IMG_9911 fot. W Kadrze - Piotr Bedliński-min

Location: Rusałka Lake

Lake Rusałka has been there for the resident of Poznań for over 70 years. Formed in 1943, this reservoir of 367,000 square metres is located in the western part of the city in the Golęcin’s green wedge.  During the German occupation the lake was named „Elsensee” after the German name of the nearby mill – „Elsenmühle”. After the war, it was given a metaphorical-cultural name of „Rusałka” which references the mythical water nymphs.


For many years Rusałka has been managed by POSiR, however, for the past 4 years the most popular fragment of the lake, namely the Rusałka Recreational Centre, has been administered by the Familijny Poznań Foundation, known mainly for their kindergartens and public schools located in several Polish cities.  The new management reorganised the area and introduced many changes, involving the residents in this process too – along with the participation of the Poznań Civic Budget.


Rusałka is currently one of the most frequently visited recreational areas in Poznań. In the complex, visitors will find a bathing site a sandy beach, food and beverage facilities with designated barbecue areas, a restaurant, a sports and recreational infrastructure, and numerous amenities for children. The life-guarded bathing area has a characteristic blue pier. Visitors can also take advantage of the marina offering water equipment for hire, while the walking and cycling paths are perfect for walks and bicycle trips.


Rusałka lake and the adjacent grounds are at the disposal of Poznań’s residents all year round.  The complex is at its most popular in the summer season, on a hot weekend the site is visited by up to 5000 people.  These are mainly families with children. Youth also frequently visit this place, unlike seniors – the lack of good public transport impairs getting to Rusałka. Throughout the whole year the place is very popular among runners and cyclists.


The lake along with the adjacent grounds stretch over a very large area.  A walking and cycling route with several embranchments runs around the lake. The beach grounds with a designated bathing site, a pier and the permanent infrastructure constitute the central point where all activities are concentrated.  This area is not equipped with a sufficient number of seating spaces – one can sit down on benches and hire deck chairs. What is especially lacking, is a space conducive to activation of a larger group of people or encouraging creative activities, such as a band shell.  Such a place should serve the purpose of integration and encourage contact. It should provide a space for spending time in a group of friends, but also enable less organised groups to use it freely. Safety of children should also be taken into account. Such a place could also be a new characteristic spot at Rusałka, and become a new symbol, a recognisable point, serving, at the same time, its utilitarian function.  Hazards: The area is not guarded; vandalism takes place which is difficult to prevent.


Based on conversations with the users and administrators of the space, the participants of the workshops under the assistantship of tutors from the Wrocław office – Studio NO, have decided that the lack of space encouraging integration is the most significant problem of the location.

Responding to the demand of the larger groups of recipients, the students created an 11-meter-long ribbon-shaped winding bench comprised of 9 modules.  The young designers situated the construction in a less popular part of the bathing site, on a non-sandy surface, separated from the lake with high grass.  Placing a new element has transformed the previously-unused area into an attractive space. Thanks to the diversified height of the furniture, it is multi-functional and comfortable for users of any age.  The higher levels provide a beautiful view of the lake, while the form of the bench invites integration. The composition creates a piece of urban furniture which encourages relaxed interpersonal interaction and serves the purpose of both relaxation as well as spontaneous fun.

Student participants:

Bartosz Teodorczyk, Katarzyna Maliszewska, Elżbieta Kłeczek, Karolina Gordziewicz, Martin Mjartan, Ondrej Belica, Dániel Szabó, Dorottya Lázár, Maria Muellerova.


Designers from Poland

Architectural duo focused on medium- and small-scale projects.  Their activities combine architecture and design, not with a vague idea of repairing the city tissue but with the concrete goal of doing so and making it serve the residents.  They encourage interaction with the city tissue, extracting its potential. They say of themselves that they create places, designing for the time being or to last a longer while. While their creative process is playful, the outcome is serious; they strive to solve issues, not to erect monuments.