AWARD OF THE YEAR OF THE ASSOCIATION OF POLISH ARCHITECTS SARP 2011 EUROPEAN UNION PRIZE FOR CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE MIES VAN DER ROHE AWARD 2013 / NOMINATION
Kielce is the central town to the Swietorzyski region in the central-southern part of Poland. Due to industry’s severe decline in the last decade of the 20th century and the rising unemployment the city suffered many opportunity losses. Tourism investment based on European Union subsidies seems particularly relevant for improvement of the situation of this geologically and paleontologically precious area.
On the outskirts of the Wietrznia natural rock preserve, where stone pits were abandoned a few decades ago, lies a geology educational center in Kielce. Naturally designed for scholarly and exhibition purposes, it can be a venue for workshops, lectures, attractive outdoor exercises among the well-preserved Devonian period fossils. The project designed by PALK Architects (Piotr Hardecki, Marta Czarnomska, Krzysztof Laniewski-Wollk, Lukasz Stepniak) won the 2008 national architectural contest. Designers planned geometrical surfaces of green-covered roofs representing the product of civilization to correspond and match easily with the organic shape of the natural hill nearby. The shape of the building is not visible from the preserve’s view and as such presents an integral part of the landscape, because a vast collection of wild plants is sustained on both the roof and the abrupt slopes, altogether presenting to the visitors a process of almost innocent free vegetation.
Materials used for the construction are traditional and locally-specific, but at the same time live up to the current-day architecture standards. Several fossils discovered during the ground work on the site have been used for interiors design of the hall and the exhibition rooms. The front elevation facing the road leading to the building has been designed as a double skin ventilated glass wall. Roller-blinds placed between the two tiles allow for the control of insolation. The building is equipped with an air-heating pump assisting the heating system in winter season and supporting the cooling of it during the summer.