The building of MGA introduced new spatial order to the old backyards and ruined buildings in Rajska and Szujskiego streets in Krakow. The starting point was a multifunctional hall, which was entered into the outline of the old, 19th-century horse-riding arena, used in the last years of its history as workshops and storage space for the Juliusz Slowacki Theatre in Kraków. The Malopolska Garden of Arts is a cross between two institutions: the Juliusz Slowacki Theatre and the Malopolska Voivodeship Library. The wing on Szujskiego Street holds a modern art and media library, with multimedia books and music, while the section standing on ul. Rajska has been developed by the theatre, and is equipped with a multifunctional events hall. The new hall – operating, as a studio theatre, conference room, concert hall, and venue for banquets and exhibitions – holds retractable stages for 300 people. State-of-the-art stage technology is present overhead: fixed on hoists and cranes to the steel ceiling girders. This allows dramas and concerts to be performed, and exhibitions, film screenings, symposiums, conferences, art auctions, fashion shows, and many more events to be held. Altogether, the space of about 4300 sqm houses a theatre together with a cosy cinema with 98 seats, a café, and premises for the organisation of educational, art-related activities. Honing the form, the architects focused on interaction with the future recipients, which is why the entire spatial form of the symbolic, openwork roof raised over the garden from the side of Rajska Street – though not functioning as an actual roof – is there to transport the gateway to the stage out onto the street. In this way, the building delicately nudges passers-by with the skilful manipulation of the form, already at first glance giving the onlooker the impression of going beyond the borders of a garden, where agriculture is grown in evenly planted in rows. Further proof of the sophisticated play with the space is the garden itself. Imitating flowerbeds, the equal bands with low greens are a metaphor of a garden: as much as the architects could afford here. A notable fact is that historically “ulica Rajska” – literally “Paradise Street” – led to the Garden of Paradise, which was later replaced by the developments of the Tobacco Works. Architect Krzysztof Ingarden (collaborating with Jacek Ewý), claims that the form of the building is a contextual game between “mimesis and the abstraction”. In practice, this means that the building is by no means a simulacrum of the context, but rather draws inspiration from the code of contextual forms by making references to the geometry of the roofs and tissue of the neighbouring structures applied for the abstract geometrical compositions of the façades. The building fits the scale of its environment perfectly by maintaining the lines of the roof and divisions of the façade line with the composition and linear solutions of the neighbouring buildings.
Project: Malopolska Garden of Arts, Architecture Studio: Ingarden & Ewý Architects (IEA) Architect: Krzysztof Ingarden, Ph.D. Collaboration: Jacek Ewý, architect Team IEA: Architects : Piotr Urbanowicz, Sebastian Machaj, Agata Staniucha, Jakub Wagner, Piotr Hojda, Bartosz Haduch, Bogdan Blady, Maciej Szromik, Anna Kula, Sylwia Gowin, Marta Branska, Piotr Kita, Krzysztof Stepniak Cooperation: K3 Architekci s.c – architects: Piotr Chuchacz, Benedykt Bury, Rafal Chowaniec Interior design: Ingarden & Ewý Architects and „Pracownia S.C.” : Agnieszka Cwynar- Laska, Marta Spodar Acoustics: Inter-Eko Sp. z o.o., Jan Adamczyk, Leslaw Stryczniewicz, Dorota Szalyga Stage technology: Przedsiebiorstwo Projektowo-Uslugowe „OTO”, Tomasz Ostrowski, Zbigniew Koska Structure: GSBK Biuro Konstrukcyjne – Mariusz Szefer, Jaroslaw Zdeb. Samsoor Shaheed HVAC: TW Engineers Sp. Z o.o., Tadeusz Wolek, Monika Pantol, Maria Eustachiewicz Electrical Systems: ES-System - Jan Wachacki, Pawel Bugno, Bozena Paluchowska Roads: Altrans, Stanislaw Albricht, Ewa Dudek, Landscape design: Land Arch – Karolina Bober, Malgorzata Tujko Fire consultant: Janusz Siata Client: Slowacki Theater in Krakow Project engineer: Lider: OTS-IP Sp. z o.o. Kraków; Partner: Dom Inzynierski PROMIS SA, Szczecin General contractor: PBO Skobud Sp. z o.o., Zywiec Photographs © Krzysztof Ingarden