For two decades we have been witnessing the fulfilment of people's dreams about a house with a garden. After 1989, new opportunities appeared offered by the free market, the developing loan system, developers' entrepreneurship and Polish people's resourcefulness.
Let's think how the fulfilment of these dreams, Wałęsa's "taking matters into one's own hands" affected the shape of Polish cities. Why, instead of a garden city at least garden suburbs, do we have a city of fences? Barriers, gates, fences, plates of security companies and cameras proliferate... Who is fencing themselves off from whom? Why do we destroy our shared space? Why is the city spreading without a plan and a suburban house is in its current form a mere caricature of the original ideal of contact with nature. Why do we see advertisements for housing estates, the names of which evoke a vision of living in harmony with nature and trees growing in such an area are the first victims of the implementation of these projects. How do enclaves of people with a similar status separated from the remaining part of the space arise? Where and how do people staying behind the actual and metaphorical wall?
„IN-HABITATION 2012" is a project devoted to changes which occurred in contemporary residential architecture (including urban planning), their connections with the inhabitants' identity and progressing changes in the city's space and the gradually forming social stratification. The project includes sociological research and the preparation of an exhibition. The exhibition is accompanied by a garden installation situated at the square in front of the façade of the Main Building of the National Museum.
The project „IN-HABITATION 2012" alludes to the Exhibition of Architecture and Interiors in Garden Surroundings, which took place in Kraków in 1912, in the direct vicinity of the yet-unbuilt Main Building of the National Museum, in areas adjacent to Błonia Park and the Jordan Park. For four summer months in 1912, steel 1:1 models of craftsman, working class and farmer houses, as well as a suburban manor house. Their interior decorations and the appearance of their surrounding area were also prepared. Among the ideological assumptions of the exhibition, the conviction of the existence of clearly defined class and vocational stratification of the society and the need for adjusting the type and appearance of the house to the social status of its inhabitants. One of the main objectives of the exhibition involved the creation and presentation of a typology of residential buildings with a model character - available for copying. Referring the Ebenezer Howard's concept of the garden city, the emphasis was placed on single-family houses (excluding, for example, a bourgeois tenement house and tenement flats).
Analysis of contemporary times:
A hundred yeas after that event, which certainly shaped the architechtural picture of the Second Polish Republic to some extent (and indirectly also the picture of the post-war Poland), the exhibition poses the question about the contemporary status of the residential architecture in Poland in the context of transformations occurring in cities, especially after 1989. Kraków and its surrounding areas were selected as the subject of the analysis. For the purposes of the exhibition, he social and spatial problems were connected with places of residence typical of these processes.
1. A tenement house in the city centre (also a new residential building infilled in the historical tissue of the city centre) - it is an element of the gentrification of the city centre space.
2. A gated community - illustrates the growing psychological need for isolation and security, the "fencing off" phenomenon.
3. A housing estate - an enormous group of residential facilities and the heritage of the People's Republic of Poalnd, subject to the transformation process.
4. A welfare flate - illustrating the exclusion, marginalization and poverty processes.
5. A suburban house with a garden (a terraced house) as an illustration of the suburbanization phenomenon, suburban expansion.
6. A luxurious villa (residence) in the suburbs, often at a considerable distance from the city centre - the result of dreams about a single-family house with a garden and a prestige.
In the historical part, 1:25 house models will be physically presented and their interiors will be shown in enlarged photographs of their original interiors. The contemporary part will be the reversal of the historical part: the models will present interiors of flats and houses with their equipment. Photographs of buildings and their surrounding areas will be shown on the walls.
The models will be presented in the context of the analysis of living in Kraków and the notions of the house (flat) held by its contemporary inhabitants. The analysis was performed on the basis of research conducted for the purposes of the exhibition (interviews with experts, interviews with inhabitants of selected locations, photographic reportage devoted to the development of the surrounding area and views from the window).
The results of field studies will be presented in the form of photographs, information graphics and recordings.
The idea of the design project:
The installation designed by madusa group - an architectural studio emphasizes the "fencing-off" phenomenon, creation of barriers, which appears both in the real space and in the social space of contemporary Polish cities by setting up a barrier constructed of sections used to install drywalls.
The bases for models will be made of OSB panels and the outline of the historical layout of the exhibition will be glued to the wall wholly covered with the same material, together with the greenery in the form of artificial grass on which it will be possible to walk freely. The effect of genuine "entering" the architectural space achieved in this way will refer to the illusion of naturalism used in the historical display.
Organisation: Institute of Architecture, National Museum in Kraków
Curators: Dorota Jędruch (National Museum in Kraków/ Institute of Architecture), Dorota Leśniak-Rychlak, Agata Wiśniewska, Michał Wiśniewski (Institute of Architecture)
Design project: medusa group
Graphic design: Joanna Sowula
Coordinator: Iza Wałek