Team Representative: Katarzyna Furgalinska (PL) – architect; Associate: Michal Lisinski (PL) – architect
ul. Misjonarzy Oblatów 15/3, 40-129 Katowice, Polska
+48 501 619 883 – firstname.lastname@example.org
M. Lisinski & K. Furgalinska
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1. How did you form the team for the competition?
We entered our first competition together as students in 2004. We received a 2nd prize back then, which was a blessing in hindsight – it gave us a huge confidence boost but kept us hungry for more. We have been working as a duo ever since.
2. How do you define the main issue of your project, and how did you answer on this session main topic: Adaptability through Self-Organization, Sharing and/or Project (Process)?
The general theme of the site was “How to create a positive dynamics from a difficult situation?”. Having identified the area’s main problem we have chosen a very systematic approach. The proposed interventions and strategies were based on a new solid masterplan. Urban consolidation, eliminating infrastructural barriers, place making and flexible phasing were the key principles. This somehow traditional urbanism works very well with the site’s historical structure, which needs re-evaluation and tidying up. It was a deliberate choice of measures.
4. Have you treated this issue previously? What were the reference projects that inspired yours?
Cities and urban strategies were always subjects of our interest. We have been researching the issue for over 12 years now, developing and testing concepts through the years. Living and working in Upper Silesia –a highly urbanized industrial region that had heavily been affected by negative demographics and rapid deindustrialisation– we are convinced there is no one universal answer to cities’ complex problems. We believe, however, in good urban planning as the opposite to bad planning and no planning at all. In other words, the crisis cannot be an excuse for quitting all the principles of good design in order to gain some interim gains.
We are mostly inspired by the projects that stood the test of time and survived different economical and political shifts. For example a Manhattan grid.
5. Today –at the era of economic crisis and sustainability– the urban-architectural project should reconsider its production method in time; how did you integrate this issue in your project?
A city itself is a process. We can shape it or catalyse some actions to some extent but thinking about a city as a closed structure is long gone. Our project is a general framework for different actions: future investments, municipal programmes and social initiatives that may or may not happen in the future. Our premise was to create a clear urban principle that will be valid whatever future brings.
6. Is it the first time you have been awarded a prize at Europan? How could this help you in your professional career?
We won Europan 10 in Forchheim, another German site. It was in 2009, we had just finished school 2 years earlier and were regularly participating in competitions. Even though we had some significant successes at that time, we were not truly ready to capitalize on them. Another thing was the crisis that had just hit and things were not looking too bright so we had to put off our plans for a while. Getting a prize in Europan is a pleasant experience, surely, but you also need some favourable circumstances to really let it make a difference.