Helena Wierzbowska, Maria Pawłowa, Julia Panasiuk, Lena Nafe, Eddie Hovakimyan, Leon Morscher, Jakub Koźlik, Marcin Stępień, Maksymilian Jaszczuk
support: Dominika Ufnal, Dominika Kępczynska
The Szeląg Garden is a recreational complex, located in the vicinity of the Szelągowski Park and the Ugory Social Welfare Home. The complex is located on a slope at the intersection of Ugory street with a pedestrian and bicycle path. It includes a sandy beach, with a lounge area with hammocks, kayak rentals and a fenced part of the green wedge called the Szeląg Garden. In the Garden there is a food court with a cafe, pavilion, meadow and the Social Garden. The garden is a place of many artistic and social events. The mission of the Garden is to support social and artistic initiatives. The Szeląg Garden does not have a status of a legal entity. Funds for cultural activities are obtained by foundations and associations which cooperate with the operator of the Garden to a varying degree.Music is an important element which constitutes the identity and brand of this place. The free open-air, small concerts in Szeląg organised in the season are very popular. The organiser of the Solo series at the Szeląg is the Spotkanie i Tworzenie Foundation.
Thanks to the ongoing monitoring of the needs of the community, Szelag visitors and workshop participants, it was possible to identify the needs and outline the profile of the Garden’s activities. The local community plays an important role in the social structure of the Szeląg Garden. Parents with children are regular visitors to this space. Additionally, those families which engage in the creation of the Szeląg Community Garden are particularly interested in neighbourhood integration and the development of the social idea of city garden plots. For children of the local community, the garden is a natural place for fun and free nature education. The Community of Gardeners is particularly interested in strengthening activities in the field of ecological and natural education for children. Taking into account the needs of the youngest, gardeners built a wicker igloo and organised creative workshops. As a result of a consultation meeting with gardeners and children, the following needs emerged. It was noted that there was no information system about the Szeląg Garden.
Gardeners mainly signalled the need to arrange a recreation area for children. During the interviews with the children, it was found that children most often spend their time on the mowed lawn in front of the pavilion, climb trees and use hammocks both in the garden and on the beach. In high season, the beach and the sand are children’s favourite places to play. In the garden, children play make-believe games in the meadows, read and draw. They eagerly climb trees, eat fruit, run around and hide in the corners of the garden. They also help their parents in the garden, sow plants and water the gardens. Due to these needs, the operator and gardeners expressed their interest in creating an observation deck or a system of platforms installed between the trees, which would act as a river viewpoint and an observation point for watching birds and small animals in the garden. The landing could reference the idea of a bird’s nest or a tree house. The structure would allow children to access the high-growing apple and mulberry fruits. It should encourage children to be physically active and take into account the physical abilities of children of all ages.
The designers’ task was to create an observation point overlooking the Warta River and a playground for children visiting the garden. The result of the group’s work is a piece of furniture of a simple, symmetrical shape which emphases the wildness and intimacy of the garden, and gives an opportunity for a peaceful observation of nature. The form of the furniture is a combination of two opposing step platforms which naturally designate 3 zones for users, to meet all the needs reported by the residents. The first zone is conducive to interaction with others and can serve as a meeting place for smaller groups using the garden. Whereas the second zone, located on the side of the pottery pavilion, serves as an observation deck. Narrow stairs, limited by walls, lead to the top of the structure enhancing the users’ sensory experience and framing the view of the Warta River flowing calmly in the distance. The third zone of the designed structure is an indentation or a cave by the riverside. It can serve as both a place of silent rest and provide endless play scenarios for the youngest gardeners.
Architect from Germany
Founder of Wenk Architekten architecture studio in Berlin. Professor at the chair of Buliding Construction and Design at Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus – Senftenberg. The architect is a winner of numerous awards, e.g.: Hans-Schaefers-Preis (2010), Heinze Architekten AWARD (2010), DEUBAU- Preis and Best Architects 14. Tutor in numerous international design workshops.