Paprocany Waterfront, Tychy, Poland

Source: courtesy of Tomasz Zakrzewski/archifolio.pl.

Architect

Robert Skitek

Type of Area

Natural lake

Land/water interaction

Sandy beach
Promenade
Terraces/ steps

Built Environment Types

Low built
High green

Scale of Impact

District/ neighbourhood
City
Regional

Intervention Scale (Spatial)

Linear development – multiple interventions

Project Types

Seafront development
Outdoor recreation
Public green space regeneration

Climate

Warm temperate
Fully humid

Urban/ Rural

Sub-urban area

A Meandering Lakefront Promenade

The town of Tychy in Poland sits directly on an extensive lake, separated from it by some forest.

In this project, realised in 2014 by Robert Skitek, a promenade formed from wooden decking runs along a stretch of the shoreline, facing out to the lake. It appears to be completely natural as the town is behind and out of sight. According to the designers, the concept is based on a meandering wooden promenade along the lake shore snaking over the lake and back again.

This design permits different views and feelings of space to be obtained from various points along the promenade. The pedestrian/bicycle path mainly runs parallel with the shore but where it runs over the water, the path dips to almost touch the lake.

On the promenade there are several unique elements such as an opening in the decking with a net stretched over the water, where people recline, and specially designed benches. In addition, there is a new sandy beach and outdoor gym.

The materials, mainly natural ones, were selected to emphasise the natural character of the site and landscape. Part of the site was covered with specially shaped landforms planted with grass. The promenade, benches and railings are all made of softwood.

Hard surfaces such as bike parking and areas under the gym equipment were constructed from water permeable mineral aggregates. Steel beams were attached to concrete piles driven into the floor of the lake to support the promenade over the water. All illumination is by energy-saving LED lights.

Visibility and Openness

Partly enclosed
Partly contained

Perception and Meaning

Place identity
Imageability
Sense of place
Place attachment
Imageability
Accessibility

Health and Wellbeing

Restorativeness
Increased physical activities
Aesthetic experience
Increases socialisation
Place affordance

This project is very accessible although it is not visible from a distance due to the forest behind the waterfront screening views. Design quality is rated as moderate but this is not necessarily an issue in the context.

As a very natural area the absence of references to cultural heritage is not to be expected, there are no landmarks and the project appears to be expensive to maintain (lots of timber). It scores highly for most aspects of facilities although some could be more accessible to disabled people.

The health and well-being potential is excellent, mainly since the area is set within a forest with no signs of human activity Water accessibility and connections are also excellent although water safety equipment is not very evident.

Physical activity opportunities are good, although children’s play is not obviously well provided for nor are formal sports – although this is probably not a part of the project brief.

Overall an interesting and novel project which has some unusual features but which also requires a lot of maintenance.