The design had to overcome a number of problems typical of Wrocław in order to architecturally clean up this fragment of the city. We focused on sewing together the junctions of two areas of genotypically different development and, respecting the geometry of the square, signalled a new opening along the city’s most important thoroughfare. In an attempt to compose a contemporary tenement, we accentuated the ground floor with a distinct entrance zone while terracing the building’s finial, making a reference to the circuit of cornices and ridges around the square. The double façade eliminates the nuisance of the busy street while enabling excellent contact with the greenery and the vibrant city, which is almost within arm’s reach.
The main task was to continue Dernburg’s design using a contemporary language of symbols and the characteristic dynamics of the era to balance the scale of the building. The coherence of the old and new parts was achieved through the right proportions, mass reduction, horizontal divisions and the properties of the materials. The dynamism of the unambiguously horizontal façade of the new part was intensified by the fan-like deflection of the cornices. The background, made up of glass and fibre cement panels, corresponds to the ceramics of the historic edifice. The two parts of the building are connected through an entrance atrium.
The starting point was a ghost building, and our task was to adapt its abandoned structure. We limited ourselves to “wrapping it up” and inscribing the functional layout into its structural grid. The horizontal body was accentuated with aluminium profiles around it and external canopies along the shopfronts. It provided a link between the façades and framed the advertising signs. The only extravagance was the illumination of the façade with chequered fluorescent lamps, signalling the building’s commercial function after dark.
The building fills in the quarter bounded by Drobnera and Śrutowa Streets, directly adjacent to a 19th century tenement house with rich eclectic decor. This part of the city centre is heavily invested, has a clear urban structure with defined quarters of streets and squares. Centreville complements the historical frontage of Drobnera Street, crucial for the Nadodrze district. As in the case of the neighboring building, the corner of Drobnera and Śrutowa Streets is accented with a flanking accent. Two last storeys have been withdrawn and free space has been assigned for residents’ view terraces.
On the most exposed elevations, solid brick was used, a material with both functional (resistance to urban conditions and passage of time) and decorative qualities, characteristic for this part of the city. The elevation glitters with several shades of browns and grays. The composition is complemented by large wooden windows and aluminum bands around them. It is important for contemporary buildings to fit into the urban tissue without ostentation and pretension to dominate.