The Port of Gdansk is about to become more beautiful
The Port of Gdansk Authority is implementing a visual enhancement project, i.e. improvement of the appearance of the areas around the entrance to the port. A ceremonial presentation of the investment planned by the PGA was organised on 16 February 2017 at the Port Master's Office at Gdansk's Port Polnocny. The results of the project should please not just the port's stakeholders, but also Gdansk's inhabitants and tourists.
In 2016, the winners of the architectural design competition organised by the Port of Gdansk Authority and the Association of Polish Architects, "Wybrzeze" Division, were announced. The competition task was to develop a concept for the visual enhancement of the Martwa Wisla waterfronts along with a concept for the redevelopment of designated waterside zones at the Port of Gdansk. The winners of the competition included young architects from three Gdansk studios: Restudio, Studio R, and Midi. In their project, they designed theatre-style vantage points, and a leisure area in front of the Port Master's Office with a view of the ships entering the port. The central element of the concept was a grass-covered mound at the entrance to the port, on top of which an illuminated "Port Gdansk" (Port of Gdansk) sign was planned.
However, the new PGA board appointed after the winners were announced decided to give the project a broader scope, in particular in functional terms. The aim was to add an element which would stimulate social and cultural activity in this part of the port. Something which would encourage Gdansk's inhabitants and tourists to visit. "In the opinion of the new board of the PGA, the previous concept seemed to us to raise concerns that the spot created here would not be visited by the city's inhabitants and the port's enthusiasts as often as we would like it to be. There was also a risk of vandalism, in particular in autumn and winter, when the weather doesn't encourage long walks," says Lukasz Greinke, President of the Board of the Port of Gdansk Authority. "Adding some functional elements to the visual enhancement concept, such as a place for catering services, or the development of cultural and social events is a chance for this part of the port to become vibrant with life all year round and create both material and non-material values," he adds.
Instead of just letters - a restaurant and a terrace
As a result, the new board of the Port of Gdansk provided the winning team of architects with guidelines as to the modification of the project. Based on these guidelines, the authors considerably changed the original concept of the mound. The grass-covered mound will not just be a base for the "Port Gdansk" sign. In accordance with the new project, it will house a multifunctional facility with a catering section and an exhibition section, as well as the information desk of the PGA. The walls facing the Bay of Gdansk and the port canal will be glazed. On top of the mound, a spacious viewing terrace will be constructed, constituting an extension of the nearby promenade along the shore of the Bay of Gdansk. The terrace will be filled with greenery typical for the coastal climate, which visitors will be able to admire while walking along the paths separating individual themed gardens. The modified concept also includes the installation of the "Port Gdansk" sign, which will be illuminated at night, in the form of a spatial structure forming a kind of arcade along the building.
Apart from the social and functional arguments, concern for costs is also important in the new idea. The designer estimated that the changes will only slightly increase the expenditure connected with the construction. At the same time, income from the facility's rental will be guaranteed, which will ensure an additional, permanent inflow of funds for this undertaking.
The guests present at the meeting at the Port Master's Office, including the Municipal Conservator of Monuments, representatives of the Office for the Development of Gdansk, the Voivodeship Office, the Gdansk University of Technology, the Maritime Office, and the Port Fire Brigade Florian, received the new concept of the visual enhancement of the port with interest.
The first effects of the design for the port's new image and buildings will most likely become noticeable as early as in 2018.