WHAT: THIS IS NOT A PLACE FOR YET ANOTHER SHOPPING MALL
WHO: Piotr Gniewek
WHY: research design
On the spot, the historical barracks were demolished. The idea is to recreate the volume of the demolished building in its original place, but in the pawky way. Therefore, a new space will become a kind of monument to its predecessor. The volume which was earlier closed and not accessible, will now become an open courtyard, available for visitors. A new space is to become a host of cultural, social and everyday life activities. To support this aim, it is equipped with other features. The new space is called a non-gallery, because it is not meant to be another shopping mall or a commercial exhibition space.
Strong nuances of simple materials, their textures and simplicity of geometry are supposed to emphasize the relation between the void and the solid.
The military barracks complex was a part of The Royal Łazienki Park. Once it was excluded out of its boundaries, a process of degradation proceeded. Hussars barrack was a remnant of former rich history of the place and the city. Unfortunately, it was demolished without any permission during the process of obtaining new lands for commercial buildings. It is evident that a process of removing an identity from modern cities is very fast and constant.
The design is facing the problem of a ‚place’ as a piece of our environment which has an emotional, aesthetical or historical meaning, therefore the exact location of the former building is an attempt to restore the previous urban order and space arrangement. Furthermore, the new space proposition, besides functional purpose, will be a commemoration of its predecessor.
The design beyond the historical and contextual issues is to emphasise timeless values which are reused and reinterpreted through ages. The design is a representation of ‘principles of creative architecture’. Among many, a few could be enumerated as core themes: rough mass and the smooth light, transparent circulation, elegant junctions, plain surface and relentless geometry.
After all, the building was designed not only to be a utilitarian space but also – and even mainly – as a monument. That is why the aesthetic of proposed space is based on contrasts between elements. Solid and hollowed, big and small, edgy and rounded, exposed and shadowed. That unveils the abstract aspect of the proposition, which is an inseparable element of the commemoration.