Damian Laskowski, Aleksander Blicharski, Jan Peřina, Denisa Dolanska, Klára Lanžhotská, Mária Pružincova, Ingrid Manhertz, Maria Mrugalska, Julia Pałęga
support: Ada Kocieniewska
The waterfall on the Puńcówka stream was created as part of a project aimed at increasing retention capacity and preventing floods and droughts in the forest ecosystem. It is located near the „City Forest on Puńcówka” – a nature reserve in Cieszyn created in 1961 to protect the population of a flower species called Hacquetia epipactis (pol. Cieszynianka wiosenna). The reserve is part of the „Pod Wałką” park. The Puńcówka stream is a right-bank tributary of the Olza river, and owes its name to the town of Puńców, through which it flows.Along the stream, one can observe a process of natural ecological succession, which means that an alluvial forest is spontaneously forming there – a habitat typical for humid places, along rivers and streams.In the vicinity of the waterfall there is a lock separating the Młynówka river from the Puncówka stream. Nearby is a vast complex of greenery, with a health trail and a playground, pedestrian alleys and recreational and sports facilities.
The place is visited by families with children using the nearby playground in the Pod Wałką* park. They arrive here in the afternoons, on foot or on bicycles, along the Olza boulevards or along the path leading through the City Forest. The walk itself – especially through the City Forest – is seen as a nice experience.
The final destination of the trip to this area is a playground. This place has its charm – far from the road, lots of greenery and trees – in the summer there is a pleasant coolness (in other seasons the shade is not so positively received). The advantage is the fairly extensive area – children have a place to run. The attraction is the zip-line. The waterfall and river lock elements are noticeable when walking. The lock elements themselves are not an element that attracts, although they arouse interest and are seen as an unused potential.
Parents dreamed of a creative space for children, which would use water to play. A space which would absorb kids long enough for carers to have a moment to relax. There was also an idea to place a wooden bridge next to the waterfall. Unfortunately, implementation in water in this case – due to rapid increases in water level and legal restrictions was not possible during our workshops. In designing the furniture for this project it is also impossible to use existing concrete pillars at the dam – due to the unstable hydrological situation in Puńcówka. The waterfall is a popular place among the residents – many of them associate it with the warm memories of childhood. This is one of the few places in Cieszyn – where walkers have unobstructed access to water – the steep slopes of Olza river effectively prevent residents on the Polish side of the river from recreation by the river so the gentle bank of Puńcówka encourages them to spend free time there and enjoy the proximity of water.
Unfortunately, due to large fluctuations in the water level designers could not incorporate the water into their design, so they decided to create a space which is a beach interpretation, substituting the sensory experience of a water with the feeling of sand. As the main users of the space are families with children, the group decided to design an installation which would be both a part of the playground and a place which would be challenging and interesting for the kids. Noticing that the playground misses a sandbox, they decided to design an installation which directly caters to that need.
The whole structure was painted black, creating a contrast to the local playground and its surroundings, making it thus more interesting and noticeable for the children. It corresponds with the users’ needs and the surroundings, at the same time making its own statement within the space.
Architects from Hungary