1. Prof. Eng. Arch. Klaus R. Kunzmann

"Cities and Flagships"

In times of globalization, of growing international interdependencies and global communication networks, cities compete globally, not just regionally. They compete for inward investment, for qualified labor, for tourists, and for international media coverage. They offer to host conventions and political, cultural and sport events. In order to demonstrate urban excellence, underline their attractiveness and to profile city image and identity, they build architectural flagships. They are convinced that images of flagships, in international newspapers, trendy airline journals or glossy consumer magazines help them to gain international reputation. Urged by vested interests of local communities and investors, cities build new museums or opera houses, impressive sport arenas or eye-catching waterfront developments designed by star architects; they. This is done at prominent city locations, hoping that the flagships trigger off new development on derelict brown field sites, and add value to the local city stage. Though, such projects are controversial from the beginning, they are often realized with enormous public investments. Experience shows, however, that in the end, the city benefits from a new city symbol and its economic follow-op investment. The flagship is praised as a welcomed addition to the cityscape. Conflicts of the past, which could have been avoided by more transparent planning and open communication processes, are soon forgotten.

                             Illustration: Klaus R. Kunzmann

2. Arch. Judit Z. Halmágyi, ZHJ Architecture, BKF University of Applied Sciences, Budapest (Węgry)

The first part will concern the urban and natural landscape scale or dimension. We will explore how – as European upper and underwater-land – we are related to a macro regional water-based net through the EDRS (European Danube Regional Strategy). We will study what are the new ways of keeping the clean water, how to protect its nature and how to create new economical projects with nature-protection and sustainability in mind. Those items will be shown through running projects and future plans (searching for cooperation and partners).

The second part will concentrate on the latest, let’s say last ten years, more unique or individual architectural projects and on the BKF’s (our university) studies. Some of them have been already realised, some of them maintain still only dreams or visions. All of them influence the inhabitants of Budapest, the region, the country, but first of all water based neighbourhood. We will also have a look at the surrounding countries and nations and present interesting design developments, based on strong architectural ideas.

The speech is part of “Fresh Design - Young Europe about design” project       

3. Prof. Eng. Arch. Alina Drapella-Hermansdorfer, Faculty of Architecture of Wrocław University of Technology

" Between sand dunes and flood waters: new aesthetics in urban planning landscape"

From the sustained development point of view one of the most important factors in assessing all types of projects is its environmental risk associated with excess or shortage of water. This also applies to landscape architecture which cannot be seen solely in terms of aesthetics. We will present selected stages of the hydrological cycle along with corresponding forms of terrain and desirable technical solutions, supported by examples of contemporary realizations. We will analyze the following landscape’s aspects:

· organization of surface runoff and the so-called small retention of water

· use of water for environmental and living purposes

· impact of land development on the process of evaporation and transpiration.

The objective of this presentation is to answer the question: how urban planners and landscape architects can combine the beauty of proposed solutions with environmental correctness?

The speech is part of “Fresh Design - Young Europe about design” project     

4. Dr inż. arch. Karolina A. Krośnicka, TUP Gdańsk

"A sea of ​​opportunities"

The presence of water in the city gives a "sea" of opportunities to shape its public space. Opening of the landscape from at least one side of a square towards the surface of the water allows for playing with perspective and its optical magnification as well as enables to use the frontage of the buildings on the opposite side to act as scenography for theater of events taking place on the water. The background - the scene - the audience is a  basic principle of shaping the wharf’s urban space. Of course, its function, scale and nature of objects that build this space, as in a good spectacle, must be properly matched with each other. The "audience" zone can be interactive, if we let inside this sphere water in the form of channels, docks, shipyard docks, fountains, natural coves ... Therefore the way we include water in our spatial composition allows us to distinguish two major types of morphogenetic squares: waterfronts and waterways. The waterfront square, alley or pier – they all direct the pedestrians movement toward the water. They are regularly shaped and present a monumental character. The second type of place may arise as an adaptation of old hydro-technical facilities as newly designed objects or as housing developed around natural harbors. They usually present a bit more intimate and informal nature. Another compositional option is a pedestrian boulevard, the axis of which directs the observer’s sight towards a lake, a river or a sea. So much is happening on the water that here both: time and the city flow differently.

    Photo: Piotr Twardochleb

5. Arch. arch. Anna Grajper i Sebastian Dobiesz, LAX laboratory for architectural experiments

“Swiss cities at water junctions”

The lecture given by a young group of architects already having international experience gained in renowned design offices. LAX explores urban the idea of environment interfering with architecture, psychology and modern technology. It experiments with Interactive Architecture seeking for spatial compensation in contemporary European cities.

The lecture presents ways of developing wharfs in Zurich, Lucerne, Bern, Basel et other cities. It is a result of their study trip to Switzerland and urban planning analyses. It explains how long the coastline in the cities is and which part is “covered” by the local development plan. It shows interesting grassroots initiatives related to development of the area linking the city and the river. The information is summarized in a form of analysis comparing the Swiss reality with the potential of Wrocław’s riverside.

Practically all Swiss cities have direct contact with a lake or a river or both forms simultaneously. Many of them host thermal baths or waters exceptionally rich in  minerals. Contact with water and highly diverse topography create different types of climatic areas, among which we can find the Mediterranean one with its intense subtropical flora. These are the qualities making contact with water in Switzerland easy, accessible and pleasant. However, the intensity and diversity of the Swiss urban coastline require thoughtful solutions which will make the most out of the existing geographical conditions. The lecture presents examples of efficient management of public space as well as areas of dubious quality, lost as a result of historical circumstances or as a result of modern planning.

    Photo: LAX

6. Arch. Maciej Dębski, EPR Architects

" Reintegration of water and the city – iconic revitalization projects in the UK "

Difficult relationships between towns and their water systems as well as their historical evolution is visible in Britain - a country where industrial development was based largely on an intensive use of rivers, seaports and artificial water-related objects. The urban creating factor so typical of rivers was strengthened by their exploitation during the industrial revolution.

Originally a purely utilitarian, but nevertheless extremely strong ties between urban centers and rivers, coastlines and networks of transport canals gradually lost their importance, leaving inside the cities areas of no man's land, forgotten, contaminated and vandalized.

This is why the present state and problems of urban planning of large cities tied with water result from a rapid development of industrial revolution and progressing post-war de-industrialization. These global processes have left permanent and painful scars in the tissue of most of the major English cities.

Since the 70. Britain has been taking coordinated actions in order to restore those ties by large-scale revitalization projects that combine private and public investments, often successfully blurring the lines between commercial and public space and restoring the urban continuity of communication systems.

While observing critically pioneering projects initiated in the 80s and 90s such as Docklands (London - River Thames), Brindley Place (Birmingham – network of transport canals), Albert Dock (Liverpool - seaport), we can assess their long-term impact on the urban environment, the level of reintegration as well as economic benefits, and, finally, get inspired.

          Illustration: Maciej Dębski

7. Dr. Eng. Arch. Anna Lower, Faculty of Architecture University of Technology

"Marinas and harbors in the city space "

Marinas and harbors, being objects which connect water areas with the mainland, bring into the urban landscape diversity and dynamism. They give the opportunity to create public space at a junction of two seemingly independent zones. Cities of a large tradition in this matter, such as Copenhagen and Utrecht, prove that this “tie” can be attractive as urban space in which different expectations of all user groups doesn’t have to create a conflict but, instead it can enrich and act as a local attraction for both locals and tourists. A large number of Polish cities located on water already head in this direction.

Users of waterways are not a homogeneous group. Some of them are tourists in need of health and social facilities provided on the land part. There are also residents who use water in a recreational way - looking for a possibility to berth their boats and use services such as gastronomy and others. Moored ships can be also considered as a visual attraction for vacationing people vacationing as well as those walking on the coastal boulevards. Such interdependence can be observed in the historic center of Amsterdam, where on sunny days you can meet a crowd of people and a lot of boats on the water. The canal’s restaurants serve both groups of users. Residents enjoy barbecues even on moored boats and from tourists’ perspective such a penetration of land by water gives the feeling of fully understanding the city’s nature and uniqueness.

    Photo: Anna Lower

8. Arch. Arch. Kazimierz Łatak Piotr Lewicki, Biuro Projektów Lewicki Łatak, Cracow

"Footbridge - element connecting two places” The idea behind footbridges for pedestrians and bicycles is to overcome obstacles - rivers, roads or railway tracks – it’s a way to connect - more or less differing edges.

The difference between them may originate in the history, as in the case of the footbridge between two independent once towns like Kazimierz and Podgórze - which resulted in different forming of the coast, adapted to the natural terrain development. The footbridge of Kazimierz-Ludwinów is a similar case. Here the historic city (with preserved stone boulevards) was connected with areas of old countryside properties which, despite transformation stayed green embankments. A similar situation of connecting an artifact with nature took place in Manchester, where it was intended to link a sidewalk a busy street close to the university with a meadow used to rest.

Sometimes it happens that the combined sites are independent objects, differently formed, but having the same function objects – the connection is supposed to allow for joint co-existence as a part of a greater whole - for example the footbridge linking two parks: the spa park and the hospital park on "the Hill" in Busko-Zdrój. Another example is the Lent-Tabor footbridge in Maribor, Slovenia, with links two barely different from each other (apart  from than the distance from the historic city center) districts.

These few examples illustrate the fact that the footbridge connects two places,  independent in terms of form, nature and emotions of the space and that the degree of understanding and respect for their specifics will affect both the shape and the functionality - including its social understanding.         Illustration: from the collection BPLŁ


9. Kamil Zaremba, President of the Foundation " Guidelines for the use and development of the Wrocław Waterway System – good practices and examples"

Wrocław as an agglomeration has a unique hydrological system. It is worth reminding that the city development was only possible thanks to Odra. The lecture will present concepts which explore the potential of Wrocław waterway taking into account historical experience and indicating possible implementation fields of its use for residents. By presenting existing examples and showing their practical implementation in Wrocław we will prove the following thesis: ODRA - ICON OF WROCŁAW. 

          Author photo: Kamil Zaremba