Interior Design

“The Natural Building Center - adaptation of an old granary”

Monika Żywiecka
Academy of Fine Arts in Gdańsk

Project idea

Living in an era of hyper-consumerism, the concept of a designer's responsibility for the environment becomes crucial. The construction sector is responsible for 37% of global greenhouse gas emissions, causing environmental degradation that threatens human survival. Carl Elefante, former president of The American Institute of Architects, said, "The greenest building is the one that isn’t built." The next best option is an existing structure that can be given new life. The project theme is to transform an abandoned building into an educational space focused on natural construction. This concept is based on sustainable building practices.

Project description

A historic granary from the second half of the 19th century, belonging to the company Podlaskie Konopie, which specializes in the cultivation of industrial hemp, is an example of such an approach. In the past, the granary served various functions: storing sausage products in the attic, providing lodging during the summer, with each floor having a distinct function. Each of these functions was important from both practical and symbolic perspectives, making the granary a central element of the farm.

The project envisions transforming the ground floor into the main educational space with a courtyard and an exhibition hall. The first floor will house sanitary facilities, a kitchen, a dining room, and a reading room, while the attic will be converted into a sleeping area with traditional elements such as walls woven from hemp ropes. The sleeping area will be divided into ten double rooms and two single rooms, accommodating individuals with disabilities. Each room will be separated by hemp fiber curtains, creating a mixed-use space that can be utilized around the clock and reducing vehicular traffic.

The building will be fully adapted to the needs of individuals with disabilities, featuring wide doors and passageways, as well as an elevator. Kitchen countertops will be 85 cm high and extended to allow wheelchair access. In line with the concept of barrier-free design, the reception area and sanitary facilities will also be adapted. The space has been designed with the comfort and functionality of all users in mind, which is crucial in modern architectural approaches.

A key element of the project is minimizing greenhouse gas emissions by renovating the existing building. To illuminate the interior without altering the wall structures, an inner courtyard with numerous windows between the rafters has been planned. The central light will distribute natural light throughout the interior. The layout of the partition walls will ensure air circulation, reducing the need for air conditioning. A metal lighting installation will provide illumination after dark.

The western gable wall will be modified to meet fire safety requirements by incorporating an evacuation stairwell made from recycled materials from nearby demolitions. This aligns with the ideology of Urban Mining, which reduces waste and the carbon footprint. Urban Mining involves the process of extracting raw materials and resources from urbanized areas, aiming to reduce waste and repurpose available materials.

Technical information

The project utilizes natural materials in accordance with sustainable building principles. Partition walls made from hempcrete, a material derived from industrial hemp, provide a favorable microclimate and acoustic insulation. Hempcrete is an exceptionally eco-friendly material that produces more oxygen during cultivation than comparable areas of forest. The walls are coated with clay plaster, further enhancing the interior microclimate and serving as an acoustic insulator. The design process considers the historical value of the site and the concept of sustainable construction, demonstrating that it is possible to combine modern solutions with respect for tradition.

Copyright © 2024 INSPIRELI | All rights reserved. Use of this website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy, and use of cookies.