The Dwelling of Marian Kaminski
Photographic Extracts from the 'Vistula As It Was' Exhibition
(copyright Warsaw State Archives & Ja Wisla Foundation)
The Dwelling of Marian Kaminski
'A House for an Inhabitant of Warsaw'
Project undertaken during the MArch course at the University of Edinburgh
(2007)
The project 'A House for an inhabitant of Warsaw' called for the creation of a dwelling for a symbolic or emblematic occupant of Warsaw through which an opening into the design thesis could be made by determining a specific site within Warsaw along with initiating an archive of detailed contextual research.

Inspired by an exhibition of postcards entitled 'Vistula As It Was', detailing the once integral part the Vistula River played within Warsaw, the project built a narrative around the character of Marian Kaminski.  The name of this Vistula sand-digger, cited in the caption of a single postcard, was the starting point for a body of research relating to the River and the City's relationship to it. 

The sand-diggers were known for their immense physical strength, a necessary attribute required for the back-breaking work of dredging the sands from the river bed and shores for use within the construction industry of the city.  Marian kaminski, described as a 'legendary' sand-digger who worked the Vistula around Warsaw, became a character synonymous with the river, never seen far from his boat he was one of the last few inhabitants of Warsaw to centre their life on the river.

The project imagines Marian as a contemporary custodian of the riverbed using his intimate knowledge of the river and its environs to establish a home in a part of the city often overlooked.    Located in the disused Praski docks on the edge of the Praga district the dwelling provides a staging platform for Marian to transfer cargoes of sand, gravel and clay onto a narrow gauge railway that leads to a vehicular collection point.  The dwelling makes the lightest connection with the land, allowing contact with contemporary Warsaw whilst also providing the seclusion of the river environment Marian is so famed for.
Site Section & Plan
(originals & 1:100)
1:100 Model
(layered wax base, concrete & found materials)
Interior Plans (left) & Riverbed Formation (right)
Formed predominantly of three reclaimed hull fragments,  the outermost forms a screen against the outside world and through its decay provides a habitat for plants, allowing the structure to further dissolve into the wooded area on the bank.  The main focus of the living space is the wood-fired stove/boiler that is welded directly into the steel-hull fabric of the dwelling transforming the structure into a large-scale radiator.  The sleeping deck is located above the boiler/water tank in order to maximise the benefits of its warmth.  The south-facing facade of the dwelling is wrapped in a blanket of dried reeds, collected from the bed below, held in place by a patchwork of silk parachute material.  This blanket creates a thermal barrier against excessive solar gain during the summer months and insulates the surface farthest away from the boiler against the harsh Polish winters.  Water for the dwelling is provided via both rainwater collection and a hand-operated pump which pulls water up from the river through a series of vertical sand and charcoal filters.  Waste water is channelled through the curvature of the hull and falls into the filter reed-bed below before rejoining the water-course of the river.
The Dwelling of Marian Kaminski
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The Dwelling of Marian Kaminski

A project for the dwelling of a symbolic or emblematic occupant of Warsaw.
9
327
0
Published:

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