“Spatial Inspirations” competition, safe and friendly backyards – part 1

First of all, I would like to greet you in the New Year 2014 and wish you all the best! 🙂

After a long break I’m returning to blogging. To make a good start, I will begin with a competition – design post 😀 I and my friend are taking part in the new edition of  Polish “Spatial Inspirations” competition. This time it is about friendly and safe backyards.

You can find plenty of neglected, ugly and dingy backyards in my hometown Wrocław. We chose one of them, and in this post I will show you how it looks at present. After closing of the competition I will present our solutions for this backyard and you will see how a space can change 🙂

Have a nice evening and so long! 😀

PS. You’re welcome to visit my new website CLICK!

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Urban space for stressed people

Actually I can’t talk about my studying in Copenhagen without mentioning my biggest project I worked on there – a design I prepared for Health Design classes (I wrote about Health Design a bit in the previous post here).

The purpose of my work is to show how a potential restorative urban environment, where stressed and mentally fatigued people may find peace and restore their minds, could look like.

I selected people suffering from stress and mental fatigue as a group of users, because I think stress is a serious problem nowadays. Most of the people is influenced by it. Without doing necessary physical exercises, one cannot easily release from stress and that leads to considerable health complications. In addition, people being overloaded with unnecessary information, promptly become mentally fatigued, which unables them to work efficiently.

One of methods to help people deal with stress
and mental fatigue is to provide them properly designed environments, where they could spend their time and recover.

As for the area, my choice was the existing square at the Pomorska Street in the centre of Wrocław, Poland. The square is 290 m long and 38 m wide, 1,1 ha big. Its surroundings are noisy streets, residential building and several stores. At present the setting is an empty boring place, which does not show any coherency.

I used five theories, discussed during Health Design course:

1. ART – Attention-Restoration Theory (Kaplan&Kaplan, 1989)

Natural environment, containing little information to be transformed, enables people
to recover from mental fatigue. Kaplan&Kaplan (1998) specified following features of a good restorative setting:

– being away (recovering from mental fatigue requires that one be in some place other than the source of fatigue);
– extent (being a whole different world, that has its own rules and properties);
– fascination (deriving either from interesting places or processes like thinking and doing, eg. watching elements of nature).

2. Perceived sensory dimensions – PSD (Stigsdotter, 2009)
There are eight perceived sensory dimensions in green urban spaces:

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The results of the research show, that the most preferred dimensions are: Serene, Space, Nature and Rich in Species, ranked in order (Grahn&Stigsdotter, 2009). I applied all of them.

3. Mental Strenght Pyramid (Grahn, 1991; Ottonson&Grahn, 1998)
People, depending on their life situation and mainly on how strong their mental power is, perceive nature very differently.Image

People coming to a healing garden represent different levels of the pyramid, therefore, we planners should design a setting in a way to please all visitors.

4. The Prospect-Refuge Theory – PRT (J. Appleton, 1975)

The locations most preferred by humans are found at interfaces between prospect-dominant and refuge-dominant – meaning a landscape containing isolated trees.

5. Selected guidelines for designing restorative environments (Kaplan&Kaplan)
– quiet fascinations – features of the site permitting reflection; coming from the setting itself – eg. sound patterns, play of light or intensity of forms and colours, and from activities – eg. watching nature and gardening.
– mystery: enhancing the desire to explore a place by applying such elements as a crooked path or vegetation partially obscuring what lies behind.

6. Soundscapes – application of sound in the landscape.

The base of the project was to establish an area offering variety of rooms, where all people could feel better, being as close to nature as possible in the centre of Wrocław.

The overall design achieved by applying crooked lines : the violet for a path and a complementary yellow-green for Miscanthus grasses and shrubs (Buddleja and Carpinus betulus)

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Main division of the square and the theories implemented in the project

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Rooms 1 and 2: birch grove and marshy areaImage

Rooms 3 and 4: meadow and cafeteriaImage

Room 5 and 6: playscapes and prospect-refuge space

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 Masterplan

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Would you feel relaxed in this place? 😀 Have a nice weekend! 😀

The most interesting buildings of Wrocław – part 1

With this note I am beginning a series of posts, that will show the most interesting and beautiful – in my opinion- buildings of Wrocław, my home city, with their surroundings as well. On this occasion I will also show you my home city, which is really beautiful. See yourself! 😀

This time I will present the splendid Renoma building and the nearby Puppet Theater (Teatr Lalek) with its gorgeous surroundings – the Old Town Garden. Enjoy the photos 🙂

The Renoma building – visible from the Kościuszko SquareImageThe Renoma building – visible from the Podwale StreetImageThe Renoma building was a warehouse, built in year 1929 in accordance with Hermann Dernburg’s design. Between year 2006 and 2009 a renovation of the existing building and its extension were executed, on the basis of the design by the Wrocław Maćków Architecture Design Studio. The character and style of the new part of the Renoma building are inspired by the old one.

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ImageImageImageThe new part of the Renoma buildingImageImageThe old partImageThe moat (by the Podwale Street)Image

The new partImage

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ImageThe inside of RenomaImage

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The monument of Bolesław Chrobry – the first king of Poland, near the Renoma building

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At the other side of the moat the Puppet Theater is situated. The building was erected in the neo-baroque style between years 1892-94, in accordance with Blummer’s design. Afterward, it was extended in years 1905-09, on the basis of A. Grau’s design.

The Puppet Theater visible from the Theater SquareImage

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ImageThe charming fountain in front of the TheaterImage

ImageThe detailsImage

ImageView the beautiful Old Town Garden, situated by the Puppet Theater. It is 1,4 ha big.Image

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The Summer Stage of the Puppet Theater –  open from April till October

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The gorgeous fountain in front of the Summer Stage – named “A boy with a swan”

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ImageThe carrousel, stylized as the XIX-century carrouselImage

PlayscapesImage

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The Puppet Theater visible from the moat

ImageImageThe text I wrote was based on sites:

http://www.mackow.pl/

http://www.teatrlalek.wroclaw.pl/

and translated into English by me.

Inspirations from Copenhagen – CPH suburbs

Today I have another set of photos from the capital city of Denmark – from the CPH suburbs, taken on the Theories of Urban Design class trip, which I participated during my Socarates Erasmus student exchange. Some inspirations how housing development areas could look like! I hope you like it 🙂

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It’s only a few plants and flowers, but the window looks so much better!

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A spot where residents of the housing development can rest, sit together, or, perhaps eat lunch 🙂

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A small, but nice element: an “island” of fruit trees

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Nice-looking pavement pattern and lots of shrubs 😀

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Green thicket

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Colours! 🙂

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Very neat housing development area

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Some creepers

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A small hillock to climb

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Creepers covering dumpsters

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Inspirations from Copenhagen – Charlottenhaven

Designers and planners never work on their own, they always look for various inspirations. And these can be found literally everywhere! One can get inspired while looking out of the window of the bus when going to work in the morning, on a weekend trip, longer journey, or even while taking a fresh look at a common object or composition, seen every day in a courtyard.

I was very lucky to participate in Socrates Erasmus student exchange programme in the academic year 2011/2012. I and my friend went to Denmark to study landscape architecture at the University of Copenhagen for one semester. We used bikes to travel anywhere (as most of the people in CPH 🙂 ) and had a great opportunity to stop to take a picture whenever we saw something interesting. Sometimes we planned bike trips to a place we wanted to visit – Charlottenhaven, for instance.

Charlottenhaven is a housing development on the north-east of the city, famous for a splendid design of the area between the buildings, where diverse grass taxas are used. The grasses emphesize soft and wavy lines of the area shape in an excellent way. They provide a  nice, cosy space, where people can sit on wooden benches and rest. Another interesting feature of the grasses is a sound of wind in their leaves and inflorescences, which is very soothing.

Have a look at pictures presenting Charlottenhaven:

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całość3  wejscie

ławki  plac zabaw1

plac zabaw2  trawy1

trawy2  trawy3