Local Activity Center / Marlena Wolnik MWArchitekci
Text description provided by the architects. The Local Activity Center is a project that aims to create a space that would be the focal point of the lives of residents and allow them to integrate. The architecture of the background, modest and blending into the environment, creating space rather than being the visible cubature itself.
The project is located in the town of Rybnik, in southern Poland. It includes 27 districts and their respective inhabitants still feel a strong territorial independence despite their belonging to the same city. The idea for LAC came in response to emerging negative social phenomena and the need to create a space for all cultural and sporting activities and social integration, as well as a kind of symbol of the neighborhood. The scope of the project should cover most of the districts, but initially three of them were selected: Klokocin, Ochojec, Paruszowiec. A pilot project was (carried out) built in Klokocin. Each place has its own specificity. The challenge was to create a universal building flexible enough to adapt to the different contexts of the sites. By twisting the rectangular solids, they blend into their surroundings.
The main structure is a building with a multifunctional hall. Just behind, there is an open space, a kitchen, toilets and a technical room.
In addition, a shelter was also designed in the same architectural style, forming a coherent whole with the building. This structure during the pandemic and the related ban on the use of closed spaces unexpectedly became the main meeting place for locals.
The two structures create a sort of semi-auricular space. They are based on a rectangular plan with a twisted roof plan. The roof also fulfills a utilitarian function through the design of the integrated seats, which can be used both daily as resting places and as grandstands at large outdoor events.
The twisted shape – seemingly difficult to make – turned out to be so simple in principle that it was made by local contractors who had never done carpentry work before. The rhythm of the glued-laminated timber rafters, stretching in leaps on one side and shortening on the other, creates a characteristic, twisted roof plan. The consistency of the material is complemented by the facade covered with larch planks, which turn gray over time, allowing the buildings to blend even more into the surroundings. The materials used come from local manufacturers, which has reduced transport costs.
Thanks to the involvement of the inhabitants of the area in the LAC development process – from social consultation to its management – they feel fully responsible for it. The use of wood – a material that requires renovation and “care” – has become a metaphor for the interpersonal and social relationships that must be nurtured in order to exist. Likewise, the building of the Local Activity Center, used and maintained by the inhabitants of the district to which it belongs, will testify to its importance for them.