The design workshop method has played an important role in OW SARP activities for quite some time.
In the years 2014-2017, several workshops were held, the first one concerned an area within Praga Północ district; they took various forms and covered diverse ideas and topics – from small, local scale to more comprehensive projects, such as the Warsaw Local Centres programme. Good practices involve inviting experts and vital actors of the process which may be initiated or enhanced by the outcome of a workshop.
The main elements of work based on the workshop system are as follows:
- tailoring the goal, framework and planned results;
- inviting members of the jury: experts, decision-makers, important stakeholders, people who exert direct influence on the implementation of the process within a given area;
- recruitment of interdisciplinary teams who cooperate with one another and with the workshop jury on seeking solutions for the area in question;
- joint work during the workshop;
- once the workshop is over, the jury (or part of the jury) submits motions and recommendations;
- publishing the motions and recommendations.
From the very onset, PragaLAB team has been planning to hold workshops dedicated to heritage adaptive re-use—a new method of adaptation implemented with respect for both tangible and intangible heritage of the place, and for the goals of circular economy. For some time, we were looking for a topic which would allow us to identify the problems and which would serve as a good point of departure for new proposals— an alternative to both investing public funds in projects with no possibility of return and commercial investment with profit as the action’s main objective. Such activities involve participation of the heritage community in shaping new ways of using places and areas.
Our choice of the Bakery reminds us of a story we learned thanks to our Berlin partners in the project. The story involved converting a former printing house to an art cluster and centre of social activities, today widely known as ExRotaPrint
Two artists—prime movers behind the project—noticed the printing house while strolling the streets of Berlin. They were charmed by it and decided that, if possible, they wanted to have their studios here.
Just like us—while walking around Praga in search of a topic for a workshop, we fell in love with the abandoned building at 2/4 Stolarska Street. Incidentally, it turned out to be an excellent subject for analysis. It is unique and at the same time very characteristic of Praga and its heritage. It is precious and attractive yet unused, and its future is uncertain. The interest it generates—also among people from other countries participating in the OpenHeritage project (for some, the two main attractions they remember from Warsaw are the Palace of Culture and the Bakery)—testifies to the fact that we have made the right choice .
We sought the solutions, based on the Bakery case, which:
- present the tangible and intangible heritage of Praga, especially Nowa Praga, in a novel way,
- indicate methods and tools for cooperation between the public sector, entrepreneurs and non-governmental organizations,
- provide financial stability within the principles of social economy,
- have a clustering potential, i.e. they can boost cooperation between entities already in operation in Praga and in Warsaw,
- respect the principles of circular economy.
The Bakery workshop had following goals:
- to identify the Bakery’s heritage values, both tangible and intangible; to propose appropriate methods of conservation, preservation or adaptation.
- to identify a community for whom the preservation and adaptation of the Bakery is or may potentially be of great importance.
- suggesting new use which will enhance the local, communal and economic potential. Pointing to the architectural solutions for these functions is requisite.
- suggesting model(s) for financing and—in the future—managing the Bakery
As always, this OW SARP workshop was not about choosing one solution which had been deemed the best, but rather about debating the options, presenting novel approaches and solutions, ideas and opinions. In the future, its outcome may serve as an inspiration for the City of Warsaw as well as for other entities which are already present or which would like to start operating in Praga.
A group of specialists and people associated with Praga joined the workshop.
The jury, whose tasks were: to consult the workshop’s rules and regulations, to evaluate the submitted applications, to present the two teams selected to participate in the workshops along with argumentation behind the selection, to participate in meetings with project teams, to evaluate the teams’ proposals, to give opinions on the proposals, to submit remarks and comments, to participate in developing the workshop’s rundown:
Dominika Brodowicz (PragaLAB),
Maciej Czeredys (PragaLAB, deputy chairman of the jury),
Małgorzata Dembowska (WXCA studio, OW SARP),
Marlena Happach (director, Architecture and Spatial Planning Office, The Capital City of Warsaw),
Michał Olszewski (Deputy Mayor of The Capital City of Warsaw),
Michał Krasucki (director, Warsaw Conservation Office, The Capital City of Warsaw),
Agnieszka Lizis (Economic Development Department, the Capital City of Warsaw),
Katarzyna Sadowy (PragaLAB, jury’s chairwoman),
Beata Wrońska-Freudenheim (Deputy Director, Department for Housing Policy of The Capital City of Warsaw).
The advisory team, whose tasks were: to issue opinions on the rules and regulations; to participate in meetings with project teams, to evaluate the teams’ proposals, to pronounce opinions on the proposals:
Adam Lisiecki (Praga Museum),
Katarzyna Wrońska (Economic Development Office, the Capital City of Warsaw).
Two teams (selected from 9 applicants) participated in the workshop:
mamArchitekci design team:
Ewa Kalnoj Ziajkowska (conservation), Renata Pieńkowska (mamArchitekci), Agnieszka Pugacewicz (DELab, University of Warsaw); cooperation: Małgorzata Borys (mamArchitekci), Weronika Kowalik (student of the University of Warsaw), Małgorzata Leszczyńska (Evaluation Centre), Jacek Sztolcman (Business Incubator at the University of Warsaw), Aleksandra Ziemak (mamArchitekci), Aleksandra Zimnoch (Business Incubator at the University of Warsaw).
Zaczyn design team:
Maciej Czyński (konserwatorzy.pl), Justyna Dziedziejko (topoScape), Magdalena Wnęk (topoScape), Rafał Kasprzak, Marcin Maraszek (Archigrest), Maciej Kaufman (Archigrest), Natalia Janek (Archigrest), Hubert Trammer (Lublin University of Technology).
Outcome / Publication
The design teams developed two solutions: one based on the non-for-profit principle and the other based on the not-only-for-profit principle. The values of heritage, uses and the potential impact of the new “Bakery” on Praga were discussed by all participants. For final recommendations look below:
One of the important conclusions to be drawn from the workshop is that the Bakery should not be seen as a “ball and chain” in the Praga transformation process, but rather as an asset, just like many other places in the district which may become a space for a modern form of work—innovative yet rooted in the past and the history of the district and the city. The Bakery is also a perfect set for an experiment—so far an intellectual one, but in the future also involving implementation, combining various actors and different resources to achieve a common goal. Among other things, it is possible and necessary to adapt and use historic buildings for contemporary challenges which involve respect for the environment, social inclusion and circular economy.