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

Minimum During the Weekend of Architecture

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.

Young Sailors From All Over the World Raced in Gdynia

Young Sailors From All Over the World Raced in Gdynia

409 competitors from 66 countries participated in the Youth Sailing World Championships taking place in Gdynia from 15 to 19 July. “Sailing is a marvellous sport and Gdynia offers fantastic conditions to practice and admire it,” Wojciech Szczurek, the Mayor of Gdynia, said.

In its efforts to organise the event, Gdynia had beaten Shanghai and Lelystad in the Netherlands. For the purposes of the Championships, a new marina designed for 120 vessels had been built along Nabrzeże Prezydenta St. Championship participants were staying in the hotel Mercure Gdynia Centrum, situated right beside the marina.
The Opening Ceremony began on 14 July with a colourful parade of all competitors, moving from the Sailor’s Village at the end of Kościuszki Green Square to a beach in Gdynia Śródmieście. The participants were arranged in alphabetical order according to a country they represented. Polish regatta hosts were bringing up the rear. Kim Andersen, the President of World Sailing, formerly International Sailing Federation, took part in the Opening Ceremony as well.

“Gdynia has a rich regatta-related history and is a perfect spot to hold the Youth Sailing World Championships. I am positive we will witness thrilling and marvellous competitions here. It shows how much this event, basic for the existence of sailing, has developed,”Kim Andersen, the President of World Sailing, remarked.

Polish competitors participated in all nine events. In the Laser Radial class, Tytus Butowski from the Academic Sports Association of Gdansk University of Physical Education and Sport (AZS AWFiS Gdańsk) won the bronze medal.
Gdynia had organised this competition once already, in 2004. 15 years ago, representatives of 53 countries had come to Poland to compete for medals in seven events.

“The popular saying that Gdynia is a sailing capital sounds very true. We are proud of the fact that our city is where sailors from all over the world feel at home,” Wojciech Szczurek, the Mayor of Gdynia, tells us. And he adds: “Sailing is a marvellous sport and Gdynia offers fantastic conditions to practice and admire it.”

The first youth sailing championships took place in Sweden in 1971 with 16 countries participating.
The Youth World Sailing Championships were organised by the Polish Yachting Association in cooperation with the City of Gdynia and with the participation of the Ministry of Sport and Tourism.


Waterfront With a Building Permit

Waterfront With a Building Permit

Vastint Poland has received a building permit for the second stage of the Waterfront complex construction in Gdynia. “Our ambition is to make Waterfront the new heart of the City: a favourite gathering place, a place where people like to work and live,” Roger Anderson, Managing Director of Vastint Poland, has said.

Waterfront is a multifunctional building complex being erected in Gdynia between the Waszyngtona, Hryniewickiego and Jana Pawła II streets, next to the Skwer Kościuszki green square and Sea Towers. In 2015, the first stage of Waterfront was completed. An office building and a hotel were built in the Nadbrzeże Prezydenta street. At present, the investor gets ready to start the second stage of the complex. The building permit applies to construction of four buildings with underground parking garages having the total area of 44,000 m2. Along Waszyngtona St., two office buildings with 14,500 m2 space for rent and two residential buildings with 126 suites will be constructed. Now the general contractor selection process will begin, and the construction works are scheduled to start in the spring of 2020.

Roger Anderson, Managing Director of Vastint Poland, says: “We are very pleased to have received the building permit. This is an important project as regards implementation of the strategy to develop the waterfront and restore this area for city residents. The design by the JEMS architecture office was prepared very carefully, with future users in mind. The main goal was to create an attractive space open not only for people who work or live here, but for all city residents and tourists visiting Gdynia.”

Ultimately, the Waterfront complex will have buildings of diversified functions, namely residential and office ones, service premises, a hotel with conference space and various public and cultural facilities, including a cinema. An important part of the concept will be a public green square next to Skwer Kościuszki, a place designed for rest and recreation.

Sea Festival

Sea Festival

Gdynia hosts huge celebrations of the Sea Festival for the seventh time already. This year, we are celebrating for as many as nine days – from 21 to 30 June. The agenda includes i.a. free-of-charge cruises on a sailing ship, concerts, exploration of vessels and sports competition.

The first Sea Festival was held in Gdynia in 1932. Then President of the Republic of Poland Ignacy Mościcki participated in it. 2013 witnessed a throw-back to the pre-war tradition of celebrating relations between Poland and the sea, which many years ago was a main driving force for local economy and a main impetus for dynamic development of the city. Currently, the city also strongly emphasizes its strong bonds with the sea and supports maritime economy.
The Sea Festival offered an opportunity to commemorate those who died when on duty on the sea. On the first day of the celebrations, wreaths were floated onto water for this intention. A memorial plaque dedicated to thirty-three sailors, including five Poles, who died when SS “El Faro” sank, was unveiled on the Southern Pier (Molo Południowe). The vessel flying the American flag which departed from Florida, bound for Puerto Rico, sank on 1 October 2015 in Hurricane Joaquin not far from the Bahamas. Families of the deceased, representatives of the American shipowner, maritime and rescue services as well as self-government of Gdynia participated in the ceremony.

On 22 June, Midsummer Night, a night parade of yachts departed from Orłowo. Joanna Pajkowska, a yachtswoman, who i.a. managed to complete a solo trip around the world without a stop as well as won the Twohanded Transatlantic Race TwoSTAR 2017, also participated in the parade. It was possible to see illuminated vessels from the Seaside Boulevard (Bulwar Nadmorski). Sailors lit flares on boards and floated wreaths of flowers onto water.

The attractions prepared on the occasion of the Sea Festival were organized in various parts of the city. The National Marine Fisheries Research Institute allowed people to observe sea creatures under a microscope, as well as organized exhibitions, games and contests. On Saturday, 29 June, the Maritime Fair (Jarmark Morski) was organized at the Arka Gdynia Plaza (Skwer Arki Gdynia), whereas the Kashubian Plaza hosted a good and artistic fair where you could see sculptures, paintings and regional embroidery as well as listen to music bands.
The Sea Festival was also enriched by restaurant keepers from the Culinary Center Route in Gdynia who prepared a special Sea Festival menu celebrating fish from the Baltic Sea. It was also an opportunity to go on a free-of-charge cruise on one of the oldest Polish sailing ships Baltic Star which was built in 1947.

The finale of the Sea Festival topped out the celebrations of the Navy Festival. On this occasion, giant flying colors were raised on the vessels, whereas a speech and celebration of handing a banner to the youngest vessel in the Navy were held on the Southern Pier. Inhabitants and tourists were allowed to visit three vessels of the Navy: underwater ORP “Orzeł” (“Eagle”), minelayer-landing ORP “Kraków” (“Cracow”) as well as rescue ORP “Zbyszko”. It was also possible to take a close look at military vehicles and learn more about the activities of special military forces.

fot. Paweł Kukla/UM Gdynia

A new place for sailors

A new place for sailors

Marina Yacht Park located in the northern part of Basen Prezydenta (Presidential Basin) has already welcomed sailors. A state-of-the-art marina may accommodate 120 vessels. Yachts will excellently complete and enrich the landscape of this part of the city.

The state-of-the-art marina is located in the northern part of Basen Prezydenta (Presidential Basin). A surface part of the investment, which covers 320 square meters of the renovated strip of Kutrowe Wharf, was commissioned at the end of April. On 24 June 2019, President of Gdynia Wojciech Szczurek cut a ceremonial ribbon. Currently, the entire facility is ready to welcome guests. Participants of this year’s youth world championship and sailing regattas will be able to take advantage of the attractions the marina offers. The marina administration building is equipped with sanitary facilities, showers, restrooms as well as rooms where you can prepare food and conference rooms.

Marina Yacht Park is adapted to meet the needs of both yachts longer than 10 meters and smaller units such as waters scooters or rafting boats. The facility is able to host, very comfortably, as many as 120 such vessels. 72 places are intended for units shorter than 14 meters LOA, 42 for those shorter than 12 meters and 6 for units shorter than 10 meters. 8 additional places were created for water scooters.
The investor of the facility is Polski Holding Nieruchomości which is also responsible for the adjacent Yacht Park.

fot. Anna Bobrowska/UM Gdynia

In Gdynia, about quality of life

In Gdynia, about quality of life

How to create and develop contemporary cities to improve the quality of life of their residents – the participants of the third edition of Real Estate Impactor, a conference organized in Gdynia by the “Rzeczpospolita” newspaper have wondered.

Over 200 participants of the conference, among them local government members, urban planners, investors and developers, in Gdynia, for two days (20-21.05) discussed the quality of life in the city as a service provided to its residents. At present, apart from the so-called hard, measurable indicators of the development of cities in various rankings, more and more often, residents’ satisfaction with life in their city is being examined. This satisfaction in question consists of many factors that facilitate and brighten residents’ life in the agglomerations.

According to Anna Krzyżanowska, the editor-in-chief of the Real Estate desk in “Rzeczpospolita”, by 2050, over 75 per cent of society will have lived in cities. That is why it is worth considering what these cities will be like, how either life reality, work and spending time will look like.
The participants had been welcomed by Gdynia’s economy vice-president, Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała, who admitted that Gdynia’s strategy to 2030 assumes the improvement of the quality of life of its residents.

This is a Congress that allows the interchange of information between the local government and the business industry, in a manner leading to more thorough, mutual understanding. So that the business may better understand, where more common good should be accumulated, and that simultaneously, we would better understand the business needs and be capable of adapting to them. This time, we are talking about the quality of life. This is a perfect topic to be raised when it comes to being discussed in Gdynia. There will also be a talk about, how attention to the quality of life affects the strategy. Our strategy until 2030, as a horizontal goal, bets on the quality of life and we try to act in a manner so that would be the ultimate goal of everything that we do in the city,” Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała said during the welcome.

The first speech of the Congress was the presentation of Slagin Parakatil, Director of Mercer, a valued expert in the field of assessing the attractiveness of cities in numerous countries. He pointed out that, nowadays, the quality of life is a determinant of urban development strategies, and each city has certain special features that should be utilized and supported.

Architects and developers talked about development and urban projects for residents. Private and public initiatives that can improve the quality of life were also the subject of the discussion.

The first day of the Conference was culminated by the award of the REAL ESTATE IMPACTOR prizes for the most spectacular and most significant projects that change the face of their surroundings. The statuettes were handed by the mayor of Gdynia, Wojciech Szczurek, and the vice-president of Gdynia, Katarzyna Gruszecka-Spychała.