New City Center
Isolating greenery zone on the side of the railway tracks along Białowieska Street; public space connecting the new center with the transfer hub and railway station; recommended building height 9–20 meters; harmonious integration of existing and planned greenery and water elements into public spaces. These are sample guidelines for the local development plan for the center of Hajnówka.
The guidelines are the result of a competition for developing a concept for the development of the New City Center. The competition has already ended and the jury has selected the winners. The last element of the project was organizing an exhibition and post-competition discussion. The meeting was attended by, among others, members of the competition jury, winners and representatives of the city authorities (January 10).
Let us recall that the competition was ideological in nature, i.e. it was intended to collect as many ideas as possible on how the area covered by the study could be developed.
– Study competitions are held to precede some planning activities or some complex investment activities in such a way that the investor, in this case the city, can see an overview of various possibilities for a given area. The summary of this competition is the formulation of recommendations for the local development plan, which, based on the most interesting and good solutions, can ultimately be included in the planning documents.
As we informed, the competition was very popular. 25 works were received from all over Poland. As the jury members summed up, the task turned out to be quite difficult. Analysis of the works showed that the proposals were diverse, but providing a comprehensive answer to the problem presented to the participants was quite difficult. However, a total of nine works were distinguished, which shows that the level of the competition was high and it was difficult to make a clear choice.
The court attempted to sort out what the participants proposed and identified trends, directions that recurred in the work. In such a way that a selection could be made from this overview. And so that it would be a pretext for discussing the future of this part of the city.
– My design is not dominated by any direction of indication in terms of development. I have designed one large square that extends towards the railway station. At the end of this long walkway is a footbridge that connects the two parts. Because what, in my opinion, is a big problem for Hajnówka is that it is separated into two parts by the railway tracks. Analysing the urban layout of the city, you can see that there is a lack of a clear space, a market, and this was probably the main need of this competition, to find a way to create a central square. Hajnówka is dominated by streets, although there is also a large and beautiful park.
The author proposed a square in front of the building of the Museum and Centre of Belarusian Culture. He proposed creating a very large space with a small forest as its central point. In this way, he tried to reflect the identity of Hajnówka in architecture. This identity is born, in his opinion, from the proximity of the Białowieża Forest.
There is a great deal of value in the work that has been submitted. This discussion that is taking place today is, I hope, only the beginning. The city is facing the development of a plan, which will later turn into concrete investments. The competition is the culmination of four years of work that the city of Hajnówka has done. The Academy of Nature, a key investment of the project, needed the right context, that is, to take care of the centre. We keep our fingers crossed that the results will translate into a good plan.
In turn, Councillor Jadwiga Dąbrowska expressed her appreciation for the focus on detail, on local tradition, shown by the authors.
We can only regret that there were no such competitions before and we could not get such suggestions. We have lost certain places in the city, for example, Wierobieja Street. Maybe it can still be partially recovered, but the buildings that were built in the 1990s spoil the image of this street. It would be good if this competition proved to be an inspiration for future architects.
There was also a suggestion that the local plan should include certain parameters for development, such as dimensions, roof angles, orientation or form of buildings.
Such things are defined. It is not that these matters cannot be regulated in the plan, that only the function can be specified. The plan includes all urban indicators and this is the role of the planner and the city as the regulator of shaping this space. It cannot be that everyone can build what they want and where they want. It has to be all coherent, creating the landscape of the city and its values, also for tourists. Of course, the plan has to balance the level of firmness of certain arrangements and the level of flexibility. The share of certain functions, for example, can be a flexible thing.
The works could be viewed at the Hajnówka House of Culture. Those who did not have the opportunity to get acquainted with them can do so by visiting the website of the project “Hajnówka ReNewal – Green Transformation”, within the framework of which the competition was held. In turn, the guidelines to the local plan and all the details of the competition can be found on the competition website.