Building blocks of life

03 Oct 2011

New dynamic social housing in Poland represents a breakway from traditional past

Bulwary Rawy III Housing Estate is located in the Zawodzie district in Katowice. The building arrangement is adapted to the existing urban system, the directions of streets, the shape of the plot and solar exposure.

The project occurred as a result of Biuro Projektów Architektonicznych winning an architectural competition, organised by the Association of Polish Architects on behalf of the Social Housing Association in Katowice, which is a municipal company, dealing with the construction of social housing.

The client determined the structure of flats as follows:
5% - studio up to 30 sq m surface
10% - studio ranging from 30 to 40 sq m surface
35 - 40% - one bedroom flats ranging from 40 to 49 sq m surface
25 - 30% - one bedroom flats ranging from 50 to 63 sq m surface
15 - 20% - two bedroom flats over 64 sq m surface

The diversified and restricted structure of flats was highlighted in the shape of the buildings. Overhanging fragments represent bigger apartments, and withdrawn spaces are smaller flats. The biggest flats are located on the highest storeys, with terraces covered by reinforced concrete roofs.

The buildings have two staircases, which determined the symmetry of their functional solutions. Shapes and colours of the buildings in a natural way reflect this symmetry. The buildings are covered with colourful plaster. Cold colours were applied from the side of streets, warm from the interior of the estate, where the playgrounds are located. The colour of plaster is emphasising the described spatial structure of buildings. For colourful plaster they are points of reference: raw concrete, applied in balconies, roofs and small architecture elements, and glass filling of balustrades.

The history for the proposed settlements are big residential blocks from the communist period, about the simple solids and subdued colours. Sculptured shapes and joyful colours of new buildings are reflecting dynamism and optimism of the social sector of the housing industry in reborn, a democratic country in which it fosters a sense of dignity of the citizens and their identification with their place of residence. The Housing Estate has been very positively received by residents and local community and received an award by the Minister of Infrastructure.

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