The City celebrates its birthday

The City celebrates its birthday

On 10th February the City of Gdynia and its residents will be celebrating the city’s birthday. 94 years ago, on 10th February 1926, by the decree of the Coucil of Ministers, Gdynia has been granted city status. And that’s when it all began…

In 1920 Gdynia was identified by the engineerTadeusz Wenda, as an ideal spot for port construction, which was indispensable for the rebuilding of the economy. This changed the fate of this small town located on the Baltic coast and led to its economic boom. In 192F1 Gdynia’s population reached 1,268. Five years later, after the granting of city status, the number of city inhabitants reached 12 thousand. And shortly before the outbreak of WWII the population rose to 127 thousand. At present there are 246 thousand people on the Gdynia resident register.

The celebratory events to commemorate the granting of city status will commence on 8th February and continue until 10th February. On Saturday the city authorities invite everyone to the Gdynia Sports Arena. The programme is primarily aimed at senior citizen. Entrance is free of charge, however this is an invitation-only event: the invitations are available from January 28th at the Senior Activity Centre at 27 3 Maja Street. The events planned for that day include the screening of the film by Jacek Dworakowski “Biesiady rodów gdyńskich” [Banquets of Gdynia Families], a band performance by the VOX, as well as a variety of expert health consultations.

The City’s birthday is also celebrated at the Konsulat Kultury [Culture Consulate], which hosts a photographic exhibition entitled “ GDYNIA in photographs by Andrzej Jastrzembski”. The Gdynia City Museum will host a screening of archival films about Gdynia entitled “Dawno temu nad Bałtykiem”[A long time ago, on the Baltic coast] which depict the city’s early years in the 1920s. For the following day, February the 9th, the Museum prepared workshops, meetings with authors and new exhibitions.

The official celebrations with the participation of the city authorities have been planned for 10th February. At 12 noon, symbolic floral wreaths will be laid at the Maritime Poland Monument in Kościuszki Square. At 18:00 a celebratory session of the Gdynia City Council will take place, during which Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski Medals will be awarded “For an outstanding contribution to Gdynia” as well as the “Czas Gdyni” [Time for Gdynia] awards for best Gdynia investments.
In order to make it easier for Gdynia residents to participate in the events, a special public transport timetable has been prepared for the period of the festivities.

Program of 94 city`s birthday

2019 marked by investments in Sea City

2019 marked by investments in Sea City

2019 has brought a number of changes on the premises of Maritime City Centre. A new marina was handed over to mariners for use. Nearby there are buildings of a luxurious Yacht Park estate. Investors obtained a permit to construction of subsequent investments – Marine Office and Waterfront II.

Gdynia originated from the sea and dreams as well as today members of the local government very strongly emphasise the city’s association with the sea. Construction of the port was the first investment of the future city. On 23 September 1922, the Sejm adopted the Act on construction of the seaport in Gdynia. Thanks to this decision, within over a dozen years, the fishing settlement was transformed into one of the biggest and most modern ports in Europe, around which the city with more than 120 thousand residents was set up. In next years, the port was soundly extended and Gdynia quickly became one of the largest and most progressive ports at the Baltic Sea and evolves as a modern city.

After over 90 years as well as after political and economic changes, the city develops its potential also based on other attributes. However, its links with the sea are visible in numerous places. The released post-shipyard terrains in the city centre enabled creation of a new Sea City district. On 71 hectares of the area located at the sea at the President Quay, Fishing Pier and areas belonging to the Nauta shipyard as well as to the north of Jan z Kolna Street to the borderline with the port, a new city is formed with residential, business and servicing services. The new district will be resided by 10 thousand people and next 11 thousand will find jobs.

Sea Towers was the first investment of the Maritime City Centre, two residential tower blocks opened in 2009. Nearby, there is the Waterfront I complex which comprises the Courtyard hotel by Marriott and the 11-storey office building erected by Vastint Poland company in 2015. In July 2019, the investor received a permit to construction of the next stage of the Waterfront II. Two office buildings and two residential ones will be constructed between the Waszyngtona, Hryniewickiego and Jana Pawła II Streets.

The works are also pending in other regions of the Maritime City Centre. In June 2019, a new marina was handed over, located in the northern part of the President Basin. In July, the complex was benefited by participants of the Junior Sailing World Championships. Buildings of luxurious apartments of the Yacht Park estate have already been built near the marina. Polski Holding Nieruchomości is an investor of the facilities, which obtained a permit to construction of three Marina Office buildings in the Waszyngtona and Hryniewickiego Streets.
Several other housing estates with maritime names: Awanport and Portova are erected nearby. Their architecture refers to white modernism of Gdynia.

Gdynia was established thanks to the port. Today, the city absorbs terrains exploited by the industry and hands them over to residents and tourists. The process of creating the new district of the city has been in progress for many years. Proximity of water attracts investors and residents that were provided with a new place for recreation, rest and work.

Gdynia – a great place to live

Gdynia – a great place to live

The quality of life in Gdynia has found appreciation amongst the international jury of the LivCom Awards, which compiles a ranking of cities worldwide based on their residents-friendly attributes. After detailed interviews, Gdynia came in the 3rd place, following Bergen in Norway in the 2nd place and Xicheng, a district of Beijing in China, coming 1st. Our city, as the only one of the Polish cities, made it to the top final 22 cities worldwide, considered to be best cities in the world to live. It is the best recommendation.

The co-organizer of the competition is UNEP – The United Nations Environment Programme. This remarkably prestigious and the world’s only ranking focusses on quality of life, awarding and revealing cities with the best comfort of living. The evaluation is conducted by an international jury comprising experts in management of the local environment and landscaping.” In the present edition of the competition the members of the jury panel studied a quarter of a million cities worldwide, and compiled a shortlist of 22 cities and 34 projects from more than 30 countries who were invited to the finals. Just to be included in that select circle was a considerable honour, especially seeing as Gdynia was the only city representing Poland. In the middle of December (11-13.12) at the University of Rome the final presentations took place, during which representatives from the award-winning cities talked about their initiatives enhancing the standards of living.

“The competition procedure took several months. Already in Rome itself we were required to give nearly an hour-long presentation on Gdynia, talking about local solutions focussed on the city residents and the quality of life. Each solution that was referred to had to be documented with hard evidence. We are very excited by this recognition and consider it to be a kind of an understated confirmation that we, the citizens of Gdynia are managing truly superbly,” Bartosz Bartoszewicz, Deputy Mayor for Life Quality, explained.

The presentations were divided into 5 categories according to population size. Gdynia which participated in the category of cities with the population of 150,001-400,000, reached the finals alongside Oulu from Finnland, Ambon from Indonesia, the Xicheng District in China and Bergen from Norway, overtaken only by the last two cities. The winners in the previous editions included Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates), Swedish Malmo, Port Fairy from Australia and Honolulu (USA).

“For years, we have been conducting a policy of sustainable development aiming to secure all the needs of both the current citizens and future generations of Gdynia. That is why we are immensely satisfied that an assembly of international experts validated our activities in economic, social and environmental fields,” Wojciech Szczurek, the Mayor of Gdynia, said.

The objective of LivCom Awards is to develop and share International Best Practice, with the further objective of improving the quality of life of individual citizens through the creation of ‘liveable communities’. This year’s edition was strongly focussed on climate change-related concerns. Every year, the communities whose representatives meet in the finals of the LivCom Awards, exchange Best Practice and experience with the objective of joining forces to face the shared challenges together.

Marina Office with a building permit

Marina Office with a building permit

Polski Holding Nieruchomości [Polish Real Estate Holding] has received a building permit for an office complex called Marina Office located in the vicinity of Sea Towers. According to the investor, the construction works should start at the beginning of 2020.

The complex is to comprise of three five-story office buildings. Nearly 24 thousand square meters of office space will be made available to investors, whereas more than 3 thousand square meters will be used for commercial purposes. It will be a perfect place for restaurants and cafés that will be available to both the residents of the Yacht Park housing development located nearby as well as the residents of Gdynia who come to visit this part of the city. The underground part of the buildings will house a parking lot for 241 cars as well as 15 charging stations for electric cars. Between the buildings, there will be a publicly accessible park with separate zones for relaxation, active relaxation in the summertime as well as an ice rink in the winter. On the weekends, it will also be possible to organize markets offering fresh vegetables and healthy food as well as Christmas markets. Thanks to a stage that will be erased there, mass events and concerts will also be organized.

“We have just received a building permit for Marina Office in Gdynia and we are planning to select a general contractor as soon as this year. The turn of 2019 and 2020 is also the time when we are going to launch two other office investments in Warsaw as well,” says Marcin Mazurek, CEO of Polski Holding Nieruchomości in the press release.

Thanks to the fact that the office building is located near the city centre, it will be very convenient for employees to commute there using public transportation. Both buses and trolleybuses stop near the investment, whereas it only takes 20 minutes to get to the Main Railway Station in Gdynia on foot. A bicycle parking will also be provided in the buildings.

The architectural concept of the office buildings was prepared by the studio S.A.M.I. Architekci Mariusz Lewandowski i Wspólnicy [S.A.M.I. Architects Mariusz Lewandowski and Partners].

Modernism in Gdynia and UNESCO

Modernism in Gdynia and UNESCO

The modernist architecture of the City Center of Gdynia is a step closer to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. The city has been included on the Tentative List. It is the last stage before being placed onto the main list.

The information about this crucial event was communicated by Minister Magdalena Gawin, Chief Conservator, in the letter addressed to the participants of the 7th International Conference entitled “Modernism in Europe, modernism in Gdynia”.

I am pleased to inform you that last week, I sent an application to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre in Paris to request that the modernism City Centre of Gdynia be included on the list (…). Thus, we have started the procedure that will make it possible to place the urban complex of Gdynia on the UNESCO World Heritage List. I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate the municipality and residents of Gdynia. Therefore, it should not be a surprise that one of the most important international conferences devoted to modern architecture takes place in this magical place. I would like to congratulate the Mayor of Gdynia, Wojciech Szczurek, for filing the application with the UNESCO, the letter reads.

The efforts aiming at placing the City Centre of Gdynia on the UNESCO World Heritage List began many years ago. The Municipal Conservator’s Office, which was established twenty years ago, has taken care of the modernist architecture of the city. In 2007, the local government submitted an application for inclusion of the City Centre of Gdynia in the voivodeship register of historic monuments, which enabled the city to apply for the status of Historic Monument of Poland.The city was awarded this title in 2015 by virtue of the regulation issued by the President of the Republic of Poland. Thanks to this, the City Centre of Gdynia has joined a group of the most important historic monuments in Poland.

The self government kept taking actions whose aim was to promote and popularize both history and architecture of the city. Since 2007, Gdynia has been organizing international conferences under the slogan “Modernism in Europe – Modernism in Gdynia” devoted to the presentation of the latest research on modernist architecture and conservation issues related to it. Upon request of the city, Agencja Rozwoju Gdyni (Gdynia Development Agency) carries out a project of the Gdynia Modernism Trail which involves organizing experts’ lectures, themed walks around historical buildings, contests and various events.


Maritime economy and tourism

Maritime economy and tourism

This year, 650 visitors and nearly 40 speakers from both Poland and abroad attended the 19th Maritime Economy Forum in Gdynia. Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała, Gdynia’s Deputy Mayor, emphasized the significance and dynamics of the Sea City development, which is becoming a support network for companies operating in the maritime economy sector.

The main theme of this year’s Forum was “Development prospects of maritime economy in the EU countries in the context of world markets”. The experts discussions were conducted concurrently in four subject areas dealing with the latest trends and challenges in modern economy: Maritime Technologies, Sea Ports and Logistics, Law and Finance as well as Shipping.

“At present maritime economy is an exceptionally buoyant industry, which frequently utilizes the cutting edge technologies from the innovative sector. A close collaboration between intelligent technologies and effective management methods is an imperative in our modern reality,” stated Katarzyna Gruszecka–Spychała, Deputy Mayor of Gdynia who attended the Forum.

An example of such a collaboration provided by the Deputy Mayor is the Constructors’ Park in Gdynia, which is operating from the former shipyard premises.
“It is a place where companies can test prototype technological solutions. It provides a shortcut for the implementation of daring novel ideas – which is a way to modernize and develop the maritime industry,” the Deputy Mayor said.
The local government authorities stress the importance of the close relationship between the city and the sea. The re-vitalization of the former shipyard premises so that they are re-incorporated into the city and used by its residents, is another example of the city’s focus on the sea, as an important sector of the region’s economy.

“The Port of Gdynia achieves the best results in its entire history, which instils optimism and is a source of pride. A new Ferry Terminal is under construction, and a dozen or so large companies operate on the former shipyard premises.
A new component introduced at this year’s Forum was a seminar entitled On-shore Tourism [Turystyka od Morza] devoted to trends and tendencies linked to tourism in the coastal areas. During two thematic blocks experts discussed the needs and the changes taking place in both the cruising and sailing tourism components, in the Baltic Sea region. The panellists searched for links between changing needs of marine and cruise tourists , and the competition that is present on the tourism market in terms of tourist products, which included the example of the Scandinavian markets.

A representative from the Pomeranian Regional Tourist Organisation drew attention to the changing life style, which in turn influences the transformations in the tourism trends. Nowadays tourists travel more frequently, but their trips are shorter. Short trips of several days duration to destinations closer to one’s place of residence are becoming very popular. Hence the experts predict a increase in popularity of marine tourism, which offers the possibility of fast and comfortable travel. Another growing tendency in travel is the so-called leisure travel, which is the activity of combining business travel with leisure time. The seminar participants discussed the ways that these trends in tourism could be utilized in creating a holiday package that meets the needs and expectations of the modern tourist.

photo Paweł Kukla/UM Gdynia

Open space available to everyone

Open space available to everyone

How to utilize the potential of having access to the sea, so that it benefits the city and the port – that was the theme of the debate which involved the representatives of waterfront cities during the Expo Real trade fair in Munich. Every year Gdynia takes part in the largest European trade fair for real estate and investment, participating in the joint exhibition stand called Invest in Pomerania, which showcases the cities of our metropolis.

Annually the Expo Real trade fair hosts 45,000 participants from 70 countries. During the three days of October, 7-9.10, Munich becomes the place where meetings are conducted between the representatives of the world’s largest investment funds, developers of commercial, office, logistics and hotel real estate, as well as companies searching for new locations for their projects.

In this year’s edition, the city was represented by Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała, Deputy Mayor of Gdynia for Economy, who took part in a panel devoted to the SmartCity 4.0 idea, depicting the achievements of the City of Gdynia in the realm of creating high standards of living as well as of human capital.

Every year the city gets involved in promoting its coastal areas, drawing the attention of the investors to their unique location. The representatives of European waterfront cities, who have been meeting for several years at the fair, created an informal initiative allowing for an exchange of views and experiences. Together they search for optimal strategies for development of these areas. Deputy Mayor Gruszecka-Spychała made it quite clear that the City would like to retain the public-access character of these areas.

“Gdynia was born out of the sea and will always look out to the sea. Both on an emotional level, as well as purely in terms of investment or in a monetary sense, this is what our existence is based on. Today such beautiful post-industrial spaces, such as can be found, above all on the Dalmor Pier and in the Sea City, in the broader sense of the term, are worth every penny, but we do not want to monetize all of them,” said the Gdynia Deputy Mayor in the course of a conversation. “They should remain open to the public, and thus ensure that Gdynia’s high living standards are maintained, and that every zloty invested yields more returns. The condition, which we have set is that the space should remain open to the public and be accessible to all,” Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała added.

A united vision for the future

A united vision for the future

The architecture of the buildings in Gdynia’s Sea City and the future character of this part of the city, are a consequence of the very specific collaboration effort between the local government and private investors. On the one hand it involves the city planners who determine the spatial order in the planning of land use, and on the other hand there are the investors, who bestow a specific stylistic quality and architectural shape upon the buidlings.

The final look of the suburb depends on this collaboration and mutual understanding. The situation gets even more complicated when many individual investors are involved in a project in the same area. This is the current status quo we are faced with at Sea City, with ongoing building construction being conducted by various developers.

– If anyone is able to see a coherent harmonious overall concept reflected in the individual buildings currently under construction, that’s excellent, but if not, I would like to reassure them, this order is going to gradually reveal itself with the completion of individual quarters – says Marek Stępa, the Head of the Office for Protectio of Cultural Heritage at the Gdynia City Hall. – in the spatial planning of land use some sites have been designated as particularly prominent. In the case of such places the development design has to be emerge out of an architectural competition. One example of such a site is the large area located between the President’s Bay and Washington Street. The design for the existing Sea Towers building originated in one of the competitions, and the hotel and an office block next door – came about as a consequence of another contest, with the remainder of the area being developed according to the designs of the winners of yet another, the recently concluded competition.

The specific character of this neighbourhood, reminding of its bonds with the sea, will be emphasized by various items of street furniture, which refer to the seaside and-port character of the city. Amongst the buildings currently under construction on the Fishermen’s Pier one will be able to locate the preserved industrial pearls of the Gdynia modernist movement, which have been entered into the register of historical monuments and which are protected under the provisions of the plan – Chłodnia Śledziowa[Herring Cold Storage Warehouse] and Chłodnia Rybna[Fish Cold Storage Warehouse]. The designation and functional purpose of these structures hasn’t been yet decided upon. It would be a good idea, to devote at least one of them to cultural purposes.

– Cultural institutions enhance the atrractiveness of what the city has to offer and generate interest, attracting residents also in the evenings and on the weekends – says Marek Stępa. – And that is why in our design of the Sea City we set out that this neighbourhood should merge all the functions – residential, business and services. It is also one of our dreams that the end of Fishermen’s Pier, a site which is very prominent and exclusive due to its location, will become home to a cultural edifice – built in a very unusual architectural style. In our opinion, a site with such a unique character on an international scale, should be made the most of in terms of an atrractive utilization of its potential, as well as be easily accesible and frequently visited by a maximum number of users, both local and tourists.

Thedevelopment and restructuring of the old port facilities located in the neighbourhood of the Fishermen’s Pier, signifies a return to the original plan of the Gdynia founders in the 1930’s – turning the city centre towards the sea. We will be able to admire this incredible seaview on our daily walks to work, on the way home, to the shops or restaurants.

A Tale of White Cities

A Tale of White Cities

What do Gdynia and Tel Aviv have in common, the cities that are located 3,000 kilometres apart? You will have an opportunity to find out at the “Gdynia-Tel Aviv” exhibition, currently being held at the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

Gdynia and Tel Aviv, as the exhibition organisers tell us, have a lot in common. Both were founded at more or less the same time and both captured a passion for modernist architecture. Gdynia, founded in 1920, was envisioned as the “Polish window to the world.” The port construction roused the aspirations and united the efforts of many Polish people who believed that they are capable of turning their most ambitious dreams into reality.
Tel Aviv on the other hand, was founded a little earlier, in 1909 and was to become the “first Hebrew city”. The coastal Tel Aviv was meant as an entrance gate – becoming an end destination for immigrants arriving with the aim of building the future Jewish state. Both cities witnessed the emergence of modernist architecture. Minimalist, functional and light-coloured buildings are a characteristic feature of both cities.

“These two cities were fortunate to have been designed by architects inspired by the famous Bauhaus style. In both of them modernism was promoted to a brand. Today they are not only inspired by their beautiful history, but also by the fact that their development embraces those particular aspects of modernism which can be utilized in modern design. This exhibition is a splendid illustration of this fact,” says Wojciech Szczurek, Gdynia President, who attended the exhibition opening ceremony on 12 September.

The exhibition features several scale models of the most important buildings in each city, photographs of their residents, as well as daily life exhibits. The exhibition also includes pictures and scale models of the most distinct modernist building in Gdynia, the so-called “Banker” designed by Stanisław Ziołowski. As well as the ZUS office-and-residential building designed by Roman Piotrowski. The similarity to the Gdynia flagship buildings can be found in the centre of Tel Aviv, in the architecture of the buildings clustered around the Zina Dizengoff Square, designed by Genia Averbouch.

The two cities were connected by the “Gdynia-America Shipping Line”, which provided their residents with an opportunity to travel freely. The so-called Palestine Line was serviced by a passenger ship S/S “Polonia”, which was the first ocean liner to arrive at the new port in Tel Aviv. The furnishings and the ships interiors of the Gdynia-America Line were designed by the leading Polish artists.
The “Gdynia-Tel Aviv” exhibition is being held from 13 September 2019 until 3 February 2020 at the POLIN Museum in Warsaw, and from 7 March until 7 June 2020 in Gdynia.

In October (3-5.10) Gdynia will be hosting the participants of the 7th International Scientific Conference “Modernism in Europe – Modernism in Gdynia”, where experts from many countries, incl. Tel Aviv, Israel, Estonia, Austria, Czech Republic and Romania will focus on issues related to the form of modernist architecture and the problems of preserving its integrity and authenticity.

Relax in the city centre

Relax in the city centre

Gdynia residents gained a new place to meet and relax surrounded by thousands of flowers, trees and shrubs. On 28 August this year, the first section of the Central Park located between Legionów and Tetmajera Streets and Marszałka Piłsudskiego Avenue was put into use.

The first section of the park is dedicated to calm recreation. Its physical activity zone offers eight sets of outdoor exercise equipment to improve one’s form. Dog owners received a perfect area for their pets, furnished with an agility course. There are chess tables here, a boules area was provided for as well. Gardening enthusiasts will be able to pursue their passion, as the park offers space designated for their own cultivations.

“We were particularly set on handing this area over to the residents for use as first, because during the public consultation preceding the Central Park construction people from Gdynia requested for extending the investment project so that it would cover also the area between Legionów and Tetmajera Streets,” Wojciech Szczurek, the Mayor of Gdynia, says. “We dedicate this space to calm recreation. I hope, I am positive, the residents will like it. Our intention is to make it a place of meetings, rest, family plays, ambling and activities allowing to calm down in the hustle and bustle of the city.”

In this section of the park, 29 new trees, almost 9 thousand shrubs and 4 thousand flowers, including as much as 2 and a half thousand tulips, were planted. The lawns cover 7.5 thousand square meters.

The park was also designed with the comfort of disabled people in mind. Path surfaces include tactile paving for the blind, benches have armrests to make it easier for elderly people to get up. A person in a wheelchair can use a chess table unhindered and people growing plants in the community garden have access to running water. The park offers also two drinking water fountains and a water trough for animals.

“The marvellous thing about this park is that everyone can find here space for themselves and for activities allowing them to relax and rest. Our intent was to create a place attractive for all age groups both in landscape and functional terms and I am sure we have succeeded,” Marek Łucyk adds, the Deputy Mayor of Gdynia responsible for development.

The next stage of the project will begin in September and cover the area between Legionów Street and the pavilion nearby the existing skatepark.

fot. Kamil Złoch/Urząd Miasta Gdyni