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Architecture

Diffusion Studio makes some noise about Wysepka in Gdańsk

The famous “Wysepka” area is one of the most amazing yet neglected sites in Wrzeszcz, the shopping and business districts of Gdańsk. Sandwiched between two split lanes of Grunwaldzka, the main high street in the city, this peculiar plot of land spans over 300 meters while being about 50 meters wide in its widest point. It is basically a derelict fragment of 19th century urban tissue, cut off from the surrounding areas in the 1960s in the process of modernizing and widening of Grunwaldzka.

The site features some late 19th century housing with the remains of the original street layout still visible between them, few later post-war random office buildings, a tram line, a semi-buried stream and a massive amount of utter mess. In spite of its central location, it is virtually inaccessible for the local traffic, neither car nor pedestrian.

I have chosen this messy site back in 2004 as the spot for my MA diploma design while studying Architecture on the University of Gdańsk. When I eventually came up with my final proposal some 18 months later, there were both lovers and haters of the vision. Essentially, what I have suggested was to convert the site into a bit wilder version of TATE Modern (roughly similar in size), with the tram line going right through the museum space, and 270-meter long, 5-storey high LED wall, shining across the road onto a dull, commercial façade of a massive shopping mall nearby.

The design received some recognition from the mayor of Gdańsk in 2007, but back then there where more urgent local planning issues than discussing the future of this part of Wrzeszcz, so the debate has eventually died out.

Now it is changing – some local groups have decided it is a good moment to initiate a serious discussion about what should be done with Wysepka, and are inviting people to send in their views and visions. I have decided it is a good moment to try and remind the community about the design I have created over 4 years ago, hoping that it might become an inspiration in the debate and a strong voice for quality public space in Polish cities, which are in desperate need for it.

Therefore, I have started a new microsite Wizja dla Wysepki, presenting my original MA design with some fresh commentary and explanation. It is all in Polish, however the rich graphics and clear visual language should make the project accessible for anyone.

You can also see the main publication right here:

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