The author proposes to covert an abandoned factory building into a multifamily housing ensemble in an industrial neighborhood of the city of Lodz. A new wooden structure is inserted within the existing steel frame, establishing a careful balance between the old and the new. The individual housing units are distributed to create an alternating sequence of outdoor courtyards and indoor living spaces, with trees irregularly dispersed throughout the building complex. Spatial qualities unfold from the juxtaposition of the existing large-scale factory structure and the small-scale framework of the new housing units. A range of measures are additionally introduced to increase the building’s ecological performance, while foregrounding community-building via participatory processes, ultimately giving credence to the author’s vision of an “ecommunity” architecture.
The jury greatly appreciated the design’s vision to address both the physical and social fallout of the post-1989, post-communist deindustrialization of Poland and particularly welcomed the idea to transform rather than demolish existing factory buildings – very much in the spirit of the by now well-known maxim, attributed to Frédéric Druot, Anne Lacaton, and Jean-Philippe Vassal, “never demolish, never remove or replace, always add, transform, and reuse!” In this regard, the project was read as a manifesto promoting a discourse on the need to address the existing building stock of cities as a resource in its own right. While the jury argued that greater attention could be given to the question of renewable energy production and storage, members of the jury nonetheless applauded the project’s social agenda to rediscover some of the positive tenets of Poland’s socialist past and its collective communal spirit as lived reality.