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Multimedia Library In Kazimierz District In Cracow

Part 2 Project 2001
Andrzej Jabloñski
Cracow University of Technology Krakow Poland
The site is situated in Krakow's district of Kazimierz. It was inhabited by the Jewish population for more than 400 years, until the Second World War. The main interest focused on the restructuralisation and revitalisation of an industrial block where the gas works (1856), tramway depot (1901) and power station (1904) were housed.

The new urban layout presumed the creation of a multi-functional, defined fabric, formed in blocks and adding the fourth 'missing' plaza for the district. It was to provide a good quality of the urban space, with a clear differentiation of public, semi-public and private realms. The urban analysis determined the proper place for a new multi-media library and archives facility that would specialise in the history of the district and Polish Jews.

The building parti is an atrium type that opens with a glass wall to the West, introducing light and greeness from the park. Individual, multimedia rooms, the main functional component, were cantilevered into the atrium void. They have access to all electronic data. The architecture of the atrium is neutral. On a depressed plaza, a portion of the medieval defensive walls are revealed. The irregular-shaped auditorium is further depressed and has a delicate symbolism. It recalls a shard flung to the ground, showing the condition of the Yiddish culture that was put in the earth and waits for its recreation.

Andrzej Jabloñski


The thesis work - design - consists of 11 boards (each 100/70 cm) containing drawings and renderings, theoretical essay (15pgs, 5 illustrations) and the authors description of the design (16pgs., with illustrations.

The architectural concept of the multifunctional library has been based on the urban concept of revitalisation of the former gas work and power station in the Kazimierz district in Cracow. The urban analysis of the site had become a base for the author's concept of the revitalisation of the post-industrial area, as well as a successful attempt to integrate that area with the surrounding historic district.

The complement of that urban scale, referring to the historic street scheme, together with new public areas - plaza and park - proves the author's talent and professionalism. Historic landmarks and the line of city walls have been respected. The designed complex, thanks to its immensity, has not ruined the silhoutte of historic Cracow. Furthermore, the way the library has been connected with existing communication resulted in a very good urban composition. In the effect, new urban structure, with high spatial values, which offers new, very important in that particular part of town, public spaces and buildings, has been designed.

Multifunctional, Multimedia Library, has obtained a very complex and contemporary functional program. The architecture of the building, perfectly composed and designed sensibly, refers to the modern movement tradition. The overlapping and penetration of the volumes and spaces gives unexpected effects, as well as in the interiors, as in the exterior of the building, approaching in a very interesting way the surrounding spatial context.

Architectural, urban and technical values of the design, together with the presentation of the idea, has to be judged postively. The author's professional abilities, talent and knowledge deserved to be prized. Therefore, the thesis design has been marked Very Good (A).

2001
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