Toya Design wins Zamek Culture Centre modernisation competition

Polish 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, Poland. 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.

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Cite: Sebastian Jordana. "Toya Design wins Zamek Culture Centre modernisation competition" 12 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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