It does not pay in Poznan

Poznan, like most Polish cities, is struggling for high-rises. Is there a chance for 300-meter high office buildings?
Andrew Nowakiem
Andrew Nowakiem

Why do we not have such high-rises as Wrocław?

The simplest answer is this: on the one hand, about five kilometers west of the city center we have Ławica airport and ten kilometers east of the center is a military airport in Krzesiny.The landing paths to these airports designate the areas in which we can have high-rises, and they also determine their height.Therefore, there is no room for the city policy to create the location for the high-rises. In short - everywhere we think might be a good place for a high-rise - it is impossible to build it.
So where you can build it?
The highest buildings, virtually with no restrictions about their height, can be build by so-called gates of the city - exit routes from Poznan and by the highway. And such plans, as well as project from Spanish architect has already been presented - 240 meter high office was to be built near to the "Rondo Środka" rounabout.Another was to be built by the Głogowska street and have more than 100 meters.
The second place of location of buildings, the height of which can be up to 120 m is "Wolne Tory".Almost 100 hectares located in the middle of the city can become Poznan City, or rather - to scale - Paris La Defense. On the terrains former occupied by PKP, we can fit a lot of office buildings, which can be directly connected to the future city ring road and the motorway.
The third area - Stubben Ring - is disputable. This is the ring of ancient fortifications, which at the turn of the century were demolished and the "Dzielnica Cesarska" was built in their place, in center of which stands the castle of Emperor Wilhelm. Many experts believe that there should be no building higher than 30-meter.But the castle tower was 75 meters tall 100 years ago. On the outskirts of the district, in the Stubben Ring, tall buildings were built, that exceed 55 meters, - such as the University of Economics building, which is 85 meters tall. The area around the Anders square is full of tall buildings, it is also part of the ring. Now they form a kind of crown around the "Dzielnica Cesarska" and the city would like to keep this character; tall buildings, but not skyscrapers.
What else could there be, but is not?
Since the 70's in Poland there was a fashion of high-rises, the height of which was limited to, on one hand, the strength of concrete slabs, on the other hand - yes - the reach of the the elevators at that time.For 5 floors they were not necessary and for 11 floors the sufficient speed was 1 m per second. Thus, for example Alfa skyscrapers in the city center have 11 floors.   Only later  it was able to create 16 floor buildings with appropriate lifts.  In the 70's, a furniture store was designed, reaching more than 100 m by the Grunwald street, but the project failed.   We also selected, by a contest, the architectural design of "Dom Technika" in the area of ​​the old zoo, with a height of 102 m, while neighboring buildings were up to 35 m It was not built.Even the icon of the city - "Okrąglak" - was to have 10 floors, but it has just 9.
Today, Poznan, does not want to have modern office buildings in downtown that are characteristic of architectural signs?
But it wants! There are two significant, I would say - great projects prepared by world-class architects. The first is the office of Dariusz Wechta, that can stand near the building of the University of Economics. Building designed by the Liebeskind testifies to the ambition and passion of the investor and could become one of the icons of the city.Everything is ready, despite objections were issued, zoning is made and construction project approved, all the arrangements are ready. Despite this, the investor still has not applied for a building permit. My guess is that economy determines the project, because it is not an art to build an office but it is hard to fill it with tenants.Or sell it.
The second project is a flagship office building at Kaponiera, prepared by the next ambitious investor, Peter Voelkel.His project was developed by famous Dutch architectural office, MVRDV, and there were few versions of the design. The building will be very interesting, and its height - about 75 meters - and the size will certainly arouse controversy. And it is good, because that's the point of good architecture -  that it is not to be light, but to strike.And we in Poznan - though not all share this view - we look forward for a "strike".
So we just wait or we encourage investors?
Both buildings are great example that the city wants these icons. If we clung to the provisions contained in the study that is treating the Stubben Ring conservatively, we could say that such building as Liebskind building should not be even created.The city, however, found that they want to have building like this and realize it is worth it. Then surely we would beat the Wroclaw Sky Tower. We also participate in the real estate fairs - in Cannes, and Munich.However, any investment must be profitable, it is investors who are currently building our cities.And both initiatives apparently did not "unite" economically - the investmnets are not paying off.
Poznan as well as Krakow is announcing that it protects the silhouette of the city. Is there something to protect?
Yes. But the silhouette is evolving, changing.Certainly, old market and its surroundings are holiness, there will never be skyscrapers. Alfa is to "preserve" because, like many modernist buildings, they are going down to history.This is a book solution, such as the Eastern Wall in Warsaw or in Stockholm. In other areas, much depends on the ambition and good taste of the investors.Unfortunately, the law does not allow for banning the construction of ugly buildings, and urban planners and architects beliefs often mean little in the face of ambitious investors. And we would also like to have something like Torso in Malmo - a distinctive, contemporary building, an icon of the city.
Thank you for your time.

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