Collage and Continuity

School of Craft and Design in post-industrial area in Cracow, Poland

This project enhances private and intimate nature of craft and reuses specific character of the post-industrial site, providing atmosphere that supports creativity. The project focuses on the relation between buildings, looking for the balance between the coherence of the spaces (continuity) and the individual character of the objects (collage).

Image work detail

My project’s location is a post-industrial area in Cracow: Zablocie. Its urban fabric: series of informal and semi-public spaces contributes to creating a lively and creative atmosphere. Proximity to the city centre, some important cultural and educational functions (Institute of Ceramics and Building Materials) and district’s dynamic character attract tourists, activists and entrepreneurs. These unintentional settings provide conditions needed for craft to develop: private and introverted but well connected environment. My project aimed to explore these qualities, introducing permanent creative function and to emphasise the unique identity of the area.

My graduation project followed my two fascinations. Firstly: craft and its relation to the city. Secondly: Zablocie: a post-industrial area in Cracow, which became the hub of creative movements and start-ups. I tried to answer the question how to preserve craft in the modern city and how to support visible shift from mass produced to personalized, handmade objects. Today it can be argued that there is a significant need of high class training for craftsmen to enhance artistic value of craft objects. Especially in Cracow, with important history of Arts and Crafts movement, the link between craft and design schools should be strengthened. Therefore, I made a decision to make the school of craft and design with various crafts taught to create an environment of interaction and exchange between students. During my initial research I observed craftsman working in Zablocie. This made me realize that craft is a discipline that requires a lot of privacy, focus and introverted environment. Analysed location with its typologies and hidden courtyards had many qualities that could be reused in my design: strong, unique elements combined in the informal, diverse spaces, that would support freedom and creativity. One of the aims of my project became to answer the question: How to translate these qualities and design a school of craft that would provide informal, private, introverted and creative settings? The rest of my researched focused on my location, where warehouses, industrial buildings, chimneys, fences and temporary structures create a patchwork of scales, forms, materials and colours, or a homogeneous whole. Two words concluding this research became guidelines for my project: Continuity & Collage. With the idea of reusing existing urban fabric the essential task of the project became to establish the relationship between all buildings and structures, and to define moments when collage and continuity happen between their elements. Every corner of the building becomes specific and unique, answering the question: how to translate the idea of craft into architecture.