Gdynia Waterfront

An environmental urban design

Cities of Tommorow:Gdynia

Gdynia Waterfront in the North of Poland is after Shenzhen in China yet another our proposal prepared within the Cities of Tommorow innitiative which highlights new means of designing on reclaimed from water areas where new building blocks would be errected.Gdynia as a modern city created in the 1920s and still under development,with a lot of hidden potential was an ideal choice for introducing a new way of creating big city areas not only basing on functionality or historical references but the nature of the very place itself.
In this climate-oriented design, environmental conditions were the base for the main massing and orientation of the solids allowing to fully harvest the benefits and protect from the downsides of this specific maritime location. The performative landscape design in the area was also focused on improving the living,working and leisure areas conditions. Obligatory city plan requirements like referencing in the design the old waterfront were functionally translated into forms that create shelters from strong winds which may occur in walking alleys in this waterfront destination. Square pavement divisions acting like rain gutters would collect water directly to a water tank in the basement level.This and other sustainable concepts together with the general design were still created in a certain symbiosis with the old modernistic image of Gdynia to provide a connection and blend in the new development with the existing urban tissue.As starting something new does also require to respect the man-made quality context.

Urban concept for the complex

The concept focuses first of all on the scale. The outcome would not be a group of buildings designed separately but a new coherent district and city center which Gdynia deserves.
This brings to mind the planning of large areas in the Twenties and Thirties in this location in Poland where high quality accessible to everyone buildings were designed.
The social impact is in the core of this proposal where the focus is on bringing comfort to the inhabitants of housings and employees of offices rather then just on the external looks of the area.The aim is to bring back those good traditions of building affordable,comfortable and sustainable architecture. This would be visible not only in housing and office layouts but also in the spaces in between buildings where life takes place.
All the concept is not only related to the current and past urban tissue but as well to the very specific environmental conditions of this locations. On a land reclaimed from the water certain specific climatic issues need to be addressed. The entire massing concept is therefore here based on environmental simulations and focused on performance. The weather conditions are a key player in this project which works together with nature and not against it.
The buildings massing is adapted to wind flows,courtyards are protected from wind flows but at the same time invites part of the streamlines for natural ventilation.

Architectural conditions

The entire setting would be designed in a consistent manner with a unified treatment of the landscape as the fabric which binds all the elements together in a whole and provides continuity.
The buildings form and facades would indirectly evoke the important modernist architecture from the 1920 to mid 1930’s by using a similar character and directions in the design such as building form simplicity,efficiency in planning and construction and not by copying particular details. Popular in Gdynia maritime inspirations were mostly used only in the landscape design and small architecture to avoid a cliché approach.
With the ranging heights and different architecture styles on ul.Waszyngtona and the size of the project as masterplan of a new district it was more important to connect the project area with the entire city and not just to relate to the closest surroundings.
Aesthetic features such as landscape design features reminding of the old waterfront line would be used in a pragmatic way in which they enhance the performance of the area resulting in even more comfort for the users.
Pragmatic decission were taken in all building typologies with for example loggias chosen over the use of balconies in housings as they provide additional wind shelters or by creating zones for socializing in office floorplans.
The residential areas that consist of two rather small blocks are a perfect example of a human centered design that provides green semi-private spaces with playgrounds, private gardens for urban farming,surrounded by quite commercial uses and a friendly neighborhood place – the community center around the corner.
The comfort would be enhanced as well in the hotel which should pay a special attention to it.
Here the blocks with rooms have been oriented towards the water and to avoid visual perception from the neighbor building which also serves the same function, the direction and framing of the views to the harbor have been additionally optimized.

Material solutions

White traditional material manufactured locally would be used on all facades.
On the housing big tiles of sandstone would be visually exposed by emphasizing the divisions between the elements. On the offices white rectangular vertically oriented ceramic tiles would evoke the traditions from the Twenties in Gdynia where one material would wrap the skin of all the building. Hotels as a part of the program related to an another,cultural zone would be more reflective and without the tile divisions exposed as made of a white material which is a composite of minced marble and glass. It’s neighbor – the cinema hall multiplex would also stand out from the rest of the development not only due to it’s dramatic inclined form overhanging the corner of the project site but also because of the use of a prefabricated white reflective aluminum facade.The landscape on which all the above would stand would be made of hard materials such as granite tiles and concrete to provide a robust and contemporary finish.

Greening concept
In order to keep the harbor city atmosphere the level of greening of the surfaces was limited after reaching the minimum level of the requested biological active areas.
Planting species other then trees to avoid additional loads on the slab of the parking level would be selected with the local climatic conditions and would allow variations in seasonal blooming sequences and leaf colors on the green hills in the residential zone which would shelter it from the office zone to the east.

Structural solutions
All buildings in each typology would have the same structural scheme except functions which demand larger spans like cinema halls.
Housings and offices would be based on a simple column-slab structural system which would avoid the usage of transfer slabs with the grid of 810 cm in the parking areas on the underground level. The cinema building structural system would be based on steel frames with a span of maximum 30m which would be beneficial to cover the column-less distances in the projection halls.

Technical installations solutions
The solids were formed and arranged to minimize the amount of machinery and expensive unsustainable in production technologies. Natural ventilation in office buildings would be promoted with a tilted element in every window. Overheating of the facades would be avoided by minimizing glazing and due to the use of the factor promoting closures with a ratio window/wall between 35/65 and 40/60.

Fire protection solutions
All buildings fulfill the requirements for ZL1 buildings where non of them is a tall building higher then 25m.Technical areas on the rooftops are surrounded from all sides by a mesh wall and would not be considered as an additional floor, with the heights of each building measured to the attic wall.
The cinema building has been given special consideration with a fire inspector who was a consultant in it’s design. Here evacuation has been carefully studied with widths and means of egress corresponding to the amount of users of all cinema halls.

LEED requirements fulfillment
Besides improving thermal conditions in housings and overheating in offices by keeping a good wall to glass factor in compact mostly enclosed forms and using natural wind to cool down facades the project focuses on resiliency in the approach to sustainability.
With all the zone 2 lifted and protected by the possible raising water level, the rest of the areas like the main public plazas with it’s porous surfaces would perform as a water gathering surface. The pavement divisions on the cultural plaza would work as rain gutters leading water to drain in the main public spaces straight to the water tank positioned under the cultural square.

Economics and facilities maintenance
All building materials have been chosen to facilitate maintenance throughout the years.
All facade tiles would be easily replaceable and walking surfaces would be easily cleaned.
The Pavilion in the cultural/touristic square would have and adaptable open floor plan which would reduce the operational costs.

Functional solutions
For an empty area in the middle of the city center the most important thing is to establish pedestrian connections. The two building zones 1 and 2 would be connected with the main square which provides a direct access to every place in the project area and the close neighborhood such as the Sea Tower square.
From South, the cultural square would be inviting people walking along Al. Jana Pawła II and Skwer Kościuszki with the central multifunctional pavilion as the main attractor and other attractive groundfloor functions such as cafes,restaurant,spa opening towards it.It’s landscape infographical design would encourage all kind of movement and direct the visitors straight to specific spaces.
The East-West connection would link the proposed square around the historical landmark of Fisher’s cross to the raised podium plaza between Sea Towers and Zone 04. There would be a clearly defined link between the raised parking area in Zone 02 and the podium plaza as a bridge connection on top of which a two floor community center function would be attracting visitors.
The main pedestrian route along the course of the former sea shore would be designed as an alley with benches and green hills integrated in the landscape design which provide a semi-private character to the adjacent housing courtyards.The area adjacent to ul. Waszyngtona would be active with many live areas on the groundfloor along all the entire street until the cinema corner.In all the tall groundfloor level, to further improve the people flow along the public areas all corners have been filleted with rounded corners.
To provide all these forms of internal and external communication including the use of public areas to everyone, all the floors and surfaces were designed as accessible to the disabled.
Architectural and urban design of buildings and site landscape enclosed by Hryniwickiego, Waszyngtona and Al. Jana Pawła II street in Gdynia

Building Program: Housing,Offices,Hotels,Cinema
Type:Closed concept invited competition
Architect: KAMJZ
Collaboration: Kuryłowicz & Associates
Location: Gdynia, Poland
Date : October 2016
Project Leader : Maciej Jakub Zawadzki
Team Leaders:Łukasz Wenclewski, Michał Polak
Team: Jan Gronkiewicz,Wei Lesley Yang, Geoffrey Pascal, Daniele Govi, Konrad Weka, Jason O’Connor, Damian Lachtara, Wojciech Pachocki (K&A)
Client: Vastint