Katowice: Mining Site Redesigned

Spodek (on the left, behind the to-be-demolished skyscraper) + JEMS’ 236m long congress hall covered in green + NOSPR to the right © Miasto Katowice

KWK Katowice-Kleofas in the north of Katowice, the capital of Silesia, is over 1km long and several hundred meters wide. The historical mining site from 1840 was shut down in 2004. The city envisioned its new (green) image and re-adapted the postindustrial area into a site for arts, architecture and cultural activity. Accordingly, three new buildings open in 2014/15. Following the path from the west, the visitor passes by Rondo Sztuki (the gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Katowice, built in 2007) and Spodek (the multipurpose ‘science-fiction’ icon of the 1960s), to reach JEMS architects‘ congress center, Tomasz Konior’s NOSPR concert hall for the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Silesia museum by architects Riegler Riewe. The unique design embraces the city’s vision as a prestigious cultural hub of outstanding artistic ventures. simultaneously, the site challenges the creation of urban space within the vast scale of modernist postwar planning. In close distance to the center, questions arise if the newly founded ‘culture-axis’ induces an interwoven urban tissue and interrelates with neighboring institutions like eg. the university? Will the site boost creative economies and artistic exchange and what are the future regional goals?

See also my article on Architektur Aktuell regarding Riegler Riewe’s Silesia Museum!

Silesia Museum by Riegler Riewe © Miasto Katowice