Malopolska Garden of Arts by Ingarden & Ewý Architekci

Malopolska Garden of Arts
Malopolska Garden of Arts
Photo © Marcin Czechowicz

The building of the Małopolska Garden of Arts (MGA) has been realized according to a competition-winning design by Ingarden & Ewy Architects. The program and the initiative of establishing this new cultural institution in Kraków was proposed in the year 2004, by Krzysztof Orzechowski, Director of the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre and Janusz Sepioł, at the time the Marshal of the Małopolska Voivodeship.
Malopolska Garden of ArtsIt is no coincidence that the building was raised in the vicinity of Karmelicka Street – a street popular with students and locals alike – opposite the building of the public library, with the aim of ensuring its smooth inclusion into the “bloodstream” of the city. The building of MGA introduced new spatial order to the old backyards and ruined buildings in Rajska and Szujskiego streets in Krakow.
Malopolska Garden of ArtsThe starting point was a multifunctional hall, which was entered into the outline of the old, 19th-century horse-riding arena, used in the last years of its history as workshops and storage space for the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Kraków. The Małopolska Garden of Arts is a cross between two institutions: the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre and the Małopolska Voivodeship Library.
Malopolska Garden of ArtsThe wing on Szujskiego Street holds a modern art and media library, with multimedia books and music, while the section standing on Rajska Street has been developed by the theatre, and is equipped with a multifunctional events hall. The new hall – operating, as a studio theatre, conference room, concert hall, and venue for banquets and exhibitions – holds retractable stages for 300 people.
Malopolska Garden of ArtsState-of-the-art stage technology is present overhead: fixed on hoists and cranes to the steel ceiling girders. This allows dramas and concerts to be performed, and exhibitions, film screenings, symposiums, conferences, art auctions, fashion shows, and many more events to be held. Altogether, the space of about 4300 sq.m houses a theatre together with a cosy cinema with 98 seats, a café, and premises for the organisation of educational, art-related activities.
Malopolska Garden of ArtsHoning the form, the architects focused on interaction with the future recipients, which is why the entire spatial form of the symbolic, openwork roofing raised over the garden from the side of Rajska Street – though not functioning as an actual roof – is there to transport the gateway to the stage out onto the street.
Malopolska Garden of ArtsIn this way, the building delicately nudges passers-by with the skilful manipulation of the form, already at first glance giving the onlooker the impression of going beyond the borders of a garden, where culture is grown in evenly planted rows. Further proof of the sophisticated play with the space is the garden itself. Imitating flower beds, the equal bands with low greens are a metaphor of a garden: as much as the architects could afford here. A notable fact is that historically “ulica Rajska” – literally “Paradise Street” – led to the Garden of Paradise, which was later replaced by the developments of the Tobacco Works.
Malopolska Garden of ArtsArchitect Krzysztof Ingarden (collaborating with Jacek Ewý), claims that the form of the building is a contextual game between “mimesis and the abstraction”. In practice, this means that the building is by no means a simulacrum of the context, but rather draws inspiration from the code of contextual forms by making references to the geometry of the roofs and tissue of the neighbouring structures applied for the abstract geometrical compositions of the façades.
Malopolska Garden of ArtsThe building fits the scale of its environment perfectly by maintaining the lines of the roof and divisions of the façades in line with the composition and linear solutions of the neighbouring buildings. The final impact is the result of the designers’ sensitivity to signals coming from the environment. For example, the opening in the perforated roof of the garden was formed, especially for the maple tree that grows there. In recognition of its exquisite sense of spatial composition and creative form in historical context, the building was awarded with the Professor Janusz Bogdanowski Prize, for the best architectural achievement in Krakow in the year 2012.
Malopolska Garden of ArtsIn this place, the cultural life of the Kraków’s young artistic set will blossom under a shared roof. Modern ballet, contemporary theatre forms, audio and video arts, concerts, and all and any other artistic pursuits will find their home here. Together with the technical furnishing of the stage, the construction project consumed approximately PLN 47 million, and was co-financed from EU funds as a part of the Małopolska Regional Operational Programme 2007–2013.
Malopolska Garden of ArtsLocation: Rajska Street, Krakow, Poland
Architect: Krzysztof Ingarden
Co-Operation: Jacek arco Eve
Project Managers: Piotr Urbanowicz, Sebastian Machaj, Agata Staniucha, Sylwia Gowin
Project Team: Piotr Hojda, Jakub Wagner, Piotr Kita, Bartosz Haduch, Maciej Szromik, Anna Kula, Marta Brańska, Bogdan Blady, Krzysztof Stępniak
Co-Operation: K3 Pracownia Projektowa: Piotr Chuchacz, Benedykt Bury, Rafał Chowaniec
Interior Design: Ingarden & Ewý Architekci
Pracownia S.C.: Agnieszka Cwynar-Łaska, Marta Spodar
Acoustics: Inter-Eko sp. z o.o
Stage Technology: Przedsiębiorstwo Projektowo-Usługowe „OTO”
Structure: GSBK Biuro Konstrukcyjne s.c.
Hvac: TW Engineers sp. z o.o.
Electrical System: ES-System S.A.
Landscape Design: Land Arch s.c.
Area: 4,363.5 m q
Year: 2012
Client: Juliusz Słowacki Theatre, Krakow
Photographs: Marcin Czechowicz, Krzysztof Ingarden
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