Silesia University's Radio and TV department, Katowice, PL
The construction of the new building for the Radio and Television Faculty of the Silesia University in Katowice stands in a consolidated block in the centre of the Polish city. The project hosts the complete program of the film school: a set of theoretical classrooms, offices and workrooms, a space for rehearsal and recording, a small cinema for screenings, a cafeteria, a kitchen and a lobby, as well as common spaces for interaction between the students. The rehabilitated old factory became the library of the university. The proposal extends all the way through the plot and generates a patio, around which all the elements are organised, becoming a social meeting point for the different workshops and classrooms of the new university. The plot, mainly empty, contained an abandoned building which the client initially planned to demolish. The project preserves this existing building and adds an extension to it, while protecting the character of the old; it also includes a lower building occupying the interior area of the block, which confers to the central courtyard, the intervention’s prominence. The new design aims to be sensitive towards the existing building aesthetics and to take advantage of its materiality and visual values by building an abstract volume over it, made out of brick latticework, that applies the material of the neighbouring buildings. The new building fills the whole plot, but at the same time it hollows out a central courtyard, which becomes the key location of all social activities taking place around the studios and lecture rooms of the new university department. The external layer of the building is a ceramic lattice-skin consisting of prefabricated pieces with metal frames, vertically fixed to the slabs of each floor, to transfer the load to the concrete structure. This layer jealously protects the building, providing it with greater energy efficiency and a clear, austere system while giving it a unitary image and great aesthetic power. The representation of the values of traditional architecture, such as the respect for the city and the memory of the place were the main objectives of the project. The common bricks of the Katowice factories were used for the new façade and existing elements were left almost intact.