Local Activity Center / Marlena Wolnik MWArchitekci
Text description provided by the architects. The Local Activity Center is a project that aims to create a space that would be the focal point of the life of the inhabitants of the neighborhood and allow them to integrate. The architecture of the background, modest and blending into the environment, creates space rather than being the visible cubature itself.
The project is located in the town of Rybnik, in southern Poland. It includes 27 neighborhoods and their respective inhabitants still feel a strong territorial independence despite belonging to the same city. The idea of LAC came as a response to emerging negative social phenomena and the need to create a space for all cultural and sports activities and social integration, as well as being a sort of symbol of the neighborhood. The scope of the project is to cover most of the districts, but initially three of them were selected: Klokocin, Ochojec, Paruszowiec. A pilot project was (realized) built in Klokocin. Each location has its own specific character. The challenge was to create a universal building that was flexible enough to adapt to the different site contexts. By twisting rectangular solids, they blend into their surroundings.
The main structure is a building with a multifunctional hall. Just behind there is an open space, a kitchen, toilets and a technical room.
In addition, a shelter was also designed in the same architectural style, forming a coherent whole with the building. This structure during the pandemic and the consequent ban on the use of enclosed spaces has unexpectedly become the main meeting place for locals.
Both structures create a kind of semi-auricular space. They are based on a rectangular plan with a twisted roof plan. The roof also performs a utilitarian function through the design of the integrated seats, which can be used both as day-to-day resting places and as grandstands at large outdoor events.
The twisted form – apparently difficult to manufacture – turned out to be so simple in principle that it was made by local contractors who had never done carpentry work before. The rhythm of the glued laminated timber rafters, which lengthen in jumps on one side and shorten on the other, creates a characteristic twisted roof plane. The consistency of the material is completed by the facade covered with larch planks, which turn gray over time, making the buildings even more integrated into the environment. The materials used come from local manufacturers, which has reduced transport costs.
Because the inhabitants of the estate were involved in the process of developing the LAC – from social consultation to its management – they feel fully responsible for it. The use of wood – a material that needs to be renovated and “cared for” – has become a metaphor for the interpersonal and social relationships that must be taken care of in order to exist. Likewise, the building of the Local Activities Center, used and maintained by the inhabitants of the neighborhood to which it belongs, will testify to its importance for them.