Shopping center project in the site of a former factory in Augustowska street in Bia造stok

Waldemar Sikorski

TK Polska Operations S.A.

The Galeria Bia豉 shopping center in Bialystok that is currently under construction in the area of Augustowska and Mickiewicza streets is being erected in a site where all project activities were based on the local zoning plan and on the requirements associated with the function of a shopping centre.

The provisions of the local zoning plan described the post-industrial land as degraded and devastated.

According to the plan, in the place of the degraded and devastated post-industrial areas, next ot the planned bypass, a multi-functional building should be erected a centre having the features and nature of a space identifier, with consideration for the direction s of exposure, diversified exterior design and individual functional parts, as well as corresponding with the local configuration of the area.

The character of the designed structures should refer to (through the use of quotations reminiscences and reconstructions, i.e. rebuilding) the historic buildings - structures with historic and cultural values, and not entered into the register of historic monuments associated with the textile industry .

Additionally, the local zoning plan imposed detailed architectural requirements on the designed centre, such as:

  1. A multi-functional set of buildings of a uniform architectural character, functionally diversified in height, with a number of stories interconnected by means of internal passageways.

  2. All the buildings should be arranged as a set of blocks with a particularly distinctive decor and colours, functioning as a spatial and functional landmark and referring to the local terrain configuration.

  3. It was required to pay particular attention to the architectural and material solutions used in privileged facades facing the surrounding public spaces, as well as to the view zones presented in the layout plan, i.e. the exposure directions.

The above requirements were to be satisfied through the use of quotations - reminiscences concerning materials used on facades, e.g. ceramic brick wall in a sandy-yellow colour with convex joints, architectural details, e.g. the cornice, plaster, mullioned arch windows, which are to be contrasted with fragments of modern architectural solutions that employ modern technologies and materials, e.g. large glass surfaces, external blinds;

The old Nowik and Synowie textile factor from 1900-1934 was located in this area, but unfortunately it was devastated, therefore the only historic building included in the register of historic monuments is the water tower built in this period.

Il.1 The water tower (in the design it was assumed that the tower would be used for security purposes. )

The majority of the buildings in the project site were in a conditions that made it impossible to use them as part of the shopping centre, which itself was to be an architecturally uniform facility as described in the plan that also contained a provision stating that existing industrial buildings, including facilities and structures of the technical infrastructure, that collide with the structures of the designed shopping centre shall be demolished or disassembled.

Il.2 Here are examples of the existing buildings that did not have any special historic values and were not qualified for revitalization, according to the opinion of the conservation officer.

Pursuant to the provisions of the plan, during the process of arranging the structures and facilities of the shopping centre the following fragments of the existing industrial structures were to be used following reconstruction or rebuilding, not necessarily in their original location:

Il.3 The brick side wall of the hall with a saw tooth roof, at least three modules.

Il.4 The open-plan, five-span hall with dimensions of 24 m x 46 m and 9.0 m in height.

In the area covered by the provisions of the plan there are also buildings of cultural value that are not entered into the register of historic monuments, such as the ones presented below:

Il.5 The structures of cultural value presented above could be disassembled for the purpose of the project, although such a step was not part of the project itself.

All the above requirements and the opportunities to operate within the site purchased by TK were the guidelines for the implementation of the project as an architecturally uniform, modern complex, without investing funds in revitalization of the existing, devastated buildings of low value.

The main points of the above guidelines were based on the following facts:

1.The cost of purchasing the real estate, considering the function that it could absorb, would be disproportionately high in comparison to the value of structures that could theoretically be revitalized.

2.The value of outlays required by the local self-government, i.e. related to the transport accessibility of the designed investment project and to the revitalization of green areas located within the project site, would further increase the investment costs, which forces the investors to make maximum use of the surface of the lot.

3.It was not possible to reconcile the requirements of the plan, i.e. the erection of an architecturally uniform modern building, with maintaining ruined structures of low value.

4.It was assumed in the plan that the elements of the existing land development would be subject to:

a. Revitalization in the case of the historic water tower,

b. Reconstruction in the case of the elements of the side wall of the hall with a saw-tooth roof and the shell-construction hall,

c. Inspiration, reminiscence.

The above points were fully accounted for in the design of the Galeria Bia豉 Shopping Centre in Bia造stok.

Considering the above formal, economic and technical limitations, it was not possible to revitalize, neither in whole nor in part, the structures existing in the site in question.

Editorial comment

The XIX/XX century factory in Augustowska street located nearby beautiful small pond was one of the most important and picturesque in Bia造stok. In 2005 most of it was demolished.