02 X INTRODUCTION
In the 1980s, a feminist group of architects called Matrix asked a question: “How architecture and cities work for women?’. Single mothers with children struggle to find themselves in society as a woman and as a mother. They face problems such as living and moving through the city, neighbourhoods, and even their own houses. In this large group of mothers, we can find women who were victimized and who decided to escape their abusers. Most of them have strong psychological trauma and are left without help from their own families. They try to have a decent life for themselves and their child.
Cities are full of people who struggle with different life problems. The proposed project is dedicated to single mothers with children who seek help and other people and families who live on the margins of society.
03 X DESCRIPTION
It took the form of a kindergarten where women and children, in the first place, can find protection and the lost sense of security. The essence of the kindergarten architecture is the wall. A wall as a barrier and symbol of safety.
It is designed as a waystation. The kindergarten architecture is based on three main ideas: the wall, the architecture of gardening, and the architectural haiku.
The wall represents safety. It changes its character, acting as a partition between outside and inside the kindergarten. As a corridor that is outside or inside communication. Or, as a whole building, represented as a whole block.
Nature is a therapeutic tool and is implemented in the project as ‘Architecture as gardening’. Those are elements of greenery that are symbolic and prominent. Composition, playing with elements, light and shadow, flooring, openings, and compositional closures. The ground floor is filled with different types of greenery located between free-standing walls. There is also a place for individuals or playgrounds. Those spaces are meant to stimulate the perception of inhabitants and their emotions.
Architectural haiku is all about small details such as the texture of the wall or the movement of light. Like in Japanese poetry, the perception of humans can focus on one phenomenon and forget about the context.
The kindergarten contains three buildings, each one with different form, height, functions, and accessibility. All of them are part of the wall. The design process began by creating a block of the green park from which the cuboids were cut and the complex was placed. The whole complex follows a strong axis parallel to the railway tracks.
The first atrial building is intermediary between the city and the kindergarten. It’s a place where people from outside can meet with the inhabitants of Waystation. It works as a therapy center that offers therapeutical, phycological help for people living in the kindergarten and people from outside who seek help. It is the place to run workshops, programs, seminars. It works as an integration place as it stays open for everyone who needs help.
The second floor of this public building relates to the wall and other two elements of the structure.
The second building is a pavilion with enfilade enragement, which allows to run different craft workshops. Women can learn new skills that can be their hobby or new work. The roof is accessible and allows one to walk on the wall.
The third block is a residential building, divided between mothers and children and social housing. The ground floor remains open. The building comes with three communication cores. The first and second floors are dedicated to mothers with children.
The main and leading idea was to create spaces that will provide privacy, which can be called ‘mine, mine own’. Each floor is equipped with laundry and common areas, giving the opportunity to spend time in more social conditions. The 3 to 6 floor is dedicated to social housing.
The kindergarten was supposed to be a place where, in the first place, traumatized mothers will be able to feel safe and protected. It will be a starting point for them and other groups of people who decided to live there or to come there to begin a new journey.
The wall will protect them and invite them to the new world where greenery, light, and shadow create a peaceful place to stay and work on themselves. Architecture in this case is a background, the society has a real power to help eliminate social issues.
05 X ABOUT
Apolonia is graduated in architecture at the Wrocław University of Technology. She has also studied at USP CEU San Pablo in Madrid and in Politecnico di Torino. Her master’s degree was obtained in 2021 and was awarded in national competitions. She gained experience in Wrocław architecture offices and is currently working at PROLOG. Had taken part in many architectural competitions and activities. She was a creator and organizer of the architectural workshop OSSA Spatium 2021.
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