A city open for business

A city open for business

Gdynia’s activities aimed at creating good conditions for business expansion in the city were singled out by The Association of Business Service Leaders [Związek Liderów Sektora Usług Biznesowych] in Poland during this year’s ABSL Appreciation Gala.

ABSL is an organization representing the modern business services sector in Poland, which brings together over 200 largest companies, sets standards and directions for the growth of the sector, and employs over 350 000 people. Every two years the organization hosts a Gala, at which it shows its appreciation to its partners for their contribution to the development of this modern sector. During this year’s Gala, which took place on16 December in Warsaw, Gdynia was awarded in the City Leaders Supporting Sector category. The motivation for the commendation included, among other things, the city’s contribution to the organizing of the two-day ABSL Summit, which took place on 14 and 15 September 2021 and was co-hosted by Gdynia. The keynote of the event was „Beyond tomorrow. Building a sustainable future”. (….) The main discussion topics of the conference concerned the issues related to the sustainable development of the sector in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. The summit was attended by nearly 700 international industry leaders, experts and representatives from various levels of central and local government.

– We would like to express our gratitude for your support in organising the first meeting of the modern business services sector and the self-government environment in Poland after two years following the difficult period of the pandemic. Your help has been invaluable – states the motivation for granting the commendation to Gdynia.

The award for the city was received by Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała, the City’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Affairs.

For years we have been aware of the significant role played by the modern business services sector in the local economy. Gdynia is well placed to ensure that the industry continues to grow dynamically in our city, benefiting from its good infrastructure, transportation and office space that meet the most stringent standards. We wish to take an active part in its development and attract more job creating investors. This year’s ABSL Summit, despite the pandemic, proved that we really have a lot to offer – said Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała, Gdynia’s Deputy Mayor for Economic Affairs.

photo: ABSL Poland

What will the Pier of the Future look like?

What will the Pier of the Future look like?

Gdynia’s self-government is looking for inspiration to redevelop the South Pier [Pier Południowy”], Kościuszko Square [Skwer Kościuszki] and John Paul II Avenue [Aleja Jana Pawła II]. To this end, a competition has been launched for a design to develop this area known as the Pier of the Future.

The competition committee has just selected a design with a striking, above-ground promenade from which to enjoy views of the sea and harbour.
In the opinion of the city authorities, the area of the South Pier, which is frequently visited by both Gdynia inhabitants and tourists, should meet the needs and expectations of various social groups more comprehensively. To this end, in August this year a ‘study-and-concept’ competition[konkurs studialno-ideowy] for the design of the development of this area was announced.

I know, that this public space can even more fully meet the expectations of the residents and visitors to Gdynia. I recognize the need to make it more attractive, to integrate representatives of different social milieus and age groups, as well as to combine complexity and multifunctionality by linking cultural, recreational and tourist functions,” said Wojciech Szczurek, Mayor of Gdynia, during the announcement of the competition.

The competition initiative was met with a great response from the architectural community. A total of 16 entries were submitted to the competition. The site of the Pier of the Future, as the area undergoing redevelopment is referred to in the regulations, greatly stimulated the architects’ imagination. The possibility of creating a new space while respecting the urban identity of the site, as well as highlighting its natural qualities proved very attractive. The city authorities have indicated that they are looking for concepts and inspiration to help transform the area.

“It is rare to find such study-and-concept competitions, where you don’t have to deal too much with the technological issues of detailed solutions, but you need a vision instead. And it is a vision with an identity diagnosis of a city that is young, extremely attractive and, as it turns out, perceived differently by its residents as opposed to visitors. (…) The entries that were submitted sought to combine these viewpoints into a single whole. The title of the competition itself, „Pier of the Future”, already suggested that we were not only looking for a perspective that would diagnose this identity,but would also point out the direction towards its further development,” said prof. dr. hab. inż. arch. Ewa Kuryłowicz, the Chairperson of the competition committee during the announcement of the competition results.

The competition committee, after having examined all the projects, awarded the main prize to the SMOL Architekt studio. The authors suggested a ground-level promenade running along the main compositional axis, ending with a circular sculptural viewing deck. The architectural form of the above-ground promenade ending in a curving ribbon of the viewing deck protruding into the sea, small service pavilions and elements of street furniture all refer to the modernist architectural heritage of Gdynia, thus emphasising the identity of the city.

We have unanimously selected the work which, in our opinion, has most accurately addressed the problems formulated in the questions and the issues section of the competition rules. Above all, it gave priority to the existence of the historic transportation axis, moreover, it embodied the idea of creating a favourable and convenient view of the sea in various directions by means of designing a special pedestrian walkway, moreover, it provided for the multifunctionality of the spaces that remain underneath the walkway, taking into account the needs of the city, such as, for example, the organization of various events,” Katarzyna Gruszecka-SpychałaDeputy Mayor of Gdynia for Economy, commented on the winning concept.

The competition committee also named the projects that were awarded second and third place in the competition as well as singling out three more projects. Detailed information on the submitted entries, including the justification for the decision and the competition committee’s opinions on the winning and short-listed projects, will be available on the following websitewww.gdynia.pl/konkurs-pirs.

The winning as well as the awarded projects can be seen as part of a post-competition exhibition at the InfoBox(30 Świętojańska Street). This is where the winning entries will be on display from 14 December 2021 to 16 January 2022.

photo: mat. SMOL Architekt

Christmas spirit in the city

Christmas spirit in the city

Sails, huge Christmas tree ornaments, starry sky – it is worth checking what other Christmas light displays the city has prepared for the pre-Christmas period. Every year in December, the City of Gdynia decorates its streets with white and blue lights. This year, the Christmas lights will be installed on December 4 and can be admired until February 2.

The decorations will adorn the streets in the Śródmieście [City Centre],Wzgórze Maksymiliana , as well as in the suburbia. As usual, the city will be ablaze with white and blue lights. Blue lights will twinkle in the trees along Świętojańska and Starowiejska Streets. This is where the ornaments on the lamp posts will be installed as well. A starry sky made up of tiny lights will be suspended over Plac Kaszubski. In the evening it will also be worth visiting Skwer Kościuszki [Kościuszko Square], where many light displays will be set up. As usual, the distinctive blue sails, referring to the maritime tradition, will appear at various locations around the city. A Christmas tree of more than 17 meters tall will be placed in front of the City Hall.

– Christmas is coming. It is a magical time, eagerly awaited by many. And therefore, in keeping with tradition, we will decorate our city. Thousands of LED lights will illuminate not only the center of Gdynia, but also its surrounding districts. We hope that once again our Gdynia Christmas lights displays will help all the residents to share in the experience of the unique spirit of Christmas and will bring them a lot of joy during their evening strolls – says Marek Łucyk, Gdynia’s Vice-President for Development.

Starting from 4 December, Plac Grunwaldzki will host the stands of the Christmas Fair [Jarmark Świąteczny]. With a cup of hot chocolate or Gluhwein, you will be able to buy Christmas decorations and handmade gifts for your loved ones. There will be 29 stands awaiting the visitors, selling handicrafts such as Christmas table centrepieces, jewelry, ceramic coasters, paintings, candles or ready-made gift sets. The fair will also offer the opportunity to sample a variety of cuisines from different regions of Poland and the world. An illuminated Viennese carousel will be waiting for the youngest visitors. The fair will also be visited by Santa Claus, whose arrival is scheduled for December 6, and who will be waiting for the children dailybetween 16:00 and 19:00 at Plac Grunwaldzki. The Christmas Fair will be open until December 30th.

Gdynia awarded the title of UNESCO City of Film

Gdynia awarded the title of UNESCO City of Film

Gdynia has been awarded the title of City of Film and joined the UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Together with Cannes (France) and Cluj-Napoca (Romania) it joined the group of cities that strongly support the development of the film industry.

Gdynia’s efforts to join the Creative Cities Network, which began at the beginning of 2021, were supported by the Polish Committee for UNESCO, the Polish Filmmakers Association and the Europa Cinemas network.

– The admission to the list of the UNESCO Creative Cities is a recognition of everything that has happened in Gdynia over the years. It represents opportunities for collaboration. As a member of this family of cities that focus on film as the core area of their cultural activity, we will look for various projects that will bring satisfaction to the participants and, above all, develop the film component within the culture and business sectors in our city – says the Mayor of Gdynia, Wojciech Szczurek.

Within the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Gdynia plans to develop local and international projects. Membership in this organization allows for networking, exchange of experiences and partnerships with other cities actively involved in the film sector from around the world.

The Creative Cities Network programme was established in 2004 to foster cooperation between cities and regions that have based their development on different areas of the creative economy, viewed as a factor of sustainable development. Participants in the association are committed to building international partnerships, sharing best practices, and strengthening the participation of residents in cultural life.
UNESCO awards the title of creative city in seven categories: literature, music, film, visual arts, design, crafts and folk arts, and gastronomy. Currently, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network brings together 295 cities from 90 countries.

Since 1987 Gdynia has been hosting the Polish Film Festival, the annual celebration of Polish cinematography and the country’s most important competition review of its latest achievements. Besides, Gdynia is one of the host cities of the biggest documentary film festival in Poland, Millenium Docs Against Gravity, as well as NNW Film Festival „Niepokorni Niezokłomni Wyklęci [The Unruly The Unbreakable The Cursed]” as well as the Wrażliwy[Sensitive] Festival. The Gdynia Film Centre, is a self-government institution that carries out many projects in the field of cinematography, and is very active in the city. The centre is home to the Gdynia Film School, the only educational institution in northern Poland providing training for film directors.
The self-government plans to further develop projects in the film sector. There are plans to create a Digital Film Centre, which will be an online space where all the activities of the film sector in Gdynia will be brought together. The portal will be a virtual film repository, which aims to develop the idea of accessibility of film resources for all the recipient groups, including the blind and the visually impaired.

photo: Kamil Złoch, gdynia.pl 

A new exhibit at the Naval Museum in Gdynia

A new exhibit at the Naval Museum in Gdynia

The 1931 “Samarytanka” motorboat, which until now has been on display at the Czechosłowacka roundabout, has been transported to the open-air exhibition area of the Naval Museum in Gdynia. It was the first vessel designed and built at the Gdynia Shipyard.

Until now the motorboat stood in front of the former Gdynia Shipyard Management Board office building located at the Czechosłowacka roundabout. At night, on 26 October, it was transported to the Naval Museum, where it will enrich the museum’s collection.
The water ambulance motorboat “Samarytanka” is a steel, full-deck vessel with an overall length of up to 15 metres and a width of 3.8 metres. It was the first vessel designed and built at the Gdynia Shipyard. It was commissioned by the Maritime Office, for use by the port doctor, who was to transport patients from ships to the special quarantine hospital in Babie Doły.
“Samarytanka” was launched on 17 September 1931, but only delivered to the ordering party in 1933 due to engine problems. As the staff at the Naval Museum points out, the vessel had many shortcomings, such as being slow and poorly manoeuvrable, and the layout of the interior made the work of the paramedics difficult. For this reason, the port doctor soon decided against using it, and the motorboat was transferred to the Harbour Master’s Office, where it served as a pilot service vessel until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

During the war the Germans changed the name of the vessel to “Stegen” and used her mainly for work in the harbour, upgrading her and replacing the engine. At the end of the war, however, she was found abandoned, without an engine, and only years later, in 1971, did she find her way to the Gdynia Shipyard, where she received an overhaul. Subsequently, she was placed in front of the office building currently owned by the Pomeranian Special Economic Zone. The current owner has decided to hand her over to the Naval Museum, where she will be part of an outdoor exhibition.

photo: Kamil Złoch, gdynia.pl

Portova awarded

Portova awarded

The Portova residential and commercial building has won recognition from the jury of the nationwide competition “Budowa Roku 2020 [Project of the Year 2020]”. It was ranked among the best Polish real estate investments delivered in 2020.

The competition, which has been awarding the best Polish buildings for 30 years, is organised by Polski Związek Inżynierów i Techników Budownictwa [the Polish Association of Construction Engineers and Technicians] in collaboration with the Ministry of Investment and Development and the General Office of Construction Supervision. Awards are given in eight categories. New buildings, extensions or conversions are entered into the competition.

Maria Kaszyńska, President of the Polish Association of Construction Engineers and Technicians, summed up the XXXI edition of the competition: “despite the pandemic, the construction sector acted resiliently and buildings were erected which we are proud of, which meet the highest standards and which, above all, are an excellent showcase for designers, contractors and investors, these buildings are a great advertisement for the Polish construction industry”.

The Portova complex was awarded the 1st-grade prize in the category “Residential Estates and Residential Buildings up to PLN 35 million”.
The design of the project was developed by Studio Kwadrat. The investor is the developer Invest Komfort, who is also responsible for the construction of the distinctive Sea Towers building. Portova combines tradition with modernity, with references to the traditional urban design of Gdynia. It is the third highest residential building in the city.

– We have tried to impart a quality to it that alludes in a creative way to the modernism of Gdynia. In the actual city centre, at a location where Gdynia is likely to launch new investments. We have tried to do this in a way that is cutting edge, using the latest technological advances. There has never been an opportunity to view the city from the perspective that Portova provides. This sense of connection between the city, the port and the green recreational space is particularly evident from this location – says Marek Droszcz, co-founder of Studio Kwadrat.

The complex houses 271 residential units as well as commercial premises. It has a roof-top viewing deck, which offers panoramic views of the seaside. The investor has also taken care of the common areas and created club premises as well as a gym and fitness club on the first floor of the renovated historical building. The white architecture of the building compositionally closes the axis of the Świętojańska, Plac Kaszubski and Portowa Streets, extending the city centre.

– The construction of Portova is undoubtedly the city’s decisive step northwards. A step ensuring a high urban standard for this attached area – the Śródmieście [City Centre] has received a whole quarter with residential units, services, concealed parking and recreational greenery. The overall shape of this complex of buildings of varying heights is designed in such a way that the 18-storey dominant element does not seem to overwhelm the surrounding, much lower, buildings. What is particularly delightful is that the historic modernist façade of the former office building of the famous shipping company C.Hartwig has been skilfully integrated into the complex – says Marek Stępa, head of the Heritage Protection Department of the Gdynia City Hall.

New Gdynia terminal

New Gdynia terminal

Large ferries with a length of up to 240 metres will be able to dock in the port of Gdynia, at the new terminal that has just been completed. The investment valued at nearly 300 million PLN included the construction of a passenger terminal building, a ramp, a warehouse, car parks and a manoeuvring area, as well as the reconstruction of the quay. It is currently the most technologically advanced facility in the Baltic Sea region.

The new terminal will enable faster docking upon entry into port, as the facility is located close to the main entrance, at the Polish Quay. It will also allow for admission of longer vessels than previously.

– It is a public terminal. It is designed to serve more operators than before, at the terminal that operated deep inside the inner port of Gdynia. Currently, we have four slots at our disposal, which means we will be able to service four ferries per day. It is worth pointing out the location of this terminal, it is much closer to the main entrance to the port. The largest ferries that will be able to call here can reach up to 240 metres in length. We estimate that they will not need to spend more than 120 minutes at the quays – said Jacek Sadaj, CEO of the Port of Gdynia Authority.

As part of the investment, a beautiful building was constructed, whose architecture refers to the Modernist tradition of Gdynia. A warehouse building comprising 7,000 cubic metres was also erected. Manoeuvring areas and vehicle parking covering an area of up to 6.5 hectares were also created. The quay has been extensively redeveloped, a special ramp has been provided, and the rail and road infrastructure has been upgraded with technical installations to reduce emissions from ferries moored alongside the quay. The new terminal is located close to the city centre, which is a great advantage for passengers.

– The relocation and construction of a new ferry terminal is, on the one hand, an opportunity to increase the volume of both passenger and freight traffic entering our city by ferry, but it is also the location of the terminal, which will enable our guests to take a longer ‘stroll’ to the city centre, to Świętojańska Street. These are not only new features, but also an important component of the economic development of the port and the city of Gdynia – said Wojciech Szczurek, the Mayor of Gdynia.

The terminal will be used by various operators. In addition to the Swedish carrier Stena Line, present in Gdynia since 1995, it will also be possible to board vessels of the Polish Baltic Shipping Company [Polska Żegluga Bałtycka], also known as Polferries. This means that new passenger connections to Sweden are likely to be on offer. The new terminal is also expected to provide more ro-ro connections. The first passengers are likely to arrive at the new terminal in early 2022. The recently completed public ferry terminal is currently one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the entire Baltic Sea region.

photo: gdynia.pl

The cinema celebration begins in Gdynia

The cinema celebration begins in Gdynia

After a year’s break, the Polish Film Festival returns to its standard formula. The screenings of competition films will be held with audience participation. The organisers have prepared many additional attractions for film enthusiasts, such as exhibitions, discussions and live concerts.

The festival of the Polish cinema begins on 20 September and for six days the city will be alive with the ambience of cinema.

– I am very pleased that this year’s edition of the festival will be held in the traditional format. Above all, it is an opportunity to experience the atmosphere of a film festival. Guests of the festival, numerous meetings, exhibitions, festival screenings – this heralds a special time for the residents of Gdynia. I know that many of us really enjoy this time and eagerly participate in the events. We have a fantastic cinema celebration ahead of us in Gdynia – says Wojciech Szczurek, the Mayor of Gdynia.

The Festival will feature new Polish film productions competing in three categories – short films, micro-budget films and the Main Competition. This year, 16 films will compete for the festival’s most important award – the Golden Lions. Among them are 6 feature films which are directorial debuts.
– If I were to find any trends emerging from the Main Competition, the filmmakers have been looking to the past quite a lot. We have a great many productions that are historical films, set in the past. These are, on the one hand, titles referring to the period of World War II, but, above all, those taking place during the era of the Polish People’s Republic. These are films based on facts, real events, such as Żeby nie było śladów [So that there are no traces] by Jan Matuszyński or Hiacynt [Hyacinth], which refers to the operation of the secret police against homosexuals. We have films about Kalina Jędrusik or Najmrodzki, the Polish Getaway King, but there are also productions that refer to „small” history, such as Zupa nic [‚Nothing’ soup] by Kinga Dębska or Powrót do Legolandu [Return to Legoland] by Konrad Aksinowicz. These are family stories set in communist Poland – stressed Kolankiewicz.

Film screenings will take place at the Musical Theatre, Gdynia Film Centre and Helios cinema at the Gdynia Riviera. Some of the competition films and productions from the non-competition sections will also be screened online, on the VOD platform of the Polish Film Festival in Gdynia.
Festival organisers have also prepared many additional events to complement the festival’s thrills. Exhibitions have been prepared to commemorate two outstanding Polish directors – Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Kieślowski. Young filmmakers will have the opportunity to talk to experienced producers and directors.
Music is an inseparable part of film, so it could not fail to be included at the Festival. Both the Gdynia Film Centre and the Concert Shell in Grunwaldzki Square will host live concerts. The artists will perform hits of film music.

photo Przemysław Kozłowski/gdynia.pl

City creates the pier of the future

City creates the pier of the future

The Gdynia self-government intends to change the development of the South Pier[molo Południowe], John Paul II Avenue[aleja Jana Pawła II] and Kościuszko Square[skwer Kościuszki]. A competition for the new development of this attractively located site has just been announced and architects are invited to submit their ideas for exploiting its potential.

The most important compositional axis of Gdynia will be redesigned. The area, which is frequented by locals and tourists, will acquire a new look. The President of Gdynia, Wojciech Szczurek, would like this space to meet the expectations of residents and visitors even better.

– I see the need to make it more attractive, to integrate representatives of different environments and age groups, and to combine complexity and multifunctionality by linking its cultural, recreational and tourist functions together. This space identifies Gdynia, brings together residents and tourists during sporting and cultural events, as well as during everyday activities – said Wojciech Szczurek, President of Gdynia.

Architects will be able to present their vision for the development of this much-loved urban space. However, the city has set its expectations. The city officials would like the proposals to refer to the modernist character of the Gdynia City Centre and be its creative interpretation. „The Pier of the Future”, as the area was defined in the tender, should reflect the traditions and ambitions of Gdynia as a modern and open city.

– The competition is not a guarantee of the only and perfect solution, but it is the best method known for exploring ideas, concepts or visions. And it always opens up opportunities for debate and dialogue about the city, which is particularly important in relation to such an exceptional space – emphasizes Dr. Eng. arch. Bartosz Macikowski, President of the Council of the Pomeranian Regional Chamber of Architects of the Republic of Poland [Rada Pomorskiej Okręgowej Izby Architektów RP].

The South Pier[molo Południowe] is where many families spend their free time. The proposed functional and spatial solutions should therefore promote social interaction and urban activities at any time of the year and regardless of weather conditions. The new space should also prioritize strong aesthetics, place identity and use of natural surroundings, and take into account the needs of different age groups and people with disabilities.
The deadline for submitting designs is November 15, 2021. The proposals for the Pier of the Future will be evaluated by an eight-person jury, which includes, among others, Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała, Deputy Mayor for Economic Affairs, Renata Stelmach, City Architect, and Filip Springer, a well-known reporter who focuses in his work on the aesthetics of public spaces and architecture. The jury is chaired by Prof. Ewa Kuryłowicz, PhD, Eng. architect, from the Warsaw University of Technology. Results of the competition are expected to be announced on December 10, 2021.
The awarded and prizewinning works will be an inspiration for determining the development and future transformation of the South Pier[molo Południowe] area, Kościuszki Square[Skwer Kościuszki] and the neighbourhood of 10 Lutego Street. They can also be used, for example, in formulating the provisions of local legislation, as well as in other competitions or investment activities concerning the area.

For information and competition documents, visit www.gdynia.pl/konkurs-pirs.

Humbleness in architecture

Humbleness in architecture

The participants of the 11th Architecture Weekend will face the difficult concept of “humbleness” in the approach to sustainable urban design and development. The speakers will consider how to create new urban spaces taking into account the context of the site and its surroundings, while respecting social responsibility.

Another Architecture Weekend is coming up. This cyclical event brings together professionals involved in shaping urban space, as well as architecture enthusiasts. They gather every year in Gdynia to discuss current challenges facing designers and urban planners. This year (26-29.08), the theme is humbleness, modesty, restraint – both as a guideline for architects, local authorities and residents themselves.
The post-pandemic world has also changed the way we think about both urban and building design. The use of urban spaces has changed, as have housing needs. This topic will be addressed by the participants in the debate entitled “The New Minimum – what kind of housing do Polish women and men need?”. They will discuss the standards that the new housing developments should meet, consider what tools are available to change the current housing situation, and how much and what kind of housing space our fellow countrymen and women require.
Prof. Michał Stangel of the Silesian University of Technology will share some interesting insights into how city dwellers have altered their way of life after the pandemic.

The opening day of the event will begin with lectures focused on the theme “Living Between Buildings – The Humble City”. Speakers will include Paweł Paradowski and Przemysław Kokot from the architectural design studio ZOA Architekci, who will talk about their experiences in urban design in sub-Saharan Africa, based on the example of the city of Kalemie in the DR of Congo.

The second day of this year’s ARCHI Lectures in Gdynia will be devoted to 20th century architecture. Speakers will discuss such topics as public and post-industrial buildings of the 20th century, as well as the concept of “humbleness and pride” of Brutalist architecture. Panellists will discuss examples of projects and their implementation in Poland and in Europe. Dr Justyna Borucka will discuss the concept of post-industrial and public architecture in the Tricity in the 20th century.

In addition to heated discussions and interesting presentations, the event organisers have also prepared many additional attractions for their regular guests. There will be film shows about architecture and architects, meetings with book authors, photo walks and exhibitions, as well as architecture workshops for children and teens.
The Architecture Weekend was organised in partnership with The National Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning. The contractor and coordinator of the event is the Gdynia Development Agency.
The event programme is available HERE.