The new face of Opera Leśna (the Forest Opera) in Sopot. Results of the competition for young architects from GUT

On Friday, 3 July, the City of Sopot Competition for Young Architects from Gdańsk University of Technology was concluded. For the competition young architects prepared a number of innovative concepts for the development of the infrastructure of the Forest Opera in Sopot and the area around the facility. The awarded architects - according to the jury – ‘skillfully incorporated their ideas into the landscape context of the opera’, as well as ‘prepared attractive spaces for meetings and relaxation’ for both the residents and the tourists.

 

In the competition ‘Research on the development, revitalization and transformation of the city of Sopot and municipal investments at the Forest Opera - the concept of a multifunctional facility’ a total of 17 works were submitted. The competition was directed to students of at least the first year of MSc studies at the Faculty of Architecture of Gdańsk University of Technology, and the design work was to concern the entire infrastructure and the area around the facility, excluding the stage and the audience (which have been renovated in recent years). The works had to show how the Forest Opera in Sopot could gain new functionalities and usability while maintaining the most important one – that of the concert hall.

 

The competition is the first result of the GUT's declaration of partnership with the City of Sopot, signed at the beginning of June, involving the cooperation of both entities in the development and revitalization of space in the city through the joint organization of student architectural competitions.

 

The new face of the Forest Opera. Competition assumptions

The new development concepts for the Forest Opera in Sopot were to include the following functions:

  • events (concert hall for about 1,500 people, foyer, cloakroom, rehearsal rooms, dressing rooms),
  • sales (ticket offices, souvenir shop, utility rooms),
  • catering (kitchens, facilities, toilets for guests),
  • exhibition area,
  • hotel (accommodation for artists and musicians),
  • administrative, office and utility area.

In addition, all these functions were to be designed with ensuring the accessibility of the facility for people with disabilities and preserving the opera's natural surroundings.

– Forest Opera is a unique object on a European scale, located among greenery, surrounded by forest, and at the same time a cult place which is permanently inscribed in the history of international music festivals - says Magdalena Czarzyńska-Jachim, vice president of Sopot. - We decided that such a place requires non-standard solutions.

– Thanks to the detailed framework and guidelines of the competition, our students could further stimulate their creativity and imagination - adds prof. Lucyna Nyka, dean of the Faculty of Architecture at GUT and chairwoman of the jury. - It is important that such a unique facility as the Forest Opera can function and be available throughout the year, and not only in the summer. The implementation of each of the awarded projects of our students could enable this.

Awarded works. ‘A coherent concept’ and ‘displaying greenery’

The competition was settled on Friday, 3 July at the Forest Opera in Sopot, where the winning works of GUT students were presented. The city has allocated a total of PLN 15,000 to prizes for the best projects.

The Competition Committee was composed of: prof. Lucyna Nyka, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, GUT - Chairwoman of the Competition Committee, Magdalena Czarzyńska-Jachim, MA - Vice President of Sopot, PhD, Eng. Arch. Wojciech Targowski, professor at GUT, MSc, Eng. Arch. Andrzej Kwieciński, MA Beata Majka - Director of the Baltic Artistic Agency BART, MSc, Eng. Arch. Aleksandra Narczewska, PhD, Eng. Arch. Agnieszka Gębczyńska-Janowicz - secretary of the competition.

The jury agreed the following distribution of financial resources: 1st ex-aequo prize in the amount of 5,000 PLN (for two teams), II prize - 3 thousand PLN and 3rd prize - 2 thousand PLN. During the evaluation of works by the competition jury, the data of their authors were not disclosed.

1st prize

- Two works ex-aequo  were awarded:

– Eng. Arch. Adam Okuniewski, Eng. Arch. Kamil Ostrowski. Justification: ‘The work was awarded for a coherent concept of a multifunctional architectural complex. Particularly noteworthy is the proposal of an interesting composition of public space, which the authors have skillfully incorporated into the existing landscape context. The proposed communication routes have been connected with various squares that can provide users of the Forest Opera with an attractive space for meetings and relaxation’.

and

– Eng. Arch. Małgorzata Partyka, Eng. Arch. Monika Pergoł. Justification: ‘The work was awarded for an interesting concept of incorporating the idea of a central square into the spatial arrangement of the Forest Opera. The Commission also appreciated the proposed material solutions in the concept of building a multifunctional hall and skillful display of greenery from the interior of the designed building.’

2nd prize

the work by Eng. Arch. Arleta Cychol, Eng. Arch. Inga Banaszkiewicz and Eng. Arch. Joanna Borowska. Justification: ‘The prize was awarded for skillfully placing planned architectural objects in an existing green complex. The proposed concept locates the entrance zone to the planned multi-purpose hall in the vicinity of the gate currently leading to the Forest Opera. The set function was arranged in a block picturesquely built-in on the west side of the amphitheater, thanks to which the historic building remains a significant dominant in the forest landscape.’

3rd prize

was awarded to the work by Eng. Arch. Joanna Ewa Jarząbkiewicz, Eng. Arch. Gabriela Sara Grzanka. Justification: ‘The work consciously refers to the landscape context of the proposed area. The given utility functions were located in a broken architectural structure, gradually distributed in the landscape. The Competition Jury appreciated, in particular, the concept of the shape of the exhibition and museum building harmoniously fitting into the diverse area of the Forest Opera.’

What is going to happen next with the reconstruction and revitalization of the area of the Forest Opera?

- We still have a lot of work ahead of us - says Magdalena Czarzyńska-Jachim, Vice President of Sopot. - Student competition entries contain interesting architectural solutions and ideas for using the space around the opera. We will now analyze them carefully, because we are determined to give this unique place a new face. In September we will present a decision on the next steps, which will end in new quality in the surroundings of the Forest Opera - explains the vice president of Sopot

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