Blue, Green and Yellow
Water runs through the history of Uniejow. In its origins the town settled at the most fertile bank of the Warta river, safe from floods. We believe that water will still run in the town’s future. The town center will open back to the river with a new river promenade, and a wooden pedestrian bridge will provide a link with the old castle, the spa and the new developments at the left bank. At the eastern side of this bridge, a small square steps down to the river, providing a contact point between the old town and the water and giving a clear access to the river promenade. The bridge is also a viewpoint towards the two medieval landmarks of the town: the church and the castle.
The recently discovered thermal waters are used in the successful spa complex, bringing about a new economical impulse. Expanding on the economic potential of the thermal waters, we can even imagine a “Uniejow brand” that would integrate health, medicinal and beauty products manufactured on site. Additionally, the thermal waters can be used to produce eco-friendly electricity.
The river nurtures a richness of landscapes: agriculture, forestry, pastures and tree lined paths. Together they form a green structure that organizes the land. We propose to strengthen this green structure: additional trees are planted along the paths that cross the town, so that a green connection is established between the river and the agricultural fields.
Binding the parts of the town at both sides of the river, a new “landscape loop” will use existing paths to provide a soft itinerary for the discovery of the landscape.
Moreover, the river waters can irrigate a new ecological agriculture and foster contemporary forms of economy in close relation with the landscape. In this sense, at the north-east gate of the town, we propose an Eco-Farm that opens to the agricultural landscape and that incorporates a restored old farm as its entrance. In the Eco-farm, a restaurant, a hotel, and farm animals, including horses, welcome a public interested in healthy products which are grown on site: from the orchard to the table.
The oldest buildings of the town are made of the local yellow limestone. The medieval town can be seen as a yellow rock that crystallized in the middle of the green. From then on, many superimposed historical layers and not fully realized ambitions have blurred the structure of the town. We propose to reveal this palimpsest and to use it to lend a clear structure to the town. For this purpose, the medieval center and the main street leading to it (Bogumilla) recover their original density and marked urban character, becoming the heart of the town. The renewed public spaces contribute to the reading of the town’s historical layers, along with a “history loop” that will provide a pedagogical itinerary through the town’s past, present and future, while, at the same time, linking more closely the parts of the town at both sides of the river.
At one tip of the main street (Bogumilla), we find the remodeled town’s square and the bell tower. At the opposite tip, we propose an Innovation Cluster, where new economical potentials for the town will be researched and developed. The Innovation Cluster marks the new gate to the town, with the restored mill, the greenhouse buildings, and a geyser fountain as height counterpoint to the bell tower.
Between this clearly urban core and the open agricultural landscape there is a transition area where the different town extensions are located. Here, we propose that the new in-fills and town extensions are places where urbanity and agriculture are weaved together into self-sustainable communities that strive to be in balance with the landscape.
Strenghtening the structure of the town by revealing its historical layers
Structuring landscape elements: the river, the tree-lined paths, the agriculture fields, the forests
Density contrast between urban, rurban and rural
Soft mobility paths (landscape loop and history loop) as links between the parts of the town at both sides of the river
The town center
The medieval town center is restored giving back the emphasis to its main elements: the main square and the main street (Bogumilla)
The main square
This historical square will gain back its role as the main public space of the town. We propose to locate there the towhall, the library, the museum and the civic center.
The main urban axis (Bogumilla street)
This street is the other historical structuring element, which led from the main gate of the medieval town towards the main square.
The position of the medieval moat that encircled the townis marked on the pavement with luminous resin blocks that evoke the flowing water. The access bridge is marked with horizontal corten steel plates with explanatory engravings
The new infill buildings merge within the old urban fabric
The new buildings will use the historical and local yellow stone in a contemporary way.
The new wooden bridge over the Warta river as viewpoint towards the main historical buildings: the church and the castle
The new bridge is a privileged viewpoint towards the two main heritage buildings of the town, the church and the castle, and forms a contact public space with the river
On the bridge looking towards the castle
A paved square slopes and steps towards the river, with views over the old castle. The square has a a stop for boats and is a a place for a restaurant or bar terrace overlooking the river
On the bridge looking towards the old town and the church
The Innovation Cluster as the southern gate of the town
Southern access to the town from the Innovation cluster
with water geyser as counterpoint to the church spire, restored mill and new glass house buildings
The Eco-Farm as the norther gate of the town
The Eco-Farm opening on the agricultural plain