Interview with Projekt Praga

Interview with Projekt Praga
Emergency Room Pavilion by Projekt Praga

Working out of the Soho Factory, a converted factory of offices and studios for creative firms on Warsaw’s right bank, Marcin Garbacki and Karolina Tunajek make up the young architectural firm Projekt Praga. Their interests include stripping down buildings to a state ready for a refit, at which point Garbacki and Tunajek then work on designing the cleaned up interiors for a new purpose.

Co-founder Marcin Garbacki speaks to CCity about Projekt Praga and its work:

How and when did Projekt Praga start up?

We started our own practice in summer 2010, when we got the commission to design a number of space interventions on the

post-industrial areas of Minska street in Warsaw, now called Soho Factory.

How did the 2010 commission come about? Was it the result of an open competition?

The 2010 commission came as a result of Marcin Garbacki’s former work focused on the idea of transforming the postindustrial site of the Polish Optical Company in Warsaw Praga into new cultural and residential lofts space. The new owner of the post-industrial areas of Minska street in Warsaw appreciate this work and invited us to work on his site.

The project of the new space of Leto art gallery and the Piktogram magazine was one of the revitalizations made on this site. This project gave us new clients, probably because they liked the space we created.

What had you been doing before that?

Before we started our own practice we were working many years in the architectural office Fiszer Atelier 41 in Warsaw. It is an office of Polish/French architect Stanislaw Fiszer. We were working on many projects of which the main projects was renovation and transformation of Kubicki Arcades to the main

entrance to the Royal Castle in Warsaw, and multifunctional project in Gdynia consisting of three buildings: theater, mediateque , city art gallery and public town square between the buildings.

What do you get out of working together? What keeps you together?

Marcin Garbacki: The first thing is we simply like to work together. The second – we have similar space sensibility. And although we think and create in various ways, we have great

understanding, which lets us sum our different points of view, creating a new quality.

What would you say all of your projects have in common?

The leitmotif of our work is revitalization and the dialogue between past and the present. We design buildings of various

sizes and functions, interiors and intimate public spaces. We work for both the private and public investors.

You’ve said elsewhere that finding “the original character of a degraded space is the starting point for the question about what contemporary elements can be added to it.” How do you go about finding the original character of a degraded space?

This sentence explains mainly the revitalization project in postindustrial zone at Minska street in Warsaw. The existing buildings have been extensively reconstructed over the years, often in a quite barbaric manner. For this reason, the first

task is to “clean” them spatially, to restore their original character and find out how they were designed. The second task is to adapt them to a new function.

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