Imperial shipyard development, Gdansk, Poland

Wednesday 27 Jun 2018
Credit: Henning Larsen Architects

Architects: Henning Larsen Architects

Gdansk takes its glorious past into the future

Henning Larsen is set to revitalise the historical Imperial Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland with a 400.000 m2 urban development

Since its origin in 1844, The Imperial Shipyard has played a major role in Gdansk’s as well as in Poland’s larger history. First as a key player in Gdansk’s economic rise as a power center for shipbuilding by the Baltic Coast, and later as a place playing an active role in the historic collapse of Communism and the rise of the Solidarity movement.

Now experienced urban planners and architects Henning Larsen is transforming the Imperial Shipyard to form a close part of the inner city. The Imperial Shipyard in Gdansk is located at the banks of the Martwa Wisla and Mot?awa rivers close to the city’s historic center. The goal of the 400.000 m2 development is to reclaim the shipyard as a powerful financial and social engine building a thriving, mixed-use, inner city neighborhood by the waterfront that is alive around the clock.

Jacob Kurek, Partner at Henning Larsen, explains:

“It was important for us to pay tribute the unique history of The Imperial Shipyard still visible in the remaining historical buildings. Also having been at the heart of the workers’ movement, many families still feel a very personal connection to the site. Opening up the waterfront to be publicly accessed as well as creating a pedestrian and bicycle friendly connection to the city center will help to give the Imperial Shipyard back to its people.”

Creating spines of public life with pedestrian streets and biking in the inner city

Gdansk has a strong history of communities and the redevelopment of the shipyard will support the feeling of this important legacy while creating new opportunities for waterfront living, working and recreation.

The new plan is anchored by three attractive urban spaces: The Plaza, The Park and The Dock. The Plaza is located by the famous Sala BHP-building paying tribute to the place where the Gdansk Agreement was signed in 1980 as a victory for the workers movement. The Plaza now gives the city a new space to have market days, ice skate or go to concerts. The Park has views over the river and the city with a lush urban forest for people to enjoy outdoor life. The Dock by the waterfront makes up the heart of the new development. It connects The Imperial Shipyard to Gdansk city center while making the waterfront accessible for people. Broad side walks, a large wooden bench element that doubles as flooding barrier, an urban beach and marina alongside facilities for kayaking are all part of the scheme to reclaim the Shipyard for the people.

“From our experience creating urban development schemes around the world, we know that an activation of the public realm is one of the keys to success. We also wanted to set up an alternative to the reliance on cars by making it attractive to move around as pedestrians or by bike. From Copenhagen we know how a reduction of car traffic in the inner city and by the harbor front creates well-being and better living conditions for people,” says Jacob Kurek, Partner at Henning Larsen.

3500 residential units will be part of the development introducing a number of new residential typologies among these a larger housing typology that interprets the classic residential Gdansk-block. Henning Larsen has put an emphasis on community creating green courtyards and rooftops where neighbors can meet and children can play without danger of traffic.

The Imperial Shipyard master plan is developed in collaboration with A2P2 Architecture and Planning and BBGK Architekci for the owners of the Imperial Shipyard, the two Belgian developers Revive and Alides. This is the third mayor urban development project Henning Larsen has selected for in 2018. In February, we won the 16-acre Belfast Waterside project in Belfast, Northern Ireland and the 11 acre Key West development in Brussels.