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Katowice, Poland
1 of 18
Unikato - a corner building and spatial dominant

Unikato supposed to stand in the center of Katowice - once a dynamically developing industrial city. The testimony of that era are the impressive modernist buildings. Today, the city is experiencing a demographic crisis and suffers from suburbanization. There is a lack of new residential buildings, and the city is subordinated to car traffic generated by people coming here every day to work from the sprawling suburbs. Unikato is to be an impulse to reverse this negative trend and to breathe new life into the area.

The project budget was extremely low. The investor provided funds only for a cheap finish - styrofoam, plaster, white plastic windows - and for the balconies, which were to be a storage space for small apartments.

Modernist buildings of Katowice, once bright, for many years exposed to the smog, gradually got dirty and became almost black. Their white windows always contrast with this blackness. This observation became an inspiration for the project.

We took from the neighboring pre-war building:

  • dirty plaster color,
  • pedestal in the basement, typical for the surrounding buildings, which turns up to be the fence between Unikato and the free-standing nieghbouring villa
  • balcony motif in relation to the window.Full balustrade covers the exit, thanks to which all the windows appear square. The balcony becomes an extension of the apartment, at the same time providing privacy, which residents quickly appreciated using it for recreation or storage. Thanks to the full balustrades, the building maintains consistency, and the objects kept on the balconies do not disfigure the area.

The balconies arranged in the same direction on all facades, along with position shifted in relation to the irregular outline of the building, creates a characteristic silhouette, which is the dominant feature at the end of the quarter. Importantly, the characteristic composition of balconies is not only a formal treatment. On the eastern facade, balconies adjoining the wall with the shorter side and sticking out far beyond the building outline catch much more of the southern light.

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kwkpromes, January 15th, 2020
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