Inclusion Insurrection's KSENOfilia
I am currently finishing my second year of Masters in Architecture in Strathclyde. Before coming to Scotland I have studied in Poland at Technical University of Lodz, with a brief exchange in Dessau International Architecture school in Germany. After completing my first degree I took a gap year for an internship at an office in Sri Lanka and travelling around Asia. I chose Strathclyde for my masters to experience a different approach to teaching architecture and expand my knowledge beyond its technical side. I was quite skillful in terms of design software and construction, however, I thoroughly enjoyed the empirical side of the craft applied in this university. Looking beyond the building’s basic function, logistics and ergonomy was a new experience that I hope to continue exploring in the future.
With my final project I took inspiration from my personal life, basing its theme around issues happening within my country. Moving to a different, more diverse country I looked at Poles’ behaviour from a new perspective and finally realised the extent of intolerance and ignorance of our nation. With my thesis I hoped to propose perhaps not a solution, but a stepping stone to change in our perception of other cultures and religions, a vision of more open and accepting Poland.
The Inclusion Insurrection
The Inclusion Insurrection is an architecture movement created by a group of young architects, who oppose widely spread xenophobia and intolerance in Poland. Fed up with passiveness of general population and visible acceptance of prejudice and bigotry of the ruling right-wing government, they have decided to create a new, culture fluid style, putting a spin on the old motto of the first activist architecture group-modernists: ‘form follows foreign’. In order to bring acceptance of multiculturalism to the monogamous society they plan to influence Poles with the following framework: introduce -> familiarize -> normalize. Starting out in one of the biggest cities, with a now seemingly forgotten history of diverse nationalities coexisting peacefully, they plan a set of architectural interventions utilizing the new style, created through breaking down of the language of architecture. As a starting point they have decided to work with an anti-racism organisation "Never Again" Association, creating their new branch combined with a cross-cultural hub located on the main historical artery and current representative promenade of the city-Piotrkowska Street.
The proposed building - KSENOfilia includes the new office as well as an array of spaces encouraging dialogue and cooperation of people from all backgrounds, nationalities and religions. From a café with performance space, through a recording studio, to a multicultural content focused library, space will be provided to give voice to those excluded from mainstream intellectual and artistic discourse controlled by systemic racism. The form of the building was created through a playful mixture of different architectural styles from countries with considerable number of immigrants in Poland. Deconstruction and synthesis of forms, details, patterns, and rhythms led to creation of a design with a diverse and simultaneously unified identity. Just as all the styles come together in this one architectural piece, so shall all cultures in Inclusion Insurrection’s hopeful vision of the country’s future.
The History Timeline
In order to gain a better understanding of the nature of current situation within Poland it is crucial to explore its rich, but painful history. To aid this, a timeline of the country’s past has been created. It gives a quick overview of the turbulent past, together with most important events directly impacting the modern outlook on foreigners in Poland.
Research and Manifesto
Despite its turbulent past Poland has had a long history of tolerance for other cultures and religions. It has unfortunately seen a decline in recent years with acts of racism, hate speech, and xenophobia becoming an almost every day occurrence with no visible repercussions. The two main questions that this project aims to answer are: ‘why is it happening?’ and ‘what can be done to stop it?’. Insurrections and Uprisings have been an inseparable part of our history following multiple invasions and attacks. So much so that there is a separate page on Wikipedia collecting all Polish uprisings featuring 16 pages and 23 subcategories. Just as in the past Poles had to rise up against invaders and occupants, it is time to rise up against intolerance and injustice. After analyzing the timeline and recent events certain conclusions could be drawn and overall society profile with four main factors could be recognized. All of these factors served later as a guideline for creation of the Manifesto. While creating the manifesto, lessons derived from previous analyses have been applied. Thus the following workflow model has been developed: recognized issue -> possible solution Based on proposed solutions the specific manifesto points were created, after which the architectural solutions were modeled.