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Minimum During the Weekend of Architecture

How to develop and shape a city to make its residents co-create and actively participate in public life and allow new buildings to attract people also from other parts of the agglomeration? Answers to such questions where in the scope of interest of the participants of the 9th Weekend of Architecture in Gdynia (22-25 August).

The Weekend of Architecture is a cyclic event gathering experts connected with shaping the urban space as well as architecture enthusiasts. Its rich programme prepared by Gdynia Development Agency (Agencja Rozwoju Gdyni), the event’s organizer, has a different keynote each year. This year’s seemingly pawky catchword – Minimum – formed the basis for lectures and discussions dedicated to the issues pertaining the development of new public spaces which stimulate “life between buildings” and bold architectural ideas reducing the carbon footprint on Earth.

The participants of the lecture entitled “Life Between Buildings” called attention to an important problem, also in the context of creation of the new Sea City district, namely the huge identity and value crisis affecting the public space in cities. The meeting participants strived to come up with ideas allowing to integrate residents and vivify urban districts. Sea City, the joint project of the City of Gdynia and private investors, is created precisely based on the concept of public and private spheres permeating each other. Apart from business facilities and residential buildings, it is supposed to have places for people, including tourists and residents of other parts of the City, to relax and spend time together.
How the disturbing trend of isolation in cities can be reversed, was discussed by Jakub Szczęsny (SZCZ), Łukasz Pancewicz (A2P2) and others. Jakub Szczęsny’s designs – such as the new town square in Astana or the clever festival installation Taburete Tower – have proven that creating attractive spaces and solutions which engage residents effectively does not always require significant financial outlays and social research. The role of social participation was the subject of the lecture by Przemysław Górski from Urban Lab in Gdynia. And Michał Guć (the Deputy Mayor of the City of Gdynia) and Martyna Regent from the Miasto Wspólne – Common City – Association presented shining examples of successful cooperation between NGOs, residents and the Municipality of Gdynia.

The discussions on urban development were perfectly supplemented by themed walks enabling the participants to see examples of architectural solutions from close up. This year, one of the walks covered the Sea City area and was guided by Marek Stępa, for many years the Deputy Mayor of Gdynia and presently the Head of the Department of Environmental Protection of the Gdynia City Hall. The group visited the Waterfront investment project carried out by the company Vastint Poland, saw the new marina at the Fishing Pier and the Yacht Park residential complex being erected by PHN Group. Then they went along Hryniewickiego, Waszyngtona, Żeromskiego, Świętego Piotra and Portowa Streets. The route included the most interesting and most important architectural and urban projects in Sea City and the participants could take a closer look at how the new city district is being created.