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 school’s location in the park determined our priority: to save as many trees as possible. We accomplished this by inscribing the plan onto the foundations of previously existing facilities and insisting on a pitch on the roof. The result was a typologically simple school organised along a hall that provides a buffer against noise from a busy road. The classrooms received the quietness of a park, while the overhanging lab cubes with natural light from above make the façade composition more dynamic. All decisions were simple and radical. We were pleased that they could still be implemented ten years after winning the competition.
This is a simple sports hall funded with public money, without extravagances of design, form or material. Nonetheless, it leaves a distinctive mark on the space. The surroundings made a considerable contribution to the character of the interiors. Discreet openings in the façades provide a link between these two worlds in precisely chosen locations. They shatter the banality of the typically run-of-the-mill form and consistently affect the atmosphere of the hollow monolith. Today we know that the building has been accepted by the local community, strengthening their identity in duet with the club colours.
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 design of the Faculty of Law and Administration was an attempt to fit into the historical context while respecting the size of the surrounding development, dominated by the University edifice. We refrained from the banal imitation of historical forms following our conviction that architecture, even when treated as a background to urban activities, should be built using forms characteristic of the time when it is created. In shaping the body, interiors and details of the building, we referred to the rich tradition of Wrocław’s modernism. A compromise was reached between the representational character of a public building and the simplicity and functionality of an educational institution.
The urban palace located at ul. Włodkowica 4 was built for Franz Karl von Ballestrem, a politician of the Catholic Party and President of the Reichstag. The building was designed in 1898 by Albert Grau, a well-known architect from Wrocław, who used the remains of earlier constructions, including 18th-century fortifications. During WWI, the palace interiors were partly converted into flats made available to people in a difficult situation. After WWII, the building first housed the Security Office, and then council flats, which resulted in partial destruction of the original arrangement of rooms and devastation of the interior design. In 1997 the edifice was inscribed in the Register of Historic Monuments. In 2014, the current owner of the palace began its renovation and expansion, which restored the building’s former splendour. The richly-ornamented façades from the side of ul. Włodkowica and the garden, including the historic sculpture of St. Hedwig and the stone coat of arms of the Ballestrems, were renovated. Inside, the original door frames and part of the floors were kept while the moulding and period tiles in the bathrooms were reconstructed. In the magnificent stairwell, the wrought iron stair balustrade and red terrazzo steps were restored to their original state. The charm and prestige of the historic architecture of the former Ballestrems’ palace combined with modern furnishings make the building an ideal place for the seat of a club and a restaurant. The original ceiling in the basement and the old brick walls create a unique atmosphere in the interiors of the club, while the space on the ground floor, full of light and opening up to the terrace and garden, is the perfect spot for a gourmet restaurant. These spaces are accompanied by high-standard offices located on the higher floors. Coupled with over 110-year long history of the meticulously restored former Ballestrems’ Palace, the resulting venue becomes an exceptional place where tradition overlaps modernity. Its additional asset is the location near the Old Town Promenade – a green belt near the moat around the Old Town. It is one of the favourite walking areas of Wrocław dwellers. The restaurant with its 19th-century ceiling boasts a terrace with a view of the garden. The club with auxiliary spaces in the basement has a separate entrance and independent access to the garden. Its ceiling, just like the restaurant’s, is also original.
In 2014, the current owner of the palace began its renovation and expansion, which restored the building’s former splendour. The richly-ornamented façades from the side of ul. Włodkowica and the garden, including the historic sculpture of St. Hedwig and the stone coat of arms of the Ballestrems, were renovated. Inside, the original door frames and part of the floors were kept while the moulding and period tiles in the bathrooms were reconstructed. In the magnificent stairwell, the wrought iron stair balustrade and red terrazzo steps were restored to their original state.