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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

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