The organiser- office of the City Architect asked for a complex proposal on how to create a space of value in a green triangular spot adjacent to the Royal Road, a most touristic corridor of Warsaw. The presence of an important monument and the character of the plot pushed us towards the idea of degenerating the grass surface instead of erecting a “glass pavilion” city asked for. The semi-submerged pavilion contains a cafe and a gallery with entrances from the dead side of Krakowskie Przedmieście. Another decision was to shape the form in a way permitting an opening towards a perpendicular street sloping dramatically down towards Vistula- an important visual link nowadays hiddeen for the walkers on the Royar Route.
The Hoover Square is a unique site – a convergence point of the two landmark lines which together define spatial composition of Warsaw; one is The Royal Tract and right there it touches the other - the ridge of the ancient riverbed of the Vistula.
The attractiveness of this location is further enhanced by the fact that it is a natural breathing space on The Royal Tract created by Bednarska Street entering the Royal Tract. It is also a public green area. Venturing to transform a site of such significance the authors of the project meticulously followed the square’s character and implemented the language of garden architecture and elements of composition of public open spaces. Consequently, formation of the terrain as well as greenery have been employed as architectural material.
The transformed square is envisaged in the Project as a piece of artificial landscape made of grass surfaces confined within the black granite frames, which also perform as ‘small architecture’ with seats, steps, revetments, attics, etc. carved in them. Alongside the frames is where the square’s linear lighting is proposed as well. The form is meant to integrate all three of the site’s functions; as a place to meet other people, a place to relax and spend leisure time.
Underneath the artificial grass surface along the Bednarska Street side revetment is the space of public utility with coffee shops, art. galleries, public toilets etc. New form of the terrain allows for the accessibility of the Bednarska Street side pavilion also from the side of The Royal Tract. Embedded within the main site is a smaller square as a foreground of the main pavilion. Owing to the terraced form of the whole it constitutes a sort of spatial appendix ‘borrowed’ from out of the street. The foreground inner square is planned for coffee shops’ summer gardens, small seasonal musical stage, exhibitions and a fountain. From it there is a further extension to another terrace which opens with a view to The Royal Tract . All levels are provided with facilities for the access of the handicapped and the elderly.
On the eye level the whole object is transparent – the pavilion’s interiors are glass-walled allowing for the view of the greenery in front of the Dziekanka building. With respect to the historical context of the site special attention has been given to make sure that the new element does not obstruct the view of important sightseeing elements such as the monument of A. Mickiewicz.
Terraced steps open picturesque view from The Royal Tract over Bednarska Street descending downwards to the river bank. The presence of the slopes of the old riverbed are enhanced by preserving the square’s revetment as an important element of the composition setting it in a fresh architectural form in order for the new utilities underneath the square to add to the overall attractiveness of the site.
All grass surfaces are planned to be deployed last in the construction process, brought in rolls of two-year grass grown on soil form selected blends of seeds. After a month it takes roots sufficiently for heavy duty performance. In places of extremely high exposure to traffic (steps, garden tables) grass-overgrown cobblestone surface would be employed with grass seeds planted in the joints 2-3 cm wide pointed with the gardening fertilizers.
Apart from the automated watering system operating discreetly before the opening hours by means of nozzles that can be removed from sight when not in use, a fountain is proposed which would resemble a watering device in that it would consist of three kinds of sprinklers: the rotating ones - dispersing water up in a vertical line which then descends in a rank horizontally; sprinklers ejecting water shots in intervals at random directions over grass surface and the static sprinklers producing mist of superfine evenly distributed drops creating decorative effect of the illusion of a water surface.
Entry in a competition by invitation
Authors: Krzysztof Banaszewski, Małgorzata Kuciewicz, Jakub Szczęsny
Creative co-operation: Dominik Strzelec
Skwer to wyjątkowe miejsce styku Traktu Królewskiego oraz Skarpy Warszawskiej – najważniejszych elementów kompozycyjnych układu przestrzennego Stolicy. Jest naturalnym poszerzeniem traktu, wynikającym z podłączenia ulicy Bednarskiej. Konsekwentnie podkreślamy miejsce styku, kontynuując charakter przestrzeni publicznej budowanej z zieleni. Ukształtowanie terenu i zieleń traktujemy jako materiał architektoniczny. Skwer to pejzażowy obiekt zbudowany z nawierzchni trawiastych ujętych w ramy z kamienia. Kamienne obramowania pełnią funkcje małej architektury – ław, schodków, murków oporowych, attyk. Forma integruje wszystkie funkcje – miejsce spotkań, odpoczynku, kino plenerowe, amfiteatr. Pod tektonicznym trawnikiem lokalizujemy kawiarnie. Tarasowe ukształtowanie stopni schodzących do Bednarskiej otwiera atrakcyjny widok na malowniczo opadającą ku Wiśle ulicę.