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The anniversary 25th Jewish Culture Festival in Cracow celebrated Kazimierz – the Jewish quarter of Cracow – as well as other Jewish districts from around the world. Following the theme, BUDCUD designed a temporary public space in one of a few empty squares in the district.
Noticing the fact that the potentially civic squares of Kazimierz are all occupied by cars, monuments or commercial activities we decided to create the FKŻ Quarter – an architectural device for bringing social life to the site. It was a temporary public urban situation created by multiple objects organized around a central elevated square.
The FKŻ Quarter was located on the back of the Old Synagogue, at Dajwor Street, where no one goes, but tourist buses park. The site – green lawn with a natural slope – is a secret local gem, waiting to be brought to life. With a temporary program the location was made public and used by local community and tourists.
The FKŻ Quarter depicted architecture hidden in local circumstances with its vernacular roofscape, frames for social engagement and spontaneous behavior, linking the commercial and the gratuitous. A petite urban situation was introduced, where different volumes surrounded the central platform, that transformed into a stage, dance floor, classroom or a cafe. Three staircases – benches, a ramp and a table tennis zone complemented three houses, operating as a social library, Cheder cafe and Gelada graphic studio from Tel Aviv.
All the structure was made of wooden beams and thick plywood plates. The houses were finished with natural plywood and transparent corrugated plastic plates, filtering the bright color of yellow floor. Transparent walls and roofs provided natural light inside, but also manifested the functions of singular volumes, which during night concerts became eye-catching urban lighthouses and expressive scenographies.
The FKŻ Quarter rendered a possibility of social engagement by providing an architectural frame in a forgotten public square. The design became a tool of living better in the city, challenging the possibilities of using the space.