What Woodz is?
We do not want to be sentimental so we don’t look at what Woodz was, ewer what it will be. What it will be is maybe more interesting but seems to be absolutely unpredictable at the moment and depends in which story you want to believe.
What it is now is not dependent on our wishes it is directly linked to its history. Rapid uncontrolled development changed city into chaotic urban fabric and it is fair to say that like Atlanta Woodz is a LANDSCAPE. Unfortunately this center less landscape is already dead
Having that in mind we are proposing development which will consume old body in new brutal way.
1. The Community is the Expert
Pseudosquat project was based on meetings with NCŁ responsible party and self observation of the plot located just next to main strategic future investments - next to Dworzec Fabryczny Railway Station in the New Center of Lodz city.
City planner’s idea is to move existing rails underground and reuse the land above. This space might be divided to two parts. First with EC1 building where main galleries and shopping centers are going to be located. And the second one bordered by the Kopcińskiego, Tuwima, Tramwajowa and Narutowicza Streets.
As a part of community project team members decided to leave exiting “chaotic character” of the site as a part of citizen habitat and focus on possible minimal intervention as distinct from master plan created in specific situation and time. Designed project should become a vision for next generations and be enough flexible to react during the time.
Project team decided to create self-organizing organism where social participation together with artist and designers might create a new spirit of this “forgotten by urbanists part” of NCL in a contrast to commercial part between Kilinskiego and Targowa streets.
2. Create a Place, Not a Design
Main idea was to create a “vital” space, attractive for people from neighborhood and visitors.
Typical mistake is to create a master plan design without thinking about people leaving there and their knowledge about place potential. That’s why main issue was to move existing rails underground and on cleared land do... nothing. Leave it as a connector between railway main station and city center (now considered as Piotrkowska street). The site with rails is defined as a “hardscape river” which dispreading people along it and stimulate border line for investment.
Second phase was to create rules for self organizing system of cells as a natural “game of life” where bad ideas are defeated by better concepts, and create a new sign for this district. Different in every moment, from typical artistic installation threw small businesses to sky manufactures.
Briefly: people are a curators and creators in the same time
3. You Can't Do It Alone
Project team for a target groups have choose artists, dwellers, architects and politics.
First group combined from dwellers (local community) artists and architects can be described as action group which implementing ideas on the site. Politics are by side but have the biggest impact for general scenario of this area because of defining a time for lease.
As a result whole community (small businesses, schools, galleries and dwellers) can support this project and be synonymous with it.
4. Observe How Spaces Are Currently Used
Pseudosquat is predicted on present site situation where residential buildings are mixed with industrial spaces. Typical solution for such a chaotic coexistence is to demolish existing buildings and create new master plan from 0 point. Forcing this scenario will remove whole small scale interventions made by dwellers and create a series of problems related to plot owners ect. Those interventions might be called like in CNC prototyping as subtractive process.
Pseudosquat is an additive process which by small scale is adding new ideas, project by community together with artists. Its a democratic approach where only the best results answering to local problems might be implemented during the time. Temporary (from 1 year till 50 years) solutions for any new interventions allows to change during the time and human behaves changes.
5. Have a Vision
Lodz as a city based on textile manufactures in last decade transform to a new artistic community where new trend of revitalize empty industrial spaces, exhibitions and events are taking place. With faculty of direction faculty, Academy of Art, Animations ect. is a dynamic evolving part of Poland where art is going together with industry.
That’s why pseudosquat is a trial of such a visionary cooperation.
6. Start with the Petunias
Long term master plans in such a location is always a big unknown especially when city hall is trying to change the city image. Pseudosquat is a series of short-term improvements that can be tested and refined quickly.
Triangulation of people contacts are usually placed in 2 dimensional spaces by creating benches, food stands, stages ect. Other kinds of direct relation between neighbours are balconies where we deal with vertical contacts.
Project team assumption was to connect all of possible relations to 3D where because of applying cells in different directions we might achieve strong community relations in any dimensions.
8. Form Supports Function
By choosing small modules - 3x3x3m. - Project team wanted to apply smallest possible cell where human can live. This approach gives maximum variety of possible permutation of creation. In the same time rules which are the foundation of a project protect existing building from be overbuild.
9. Money Is Not the Issue
From economical point of view PSEUDOSQUAT project is perfectly located in a center of Lodz just next to future planned NCŁ where all important galleries and buildings are going to be located. On the other hand its to far a way for pedestrians and commuter rail system connecting people from railway station is one of the basic project presumption.
This part should be based on artistic interventions together with small shops or even aboveground markets (all depends on vision).
Budget in this case is not as important as rules which will allow people for creation from their own money of donates.
10. You Are Never Finished
Pseudosquat project is from the beginning never ending concept which will transform during the time and create a mirror of current city progress.