Dzielnica mieszkaniowa Zaspa w Gdańsku. Marzenie a rzeczywistość


  • Iga Tomaszewska Gdańsk


In the article, the author describes the design and its implementation of the Zaspa neighbourhood in Gdańsk, built in the 1970s and 1980s. The subject has been condemned to oblivion for years, simply as Zaspa has been treated like the rest of similar, ubiquitous estates. Its image of a grey residential district consisting of large blocks of flats is the effect of financial deficits and policies of the Communist Block. But under the burden of concrete heritage’, it is forgotten that an inception of every living area is preceded by a precise concept of the future space. Ali designs are created in theoretical conditions, so they often result in futuristic ideas which are not possible to be fulfilled in practice, especially in countries under the Communist regime, like Poland of the time.

In 1969, SARP (Association of Polish Architects) launched an architectural and urbanistic competition for a conception of a new neighbourhood (afterwards termed ‘Zaspa’) located on a former airfield. The competition jury chose the design created by the local group of architects headed by Roman Hordynski. Their project was a great chance to rearrange the way of thinking about the low-income public housing. The winning authors divided the contest tasks territory into four smaller units marked with the first four letters of the alphabet. Hordynski and his team grouped blocks of flats in pyramidal complexes. The most distinguishing and quaint feature of the design was the buildings’ pattern close to hexagonal schemes which would create large green courtyards. The concept allowed to establish qualitative and valuable open spaces filled with small architectural facilities . The idea of the hexagonal system in architecture s inspired by the design of the new city extension of Toulouse-Le Mirail planned by Tomaszewska three members (Candilis-Woods-Josic) from the rebellious (as opposing CIAM) and influential group called Team X.

 On 24 July 1973, the official start of construction works was marked by laying the cornerstone for Zaspa’s first kindergarten. The beginning was promising. As the first neighbourhood in Gdańsk, Zaspa was planned in a complex way’ (the utterance meaning that all of the facilities residents need are built at the same time).

The time of the Soviet regime was a hard period in Polish urban planning. The design from 1969 was undeniably a breath of fresh air in that field. Hordynski’s design was closer to Western than Eastern layouts. Unfortunately, it was a wasted chance. In the end, most of the ideas were revised or abandoned. Nowadays, Zaspa is starting to recover with an unusual gallery’ of murals painted on concrete slabs.


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Tomaszewska, I. (2017). Dzielnica mieszkaniowa Zaspa w Gdańsku. Marzenie a rzeczywistość. Porta Aurea, (16), 211–238. Pobrano z