POZNAN - CITY CENTER FROM THE SCRATCH

project 2015 | competition for IDEAS FOR RETHINKING CITY CENTER OF POZNAN | location POZNAŃ | team KATARZYNA IWAŃCZUK, MIKOŁAJ IWAŃCZUK

The design of the core part of the city center of Poznan was based on two main compositional and functional axes - the METROPOLITAN AXIS and the HISTORICAL AXIS. The metropolitan axis based on the route of St. Marcin is the compositional spine of Downtown. In recent years, the street has lost its functional meaning in the urban structure. One of the basic tasks of the presented design solutions is to restore to St. Marcin street its natural significance in the urban tissue. This axis has been called metropolitan because it connects places on the map of Poznan, which by their weight often go beyond the needs of the city itself, such as, for example, the Poznan Fair premises or the headquarters of Economic Universities and Adam Mickiewicz. Street of St. Marcin is also a place where the ambitions of the city's governors were expressed over the years - the imperial district from the beginning of the 20th century, the complex of "Alfa" department stores or the Bałtyk office building currently under construction just to name few.

Another important compositional element introduced in the project, parallel to the metropolitan axis is the historical axis based on the route of Paderewskiego street and 27 December street as well as Wolnosci and Gwarny squares. The historical axis, which leads to the traditionally perceived heart of the city - the market, is supposed to have a different character from the aforementioned St. Martin. It is a part of historical Downtown with a crystallized functional structure rich in the headquarters of important cultural and art institutions. The already mentioned Wolnosci Square has been for many decades a space in which the inhabitants of Poznan met together to participate in important historical events.

The different character of the two axes manifested by their varied energy-generating potential and the different functional offer makes them complementary to each other creating one, synchronized urban organism with clearly defined zones of activity. Transversal axes connecting the above-described metropolitan and historical routes are the green axis and the so-called Keystone axis. The green one, which overlaps with the intact Marcinkowskiego alley, is to serve as a green boulevard with a decidedly pedestrian character, whose important spatial component will become the green square in front of the St. Martin. The keystone is a short pedestrian area important for utility reasons, which coincides with Kantaka street. The keystone combines, as it is in the arch construction, two zones of great importance in the area in question - a building complex along 27 December street with the complex of the Alfa department stores.

The complex of "Alfa" department store, sequence of tall modernist high-rises, is currently one of the biggest challenges along the St. Marcin street. Thanks to a series of activities, the Alfa buildings can be aestheticized and become an important and recognizable element in the urban structure, the engine driving positive changes in the area. It is postulated to designate the two lower floors of the Alfa building to serve a wide range of social needs, complemented by a reasonable commercial offer with a dominant socio-creative function. The roof of the Alfa should be transformed into an open-air urban garden - a poetic place full of greenery "levitating" 10 meters above the level of city’s noise.

One of the main heroes of the proposed redevelopment of the city center is green - both in the park form - such as the municipal garden on the roof of the Alfa building or the green square in front of the St. Marcin church and in the form of lanes of carefully selected species of trees along the main streets and pedestrian lines. On the entire length of St. Marcin street a single or double lane of lime trees were designed, depending on the width of the street. In front of the renovated Alfa building a representative double lane of trees was located, which continues in the western direction, to the square by UAM and park of Adam Mickiewicz, thus completing the perimeter system of city parks around city’s old town. In front of the church of St. Marcin was located a green square, which with its shape and character is to resemble church cloisters that favor quietness and spiritual rest. A double row of trees separates the interior of the square from the urban surroundings, giving the possibility of creating a space with less noise and visually separated from the chaotic city tissue. To enhance the effect described above, the interior of the square has been further lowered relative to the level of adjacent streets.