Responsive Public Space

Laka2020 050 Design1. Idea
Project is a revitalization of the underground passage in the centre of Warsaw. Today it is mainly a transfer space with over 70 thousand people passing by daily, with few services, no daylight, lots of dirt and beggars. Project incorporates responsive solutions to transform the place into a functional multi-purpose space, able to cater to the changing needs of the city inhabitants and the environment.

2. Sensitivity to changes
Environmental sensitivity is provided through the changing performance of the glass domes. They are capable of collecting solar energy, changing their opacity in response to the amount of sunlight and letting natural ventilation. Social sensitivity is satisfied through the flexible plan and changeable programme anticipated. Activities taking place today are very heterogenous and egalitarian, but they lack a space which could handle all this variety. Project refurbishes the interior and group all the technical areas in the internal ring to enable the central space to be transformed freely.

3. Social and environmental engagement
Project is a reuse of an existing structure and it minimizes further impact on the environment. It takes advantage of existing wind currents to provide natural ventilation inside and collects sun energy. With regard to the social aspect project creates an inclusive space which evolves altogether with its varied users. Programme and spatial layout are in a process of constant change, regularly adapting to the changing needs. Moreover, space is designed to become a communication tool between the city and its inhabitants. Surfaces of the glass domes and screen along the passage are interactive screens provoking passers-by to take action, engage and influence the displayed content.

4. Relationship to context
Existing underpass is a part of the central transportation hub giving access to the subway station, suburban trains, trams and buses. Its space is limited underneath by rail tunnels, subway tunnels and sewage collecting pipes. Above, two main roads cross. Project introduces 4 glass domes on each side of the junction to provide light and orientation for the people passing under and create a local landmark.

5. Flexibility
Basic space layout favours different functions and activities such as a market place, pop-up space and small gastronomy. Each one is changeable with other similar in a cycle – daily, weekly or monthly. Moreover, various singular events are planned throughout the year. Thanks to movable partition walls space adapts to the needs. It may open entirely to facilitate communication during a mass event or it may transform a few smaller retails into one market area. Communication area may be reversed with facilities to create an internal catwalk for fashion shows or an ice skating rink during winter months.

6. Technology
All glass domes consist of two types of panels – hexagons made of smart glass with integrated LED diodes and photovoltaic triangles on motor operators. As a result, glass domes regulate the amount of light and air penetrating the interior and thus optimize energy consumption.

7. Self-sufficiency
Project incorporates collection of solar energy, rainwater and natural ventilation.

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