Viewing platform of Wola Krogulecka

Title:  Viewing platform of Wola Krogulecka
Location: Limanowa, Poland
Office: 55Architekci
Authors: Wojciech Świątek, Anna Szewczyk-Świątek
Category: Collective Places
Photos: Marcin Rola

The scenically attractive localization of the village Wola Krogulecka influenced the decision concerning the construction of a viewing point there. Initially there arose a plan to construct a viewing tower on the selected plot; whereby a 20 m high wooden construction, covered with a hip roof, was to be erected in the place. Yet, after a site inspection and a careful analysis of the local conditionings, the former Zoning Approval was abandoned, due to the fact that the selected building plot was offering an all-round view and the erection of a tower construction there would in no way have increased the already immense attractiveness of the site. It was suggested that instead of a tower, a spiral platform whose form would underscore the localization of its situation on a tourist trail, should be built there. The suggested structure emphasizes the continuum of the walking trail; it does not interrupt its course but creates a sort of culmination point. In this way, the need for movement and completion of a full circle, thanks to which one’s attention is not focused on a single point, but on a sequence of points, is formally emphasized. Thus, focusing one’s attention of the entire surroundings, proves to be one of the most important features of this form. Directing the viewer’s eyesight to the surrounding terrain also plays an important role in shaping his awareness of the condition of the local environment and manifestations of cultural activity in the area.

In rural areas, a public space fulfills quite a different role than in cities. Such places should emphasize the local natural and cultural values and should create conditions favorable towards limiting the rural sprawl. Wola Krogulecka itself lacks a central space. It was once the local leaders had noticed this fact that they finally admitted that there is an urgent need to create public space. The selection of plot was the result of a consensus reached between the local community and the local district authorities (“central space”, in fact, situated on the peripheries of the village).
After nearly two years since the realization of the project, one may conclude that it fulfills the hopes that had initially been associated with it: the platform operates as a public space and continues to enjoy unabated popularity constituting a tourist attraction and there is no social approval (both: of the local residents and the authorities) of building activities which could diminish the significance of the new symbol of local identity. The object facilitating access to landscape (also to persons with restricted mobility or with prams), perceived by many as superfluous, turned out to be immensely popular, particularly among groups which so far had little opportunity to stay out in the open landscape. While looking for the sense of the in-between city and planning its improvement, it is worth remembering the fact that accessible public spaces, highlighting the local culture and restricting the phenomenon of sprawl, improve the quality of life of their inhabitants.