Abrahama in ‘Life in Architecture’ final
03 July 2020

Woonerf in Abrahama Street in Gdynia, designed in collaboration with NANU Architektura and Bartosz Zimny, has just been selected to the final of ‘Life in Architecture’ competition for the best developments in the years 2015-2019. According to the words of Dariusz Herman, head of the jury, ‘every few years this competition gives an opportunity to review Polish architecture from a wide perspective. It provides precious materials for analysis and comparison. Obviously, the conclusions do not refer to architecture only, but they say a lot about ourselves, society and the problems we face’.

459 proposals have been submitted in the current, 9th edition of the competition and Abrahama was the only urban street among them. The first woonerf in Tricity was completed in 2019, as a result of local initiative of activists from ‘Miasto wspólne’ association. Their idea, submitted in civic budget, received a record support. The woonerf is located in the very centre of Gdynia, between 10 Lutego and Batorego Street. The design was developed on a basis of a winning entry in a student competition, prepared by M. Bazylko and T.Jażdżewski – the main graphic pattern of the paving was inspired by the detail from the staircase of a modern tenement house. Despite a limited budget and a requirement to replace underground infrastructure, a neglected street, which used to serve as inner city area parking, became a lively area, pedestrian and cyclist friendly. New bars and bistros have opened immediately upon completion of construction works. The design is modest, using common materials in a limited palette, which enables continuation in the future since the street runs through the entire city centre. The pattern and entire geometry is based on a concrete paver’s module, therefore cuts have been avoided. Cut grey granite provides tactile finish. The number of parking places has been significantly reduced, and the amount of greenery increased. 20km/h speed limit and priority for pedestrians and cyclists is a rule along the entire street. The space is fully accessible and natural slope of the street has been used to provide level entry to the shops with entrances located on different levels. The project proves, that even low budget developments can permanently and positively change the image of the city in an inner city, historic context.