Bringing a lake to life
Katarzyna Dzus (Studio Dzus Architekti)
Set amongst the woods and lakes of north-eastern Poland, the city of Olsztyn stands out for its unique environment and landscape, qualities reflected in the new Całoroczne sports and leisure centre. The local practice Dzus Architekt developed a major urban infrastructure project that would facilitate accessibility and offer a range of activities benefiting the local community. With its population of 180,000 people, the city stands at the centre of Europe and at the heart of a region known as the „Thousand lakes“. No fewer than 16 lakes are located within the administrative boundaries of the city, which until 1944 was under German control and known as the „Barracks city“ due to its high degree of militarisation. After the end of World War II, Olsztyn returned to Polish jurisdiction and sought to assume a new urban identity. But for many years the lakes, the largest of which is Lake Ukiel, were forgotten and remained difficult to get to from the city centre.
Today this outstanding natural resource has finally been recognised and an ambitious access project has been developed. The decision was taken to remove the barriers that separated Lake Ukiel from the city by demolishing the temporary buildings and fences and moving the roads away from the shore. The sports complex was built at a distance from the lake to allow the beach to be expanded, while natural materials such as sand dunes and wooden piers and terraces were used. The buildings were oriented perpendicular to the shore to offer views of the lake. Only the emergency services and sports equipment hire building is located at the water’s edge as a kind of „inhabited jetty“.
As well as a sports centre, the complex also houses a bar, a restaurant, a hotel and a lakeshore beach offering recreational activities all year round. The development has a complex shape and slopes down towards the lake by means of terraces and platforms that serve as a filter between the buildings and the natural environment. Roof gardens are used extensively.
The bar and restaurant spaces have large transparent windows that enable them to extend into the surrounding landscape. Large ceramic panels from Casa Dolce Casa’s Terra collection, chosen in an 80×180 cm size and colour Ash, make the spaces warm and comfortable and create a homely, hospitable atmosphere. In other lakeside relaxation areas, the Reverse tile collection from Floor Gres has been used in the colour Bone and 60×120 cm size. With a look inspired by cured concrete, it harmonises effectively with the reinforced concrete structures left visible within the complex. The interior design, especially in the bathrooms, was enhanced by the use of I Bianchi series porcelain panels from Rex with a Palissandro (rosewood) effect, warm colours and onyx veins. The I Marmi collection from Rex was also used in a 60×120 cm size and colour Gray, inspired by sophisticated natural materials, to create a visually striking aesthetic effect.
The project now aims to continue to redevelop the area with its rivers, canals and lakes, creating an interconnected system of land and water that will firmly establish Olsztyn as the capital of the „Thousand Lakes“ region.
Terra + Alabastri di Rex
80x180 cm, 60x120 cm