St. Hyacinth in Bytom
Rev. Grzegorz Gervase Gorczycki Educational and Cultural Center and Rosary Garden at St. Hyacinth's Church in Bytom
- location: Poland, Bytom, ul. Matejki 1
- architects: Przemo Łukasik, Łukasz Zagała
- associate architects: Daria Cieślak, Sabina Sieczkowska, Michał Sokołowski, Łukasz Stopczynski, Konrad Basan, Jan Wichrowski
- investor: Parafia rzymskokatolicka św. Jacka w Bytomiu
- contractor: Zakład Usług Remontowych DAR’C
- design: 2011 (koncepcja: 2010)
- realization: 2014
- nomination for the award Simon Architecture Prize – Living Places
- nomination for the Mies van der Rohe Award 2015
- photographs: Tomasz Zakrzewski, Miłosz Jaksik
- film realization: Rumburak Produkcja
On the initiative of the Roman Catholic Parish of St. Hyacinth and the parishioners themselves, a new public space serving the local community was created in the socially and economically degraded center of Bytom’s Rozbark district. The space directly adjacent to the church was functionally and aesthetically connected to the area of the former square, which was transformed into a rosary garden, referring to the local legend of St. Hyacinth. This area with a religious character is a composition that is a background for the monumental edifice of the temple. In addition to the garden, the main elements of the entire establishment are two pavilions related to the parish’s educational and cultural activities.
Modern buildings with multifunctional rooms designed for youth work, exhibitions and concerts have become a place of rest and recreation, bringing together the activities of the district’s residents. The designed buildings function as religious day-care centers, a place for exhibitions and performances for small theatrical and musical forms. Both buildings have been integrated into the compositional layout of the new land development. Thanks to their contemporary design, they contrast with the historic edifice of the neo-Romanesque St. Hyacinth’s Church. while at the same time – in form and scale – they will maintain the historical hierarchy emphasizing the rank of the temple. Thanks to modern materials such as Corten and glass, however, they establish a generational dialogue with it.
The development has been designed in a modern way. Rainwater from the entire site and roof surfaces is collected in a special retention tank, which is placed several meters below the ground surface. The gray water is then used to water the greenery throughout the garden. The roofs of both buildings are overgrown with greenery, which serves primarily to integrate them into the surroundings of the historic temple and additionally affects, among other things, the thermal comfort of the buildings.
Thus, the garden designed at the church refers to the figure of St. Jack, the patron saint of the place, a teacher of rosary prayer. Along the alleys, religious elements were introduced in the form of rosary plaques and a centrally located Marian grotto with a pond. The whole is complemented by lighting in the form of twenty spheres, referring to the local rosary legend. In this way, the nameless space has been transformed into a religious meeting place that is a modern landmark of the city.
The preservation of some of the old-growth forest facilitated the smooth integration of new site development elements into the existing landscape.
Near the parish house, a rehearsal hall and outdoor stage building (Building A) was designed, along with immediate facilities. The building’s glazed facade, which can be pulled apart if necessary, opens the pavilion toward the church. In this way, the first floor of the building becomes a covered stage, serving outdoor events during the summer season. In the southern part of the site, a facility with a small day care center and accommodations was located (building B). It was kept in the same style, so that together with the new landscaping around the church and the rehearsal hall building, they constitute a compact and coherent material and spatial concept.
To further separate this space, a bench was located in the corner, which encloses the surroundings (auditorium) by the building. This small architectural form, is meant to provoke stopping and prayerful contemplation. The building itself houses rooms for various classes and theatrical, musical and exhibition events, so the interior was designed using economical means, using friendly materials such as wood and large-format prints depicting events from the history of the Rozbark district of Bytom.