Brick Award 2020 Nominacja - Wydział Radia i Telewizji im. Krzysztofa Kieślowskiego Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
© Adrià Goula

A façade that reflects the past

Brick Award 20

University of Silesia Faculty of Radio and Television; Brick Award 2020 Category "Sharing Public Spaces"; Architects: BAAS Arquitectura, Grupa 5 artchitekci, Maleccy biuro, Photo:  Adrià Goula
© Adrià Goula

University of Silesia

Sharing public spaces - Grand Prize Winner

University of Silesia Faculty of Radio and Television; Brick Award 2020 Category "Sharing Public Spaces"; Architects: BAAS Arquitectura, Grupa 5 artchitekci, Maleccy biuro, Photo:  Adrià Goula
© Adrià Goula

Used products

Facing bricks, internally and externally

A façade that reflects the past

Different countries, different experiences, different ideas. Thanks to the international collaboration of three architectural firms from Poland and Spain, the university in Katowice has a new – but aesthetically traditional – faculty. 

Preserving the unique atmosphere of the Polish city of Katowice

Walking through the Polish city of Katowice, it quickly becomes apparent which of the city’s streets have been shaped by the coal-mining history of Silesia. They are lined with buildings with dark and stained brick façades, which bear witness to their past. Indeed, on an otherwise mainly empty plot of land, which was the intended site of the new Institute of Radio and Television at the University of Silesia, there was an abandoned residential building, in the style typical of accommodation for coal mine workers. Rather than demolish the building, the three architectural agencies – BAAS Arquitectura, Grupa 5 architekci, and Małeccy biuro projektowe – incorporated it into their design. Because, as they say, their aim was not ‘to create an iconic building but, rather, to complete a certain district of the city’. With this in mind, despite building something new, they have succeeded in preserving the unique atmosphere of the surrounding area and even bringing it to the fore. 

A lattice of layered meanings

A dark lattice of perforated clinker bricks now envelops the old apartment building, creating a large, abstract façade. Coal firing – now rare – lends the bricks their nuanced gradations of colour. ‘With our design, we strived to take a sensitive approach to working with the aesthetics of the existing building; it uses the materials and visual value of the building to create an abstract volume of brick lattice work, which connects to neighbouring buildings’, explains the architectural team. With 4,806 mof usable space, the new building occupies almost the entire plot, and also accommodates a central courtyard, which is a key element of social activities linked to the studios and lecture theatres of the university’s new faculty. The inner structure is lower, and the open space in the middle allows light into all the surrounding parts of the building, whilst also visually reflecting the shape of the perforated brick blocks. 

‘The aim was not to create an iconic building but, rather, to complete a certain district of the city.’ - BAAS Arquitectura, Grupa 5 architekci, Małeccy biuro projektowe

Simultaneously radical and sensitive

The sensitive and authentic way in which this large-scale construction has been integrated into the existing cityscape, together with the successful modern extension of the existing building, makes the University of Silesia the well-deserved Grand Prize Winner of the Brick Awards. The dark lattice of perforated clinker bricks is an uncompromising yet sophisticated solution, which significantly enhances the historic streets of Katowice and creates a bridge linking the past and present. 

Brick Award 2020 Nominacja - Wydział Radia i Telewizji im. Krzysztofa Kieślowskiego Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
© Adrià Goula

Data & facts

Project name: University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland

Architecture   BAAS Arquitectura, Grupa 5 architekci, Małeccy biuro projektowe

Client   University of Silesia

Year of completion   2017

Product used   Facing bricks, internally and externally

Brick Award 2020 Nominacja - Wydział Radia i Telewizji im. Krzysztofa Kieślowskiego Uniwersytetu Śląskiego

Facing bricks, internally and externally – Poland

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