Old Paper Mill in Konstancin near Warsaw

Dipl. Arch. Włodzimierz Mucha

Architect: Bulanda & Mucha Architects ltd., (BIM Architekci), Ul. Mickiewicza 32A/2, 01-616 Warszawa www.bimarch.pl Owner and Operator: Stara Papiernia sp.z.o.o

Old Paper Mill in Konstancin near Warsaw

Aleja Wojska Polskiego 3 05-520 Konstancin Jeziorna


Revitalisation - Return of Forgotten Past

Reconstruction of an Old Paper Mill Complex was not a simple recreation of an old historical building, following preservation theories and methods. First of all not much of the building has been left till today. After last fire in 1984 only walls remained. The place was only an eve covered romantic ruin dangerous at night. The more important task was to recreate a spirit of the place and give this important urban element of the neighbourhood its central, forgotten role. Real day-to-day life was introduced by new functions, commerce and culture. Preservation of industrial heritage and material craft culture of XIX c was also an important issue.
The Old Paper Mill complex was constructed in1836 -38 by well-known architect Jan Jacob Gay as one of the series of small factories along the river. The interior had contained a huge paper producing machines powered by water turbines from canal running under factory. In 1912 a low and very long brick storehouse was built next to the factory.
The main aim of the project was to integrate buildings into one complex. Modern material were mixed with old. Natural modern materials end equipment were used to play a role of industrial ornament, along carefully designed light.
Remains of historic fabric and equipment were exposed not necessary on their place. The industrial spirit was maintained and emphasises by modern technologies and design strategy of matching new with old based on harmonious contrast. The reconstruction of the complex proves that contemporary architecture quality may be created without destroying of historic issue.
The element of cultural heritage was recreated transformed and returned to the people of Konstancin.


The aim of the project was: (historical, architectural, urban, financial, educational)
• To reconstruct and restored the ruins of the historical complex of XIX c industrial architecture -registered national monument, protect the remains of the complex from further destruction after they burned in 1984, to save, preserve and present the industrial heritage of paper production (buildings and technology).
• Introduce the new program to the complex so it could become again a livable space; be open to the public and used by the local community after transformation to the new function.
• To chose and control the program so the business plan be balanced and the program which would in long-term returns the funds invested in the development by the private individual, the member of the local community.
• To show the general and local public that transformation of the surrounding historical buildings as a method can be an alternative to the easy way of demolition and creation of new functions lucking the historical context.

• The program of required technical intervention was established
• The complex was fully surveyed
• All pieces of technology were removed for replacement, reused or built in new places
• The functional program was built matching the commercial function with leisure, cultural and educational becoming an unique space for demanding tenants with special offer as well as attraction for the local community
• Easy system of circulation inside was designed as well as attractive communication outside (wooden traps, covered market space passage, exhibition space etc)
• Urban strategy was proposed by opening partially the complex to the village in the form of the entry square and create an effect of the small scale pedestrian street within the complex perimeters in and outside the buildings
• Water as a key element was exposed outside and inside of the building with the historical turbines as a real heart of the walls
• Architectural designed was based on the idea of matching old and new in harmonious contrast and dialogue old walls with modern architecture. Clear distinctions between treatment of old and new materials were made so it is easy to read the different layers of the complex.
• Modern raw industrial interior details were designed
• The materials used were limited in scope for achieving the effect of simplicity
• The industrial climate of interiors was intended
• The careful cost control procedure was apply during the design to match the given budget

The idea of revitalisation of an Old Paper Mill in Konstancin is not only a revitalization of the historical building but probably more important a creation of a centre of the town which doesn't exist and give a local community the space frame to developed their public life. The effect of this attempt is visible and priced by inhabitants. Old Paper Mill became their place, their centre, not only a shopping mall but first of all the place to be and enjoy the life of the local community lacking for decades. This is of course in sharp contradiction with the business operation of the centre but everybody seems to enjoy the situation, even the developer who happens to be also an inhabitant of the town.
In the future the second phase of the development has been planned. It will help in operation but it will also add new public function to the program both in building volume as well as in open public space in achieving new quality liveable centre of a quiet historical village of Konstancin. And turning once close to the public industrial zone later abandoned into common public space.

Dipl. Arch. Włodzimierz Mucha sarp. moia
Reconstruction of an Old Paper Mill
- Commercial and Cultural Center, Konstancin Jeziorna - Poland
Architect: Bulanda Mucha Architects ltd.
(BIM Architekci)
Arch, arch. Andrzej Bulanda, Włodzimierz Mucha
Colaboration: arch. Łukasz Stanaszek, Rafał Zelent,
Ilona Bitel, Andrzej Gomułka
Ul. Mickiewicza 32A/2
01-616 Warszawa

Owner and Operator: Stara Papiernia sp.z.o.o
ul.Wojska Polskiego 3 05-510 Konstancin Jeziorna
opening hours: 10-20 daily
Danuta Szaforz, president
Jan Wejchert, owner

General Contructor: Warbud s.a.
Jarosław Popiołek, president
Ul. Racławicka 146
02-117 Warszawa

Heritage Consultant: Robert M. Kunkel, Phd
Warsaw Technical University Dept. of architecture
Ul. Koszykowa 55
00-659 Warszawa


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