Project description

Written by Administrator
Thursday, 10 September 2009 09:14

Facing Impact of the Second World War: Urban Design in Contemporary European Cities is a title of Intensive Project realized in the years 2009-2012 within the Erasmus LLP founding [ERA_IP_7_2010/2 Agreement]. The application and the grant was prepared by Section for Public Movement, Department of Architecture, Cracow University of Technology.

Programme was initiated and is coordinated in terms of contents, organization and finance by Cracow University of Technology, e.g. prof. Krzysztof Bieda and Ph.D. Kinga Racoń-Leja. Project partner universities are: Delft Univeristy of Technology, HAWK Hildesheim ? Univeristy of Applied Sciences and Arts, Univeristy of Applied Sciences HTW Dresden.

There are 3 editions of Intensive Course planned, in the form of 2–week workshop for architecture, urban design and landscape architecture students. The first edition of the course was performed in 2009 in Oswiecim–Krakow. The next workshop is planned for 2011 in Rotterdam. The 3–year cycle will finish in Dresden 2012.

Project Goals

The objective of the project is to develop in students abilities to undertake urban design tasks within the broad context of issues beyond sheer urban composition, but relevant to problems and expectations of the community. Such issues may include: social conditions, urban history, local identity and tradition, cultural and natural environment, landscape and others. They may be instrumental to problem solving and inform design decisions. The contextual approach to urban design can be fully grasped through understanding of, and respect for, broad community needs, expectations, views and values and requires the ability to cooperate with external experts and include public participation techniques in the design process.

The contextual approach to urban design will be developed and encouraged with emphasis on one specific aspect of European cities namely, impact of the Second World War on urban structure and its traces in various forms. These may be sites of former places where events from the past are commemorated (e.g. Oswiecim/Auschwitz–Birkenau — course 1) parts of the city destroyed and — often — rebuilt without continuity of historic form (e.g. Rotterdam — course 2) or it can be war destroyed areas still waiting to be repaired (e.g. Dresden — course 3).

The project is aiming at students in architecture and town planning, including landscape architecture at BA, MA and PhD level at the participating institutions.

The courses will be divided in two teaching modules: analytical studies and conceptual studies. Students will be working in international teams. The activities will involve: field work, design workshops with representatives of local communities including persons with special needs, discussion panels, lectures and presentations. At the end of the project students will present and discuss the results. The works will be further displayed through exhibitions. ICT techniques will be used to communicate between all project participants, for the purpose of graphic presentation, including 3D simulations, text processing, multi–media presentations, and promotion of the project results.

The proposed project supports the concept of sustainable and responsive urban design and development. The issues and problems to be addressed are relevant to urban design and development management in most European cities. An important expected outcome will be, hopefully, increased ability of participating students to resolve complex urban tasks in a responsive, contextual way, regarding historical, cultural and social issues, and — in respect to indirect target groups, trough dissemination of the results — an awareness of significance of such approach to urban design. Further expected outcome will be concrete solutions and design concepts for the project sites. Even if not directly implemented, such concepts and involved public discussion may help to increase public awareness and involvement and contribute to better future solutions.

Oswiecim 2009

The first IP edition was a workshop organized in Oswiecim–Krakow, held from 19th September to 3rd October 2009. In the course participated a group of 60 students from CUT Krakow, as well as from partner universities TU Delft and HAWK Hildesheim, representing several nationalities, including Poland, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Singapore and South Korea.

During the workshop CUT Krakow was represented by following professors and tutors: Krzysztof Bieda, Anna Palej, Anna Franta, Kinga Racon–Leja, Bartlomiej Hominski, as well as experts Anna Franta and Jacek Czubiński. From TU Delft we have invited professors Eelco Dekker, Micha de Haas and Marc Schoonderbeek. Professors Thomas Kauertz and Michael Wagner joined the project from HAWK Hildesheim.

The initial idea of the Oswiecim course was brought by Barbara Starzynska and Hans Citroen, outside experts, promoting the city for many years. The workshop was organized by the team from CUT Krakow, under the leadership of Krzysztof Bieda and Kinga Racon–Leja.

Students were working in the city Oswiecim — Oswiecim Cultural Center and in Krakow — in the Department of Architecture building at Podchorazych Street 1. The workshop tasks included design studies attempting to formulate a vision for future development of the city Oswiecim. Despite the tragic history of the Second World War period — ?footprints? of which are still visible here and have to be preserved — all disputes in regard to future development of the city were focused on a positive vision of an attractive new urban environment — a "city of knowledge" responding to the needs and aspirations of future Oswiecim community.

The workshop projects and proposals were presented to and consulted with representatives of the Oswiecim community: President of the City of Oswiecim — Waldemar Marszałek, local administration — City Council representatives and Architecture Department, experts, entrepreneurs and residents, media. Particular attention was paid to involvement of and input from groups of special needs: disabled persons, senior citizens and children.

Rotterdam 2011

Workshop in Rotterdam is going to be held in the days of 19th March — 2nd April 2011. The organization is taken care from the side of TU Delft — professors: Eelco Dekker (Rotterdam workshop coordinator), Marc Schonderbeek and Micha de Haas, with the support of Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design, represented by Jeoren de Willigen. Among the experts are following architects and specialists — Paul Meurs (SteenhuisMeurs) Finnbar McComb (Stereo Architects), Koos Bosma (CLUE), Arie Lengkeek (Air Foundation), Jeroen de Willingen (de Zwart Hand), Mark Veldman (OMA), Michiel Riediijk (Neuteling Riediijk Architekten). Coordination of the content, program and finances is provided by CUT Krakow — Krzysztof Bieda i Kinga Racon–Leja.

Theme: Small Scale, Big Change
The bombardment of Rotterdam at the beginning of WWII erased its city centre completely. During the years directly after the war, a complete new centre has been built: a symbol of modernity and optimism. What was left was the zone that marked the border between the new city centre and the old city around it: the ?Brandlijn? (fire demarcation line).

Nowadays in many cities around the world, Rotterdam included, we see a tendency to design and build large–scale buildings that somehow land in the city fabric, seemingly in disregard to the specificities of the context. These buildings are intended to function like eye catchers but in fact ignore many important urban and social issues. The ?Brandlijn? in Rotterdam is a particularly interesting case because of the impact the Second World War has had on the city. Because of the devastating fire, as a result of this bombing of the city, a continuous line has emerged within the city fabric, a line that ?connects? buildings from radically different time periods. The ?tabula rasa? has not only resulted in a process of stitching modern buildings with historical ones, but has created a loss of coherence in Rotterdam?s city centre, a problem that even nowadays has a large influence on the ?agenda? and tasks of Rotterdam?s urban planners and architects.

Within this workshop, we propose to relate an investigation into the specific spatial characteristics of the ?Brandlijn?, to a proposal to intervene on several important locations along that line. By way of analysis and research, a proper insight is to be developed into the context of the ?Brandlijn?, including an understanding of the influence of politics on space and an understanding of the socio–political context within architecture operates. Our goal is then to challenge the student teams to come up with the smallest concrete intervention (meaning connecting design with actual fabrication and/or construction), which has the biggest urban or social impact.

By means of a mid–term and final presentation, a jury of 3 experts will decide which designs are the most successful. The students work in a zone around the ?Brandlijn?. Along this line, students encounter many different urban and social spatial practices, some connected, some disconnected from the city center, some of them can be seen as a (more or less direct) result of the 2nd world war, others are more contemporary city problems. The zone will be cut in parts, as many parts as teams, and each team work in their specific part with a specific theme or problem. The first days the teams make field trips and work toward a proper analysis within their area. A series of field trips, lectures and discussions will inform the students both on the local conditions as the theoretical context of the workshop. Aim is to formulate a problem statement related to urban issues in each area. In the second phase teams will design and hopefully build the smallest intervention with the biggest urban or social impact in their part of the fire line–zone.

Dresden 2012

The Dresden works hop is planned for 17th March–31st April 2012. The local organizators will be professors Conrelius Scherzer and Angela Mensing–de–Yong from HTW Dresden.

Theme: Paradigms, the Public & Potentials — conversing former military complexes, dealing with damaged buildings and qualifying low density post war areas
In the war the city lost much of its center and large adjacent areas of mixed use and housing through British and American bombing in early 1945. Politically centralised decision–making, ignoring traditional patterns of ownership, buildings and open space favoured the construction of representative roads and spacious and green residential areas. At the same time there have been discussions and changing paradigms of how to accentuate the post–war city structure by important buildings for public use. The bombing of the city on Feb 13/14th 1945 is debated in public today with growing intensity and polarization.

Research will incorporate militarization of society and urban development in the late 19th and early 20th century resulting in huge military complexes. It will also look into paradigm shifts and decision–making in the post war years regarding historic and new urban structures and buildings. Emphasis will be laid on recent development since 1990: Plans and projects of the 1990s suggested a densely built–up centre following the notion of the traditional ?European City? following the pre–war street pattern and building heights. However, the enormous investment necessary for the proposed dense development was not available. Still, existing pre–war buildings are underused or empty and only a few smaller areas have seen a more or less complete dense rebuilding, the most prominent being Neumarkt and Frauenkirche.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 March 2011 14:00 )

Latest news

Group 1's presentation movie in YouTube

Dear members of Group 1, we are pleased to inform you that the movie clip from your presentation has been published in YouTube in the UrbanWarImpacts channel.


Final Timeschedule

We work on project all day. Place your boards on Dropbox at 22:00.


09:00 Train to Delft - we meet exactly at the station
09:30 We meet our Delft students at the Station
10:00 - 14:00 We work on the presentation
14:00 - 18:00 Presentation
18:00 - 18:30 Questionaire, closing the IP, leave for Rotterdam
20:00 Rotterdam, Bazaar place - dinner




Dear Tutors!

We have the first meeting on Saturday at 7PM at Eurohotel Rotterdam. Than we follow the programme. Please refer to the course materials.



Dear Students!

You are accomodated at StayOK Hotel Rotterdam.

We meet on Sunday 20th at 10:00 AM at Schieblock. Please take your laptops and look into the course materials.

Have a safe trip!




Dear Participants,
we are very glad to inform you that our web-page is already working!  Please feel free to download necessary course materials.


This Edition's Booklet

Rotterdam 2011 Booklet