Baildomb is a building in which context is crucial, both architectural and social one. Dąb is one of the districts in Katowice, which has been bypassed by investors until recently. Two previous developers withdrew from the investment in this place because the sales analysis inexorably showed that no one would want to buy an apartment here. However, we recognized the potential of this area.
There is a chaotic, extremely diversified development, which was inspiring for us. It is actually easier to list what is missing there. However, we have noticed some regularities in this chaos - all the buildings without exception are surrounded by various fences, or they themselves, combined with the walls, form closed backyards. The whole area is a kind of patchwork from various, often incompatible elements.
The main idea of the building is based on this rich diversity of the district. We have decided to collect the most common typologies from the area and to assemble them into a vertical structure. Thanks to this, all residents can enjoy equal access to daylight and have a view of the nearby park, whose immediate vicinity is the greatest asset of the plot.
And so, on the ground floor there are houses with gardens, the next three floors are typical apartments, with luxurious city villas on top. The variety of apartment types and their standard are to attract residents of different social status. We believe that a sound city should be diverse.
A particular challenge was the ground floor, where the apartments were to be located. The motif of the fence characteristic for this area was inspired by the immediate surroundings. On the ground floor there are "houses with gardens" with fences of variable height, which provide a sense of privacy and at the same time views and the sunshine. These walls somehow stick to the existing fences in the area, creating a visual continuity.
Higher we have arranged a three-storey body with standard apartments. The black colour refers to the tarred gables of nearby buildings. On the green roof, on the other hand, there are single and two-storey villas, referring to the surrounding houses and their roofs in different shades of grey, just like the ground floor.
The initial question as to what to refer to here, because it was impossible to refer to everything, resulted in an unobvious choice, which we had to flower into. A layered building was created, which fits into a complex, local context.
Something we believed in has become a fact. Thanks to various typologies of apartments, it was possible to create a sound social mix, which revived the area. Baildom creates a new, diverse social tissue, and has even succeeded in attracting more affluent people, who have so far avoided the neighborhood.
The building addresses the topic of how to design in spaces considered difficult and unfriendly. These solutions allow us to combine the garden space on the ground floor with adjacent areas when the area becomes friendlier. We have taken the first step in this direction. At the beginning of construction, we demolished a large concrete wall that surrounded the plot and replaced it with a light openwork structure for greenery, thus providing a new perspective for the residents.
The building is very diverse, but the logic told us it was the best way to fit into this extremely chaotic district. That's why we decided to show the architecture immersed in the context, not as a solid cut out of the surroundings. With pictures we wanted to show what it feels like to be there. The most important thing for us was to create a building that complements and blends in with the district and does not act as an arrogant stranger who screams: "fuck the context."
We designed Baildomb many years before the outbreak of the pandemic, but we approached the subject with common sense, so many solutions work even in this difficult time. Previous developers wanted to put blocks of flats right next to each other here, we convinced the client that it couldn't be done that way, since there is a park next door and all the residents can enjoy the view of the greenery. The vertical structure made it happen, but apart from that, we also provided each apartment with an outdoor space in the form of a garden, balcony or terrace, which worked perfectly during many months of isolation. We saw with our own eyes how people spend their whole days there, taking advantage of the weather and the view, ensuring better mental comfort. Interestingly, after talking to some of them, we know that they can't imagine living without that extra outdoor space anymore, as it is what determines quality of life.
Baildomb Housing is a building where the context, both architectural and social one, is crucial
Chaotic, diverse environment influenced the building’s shape
Baildomb’s structure consists of different housing typologies, similar to those from the neighborhood
The fences, characteristic for this area, were translated into shaping Baildomb’s “houses with gardens”
Something we can’t see - elevated Baildomb’s ground floors make the fence is only a low barrier for residents
Assembling different typologies of housings into a vertical structure, instead of implementing them in front of one another, gave all the residents daylight, view and common spaces
Sometimes, the references to context are not obvious. The black Baildomb elevations refer to the tarred gables of nearby buildings
All the inhabitants have a view to the nearby park, starting form “houses with gardens” to end with villas on the roof
Oppositely to the surrounding area, all Baildomb roofs are covered with greenery
View from the side of the pre-war housing complex - the most expressive building in the entire districts
Sport Investment Group
Michał Lisiński, Marcin Harnasz
KWK Promes – an office founded by Robert Konieczny, since 2019, an international member of the French Academy of Architecture (Académie d'Architecture). The conceptual approach to design leads to regular experiments and researches, whose aim is to improve the functionality of buildings and space.
Currently, the office activities are more and more directed towards solutions adapting architecture to inevitable climate change and to all the challenges related to that.
The National Museum - Dialogue Centre Przełomy in Szczecin was announced to be The Best Public Space in Europe in the competition European Prize for Urban Public Space. The same project was found World Building of the Year 2016 in the World Architecture Festival. Konieczny’s Ark was awarded Wallpaper Design Awards 2017 for Best New Private House. His realizations were twelve times nominee of the European Award of Mies van der Rohe Foundation.