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Cracow – a former capital of Poland – is the city of complex history located between the hills along the Vistula river. Besides evergreens of Wawel and Old Market Square, the city is also equipped with four mounds (Kościuszko, Piłsudski, Krakus and Wanda’s).
The mounds are artificial hills serving as memorials or viewing points while being unique elements of the city topography. They are located close to the river, therefore Vistula joints them into one picturesque narrative. The site of our project is located on the southern riverbank, opposite to Wawel castle. It is occupied by hotel Forum – stylistically modern, yet out-dated monolith according to norms and regulations. The hotel is now serving primarily as the longest billboard in Poland, damaging the cityscape.
Our project “New Mounds” consists of four artificial hills – the mounds, that host housing, commercial, service and public functions. Covered in lush greenery, new topography provides wide range of public, semi-public and private spaces with astonishing view onto Wawel and Vistula. Specific volumes make it possible to fully use to potential of the site, because rules of the local masterplan only permit 10 % housing coverage of the site’s usable overground area.
Apartments in mounds are technically underground, therefore it is possible to shift the proportions of functional program to make the new estate more sustainable and economically, as well as socially reasonable. Artificial topography doesn’t dominate the riverbank, but with its greenery reconnects the green corridor of Vistula boulevards, Wilga river, Ludwinów estate with Planty and Zakrzówek. “New Mounds” project gives a chance to revitalize an attractive site in Cracow city center and meet the demands of contemporary city dweller.
Mounds could be the argument for defining Cracow as the city of culture, where contemporary architecture and quality of life, sustainable society and ecological aspects of design are appreciated and successively implemented.