That space is cold, dark and dreary. Maybe its just the renderings but that doesn’t look like a place I would want to spend time in.

  • architect

    A very good project joining old and new in a minimal but significant way. Monochrome design is an excellent background for an exhibition interiors.

  • sash

    looks like a level from goldeneye…

  • Tashio

    Two points.
    1) There is a Walkway leading into a wall around which is a ring.
    2) The ring looks oddly similar to the Stargate Ring…

    If anyone can help explain these that would be great.

    • Zaki

      this is the Stargate ring (out of order I guess ;-) )

  • kc

    nice to see dark and heavy design, i’m kind of tired of the typical stuff we see here usually.

  • as

    one thing is dark and heavy and another is just this…

  • Dariusz

    it does look like a cool video game.. unfortunate how the roof ring isn’t structural or complete.. just floating there.. it’s a decent start though… let’s add some colour!!

  • Joshua

    @ krzh

    I was going to say the same. This is video game environments as architecture. Of course if someone mentioned that a space I design looked like a level in Goldeneye, I’d be flattered.

  • very

    I think that the idea of the ring is good: a lot of light, good moving, interesting. And the glass gives it more light, although the structure design is not appropriate. Red furnishing isn’t original, but boring. White details may give it some accent.