Location: Rataje Newts – ecological site

Ecological site serves the purpose of protecting naturally valuable areas. The „Rataje Newts” Ecological Site was established to protect Poznań’s largest population of newts and other species of amphibians co-existing with them such as ground spadefoot toads, grey and green toads, as well as water and grass frogs. The purpose of establishing the site is to limit the negative impact of urban areas on the habitats of protected species. These animals belong to locally rare ones and are threatened with extinction. This location is an important refuge for them, which is why it is necessary to monitor the habitats and give special attention to the safety of amphibians combined with the control of their numbers.

The project of establishing the site in a part of the park was launched in 2011 at the initiative of the residents of the Tysiąclecia estate in cooperation with environmentalist from the „Traszka Group” who, in a personal questionnaire, expressed their will to create a new site. The amphibian population in this area was first described at the end of the 1990s, but it was only as a result of research in 2011-2012 that it turned out that it is the last such numerous population of newts in this part of Poznań, and the park has very important natural and ecological functions. The main habitat of the newts are shallow, partially water-stained ponds located in the central part of the site. The ponds are covered with reeds, around them grow native species of trees and shrubs. In this area there are many walking paths, small architecture and two educational boards. The site is located in close proximity to the tram stop and relatively close to the school and blocks of flats, which is why we can meet both walking residents and people heading home or work in this area.


In order to better use the potential of the place and enable the implementation of educational tasks it would be useful to build a „green classroom” or infrastructure supporting education, i.e. a workspace for observation, a place where classes with a small group of people could take place, a small auditorium or a small „field lab”. The proposed location is a concrete platform with an asphalt path. The platform is located by a pond on the eastern side of the Park, the spring mating ground for the amphibians. The space should contain a worktop and seats, enabling both group classes as well as providing opportunity to use this space by individual users (the ability to suspend educational materials or QR codes redirecting to the server with downloadable materials).


Group proposition was to create the extension of the area that might be used by people as the place to educate – students design  the pier which is more accessible for users and at the same time is a perfect place for the native species. To complete project, students used the reeds that was cut down from the axis created between two important anchor points – the concrete platform and the slope on the opposite site of the pond. That way authors created a more appealing space for humans and also a better habitat for newts, other amphibians and insects. What is more, the educational aim is provided by wooden columns that contain information about newts and their evolution as their presence is not commonly recognized by local people. In order to make it more attractive for children, the tops of all columns are rotating – on one side there is always a question about the size of a newt in a different stage of life and on the other side is a symbolical answer. Colums differ in height to represent the change in size of newts at different stages of their lifecycle

Student participiants:

Michał Wachura, Damian Laskowski, Zuzia Spaltabaka, Karolina Rossa,  Lucie Zádrapová, Kryštof David, Dominika Barlová, Filip Mozdík, Piotrek Górski, Marcelina Jankowska

Tutor: Hiroshi Kato and Pola Koch

Architects from Japan and Germany

Hiroshi Kato

Japanese architect implementing projects in Japan and Europe. His interests include both architecture, design and art. He gained professional experience in Sou Fujimoto studio – as the leading architect and in the Copenhagen COBE studio. In 2011, together with Victoria Diemer Bennetzen, he founded the KATO X Victoria studio, which quickly became one of the best young European architectural studios. The architect also devotes himself to educational and academic activities – organising lectures and workshops for students.

Pola Koch