HOW TO GROW THE CITY? / STANISLAW MLYNSKI
The shipyard in Gdynia was one of the most productive and important parts of the city, but unfortunately in 2008 the workshop was closed. Despite this, it still remains thought-provoking and inspiring. For 90 years the shipyard built 600 ships with carrying capacity of over 8 000 000 tons. Sadly today, instead of industrial tunes which were part of the city’s symphony, we hear only a tranquil melody played by the wind on hooks. Over 5000 workers and hundreds more from the companies that were cooperating with the shipyard lost their jobs. Nowadays over the city, “manless” cranes are looming, just waiting for a signal to start work…
My proposal is to use the abandoned shipyard and its substantial potential to solve current regional problems. There is a visible lack of high quality office space as well as unsatisfying housing diversity in the city. The region also has an alarmingly low percentage of reliability on renewable energy sources. Only 2.7% of consumption came from wind and water turbines.
The program attempts to bring Gdynia’s shipyard back to life while utilising deep understanding of its industrial potential, economic condition and social aspects. The Workshop will be used not only to manufacture wind turbines but also to make the buildings elements of a new district spreading over the post-industrial area.
The core of this project is modularity as an efficient technique of organisation and simplifying even the most compound and complicated systems. A great source of inspiration was the nature and build of multicellular organisms.
The cells of the new district were placed on an urban grid which was analysed and adjusted according to the number of users and location of public spaces.
The shape of the module gives opportunity to create a variety of structural arrangements. The element is divided into 2 layers; the external one consists of light panels insulating and protecting the interior from changes of weather. The internal one is made up of movable curtains. The floor and ceiling levels can also be adjusted to the space requirements such as storage, installations and interior division. The kit-of-parts construction consists of steel frame and other elements, and because of its size, allows it to be transported easily.
By using these editable elements and changing their position, users can easily create different types of spaces, adapting them according to their lifestyle and activity. This modular system gives flexibility in the creation of function. The same module (depending on user’s needs) can be used as a cottage, office, kindergarten or even warehousing.
All of the aforementioned solutions give the structure an opportunity to scale itself and grow. By providing the potential to build, connect, service, move and change the building structure elements easily, we create fantastic future metabolic opportunities. These kind of buildings can still be alive even after the completion of the design process and can be consistently re-evaluated.
To provide a natural and effective development of the structure, the project proposes a simple system of self-organisation.
In theory, all of these establishments sound promising, but to find out if this building generation is possible, potential users were invited to take part in an activity entitled “ How to grow the city?” which was aimed at structure creation.

The results were really astonishing. The modules were used in very creative and diverse ways. The types of connections and arrays of elements were impressive and even surprising. As the result of the experiment the participants received adaptable structures reflecting their desires. Apart from the inhabitants’ needs and expectations, the localisation and the context around Gdynia’s harbour was an equally essential factor. The available infrastructure such as old track ways and cranes were used as tools to transport and build an object. The building is surrounded by greenery to improve living conditions and create shelters for animals. Including users in the design process was aimed at encouraging their identification with this part of the city, as well as reviving their community awareness.
With time, architecture will adjust to local environment changes -economic crisis, users’ expectations or the need for fast growth. The proposed design allows this structure to go hand in hand with the on-going evolution of this part of Gdynia.

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