KRAKOW, POLAND – Silesia University’s Radio and TV Department in Katowice in Upper Silesia has won the coveted Grand Prize at this year’s prestigious international Brick Award, dedicated to brick architecture. The Polish project, designed by BAAS Arquitectura, Grupa 5 architekci and Maleccy biuro projektowe, is also the winner in the “Sharing Public Spaces” category.
The renovated dark brick tenement building hosts the complete program of the Silesia University’s film school, which comprises a set of theoretical classrooms, offices and work rooms, a space for rehearsal and recording, a small cinema for screenings, a cafeteria, kitchen and a lobby, and common spaces for exchange between students. The rehabilitated old factory becomes the library of the university.
The unique architectural project extends all the way through the plot and generate a patio, around which all pieces are placed, becoming a social relationship point for the different workshops and classrooms of the new university.
This “magical new building” marries “Katowice’s history to the city’s future,” says the project proposal. “The architects show how a city center building can be innovative and, at the same time, a guardian and interpreter of the past.
“The dark and stained brick is full of meanings that speak about the past and the Silesian coal mines,” it adds. “This is a haunting design and a pitch perfect setting for film students.”
Having won a number of awards in Poland and abroad, the building was nominated for the EU Prize for Contemporary Architecture in 2019, along with the first Slovak project to ever be shortlisted for the award: the adaptation of the former factory Mlynica.
For more than one decade now, Austrian brick maker which and the world’s largest producer of bricks Wienerberger has been hosting the international Brick Award every two years. Held for the first time in 2004, the award aims to put the “natural building material into the spotlight, demonstrating how exciting, exceptional and modern architecture using brick can be.”