This project won the 2013 Architizer A+ Popular Vote Award in the performing arts category. See the full list of winners here.
The keyword for architecture these days: adaptability. For example, it's no longer possible to build a theater just for the theater, a gallery for a gallery, or a cinema for a cinema, as Krzysztof Ingarden, of Ingarden & Ewy Architects, says. Instead, architects must create "modern, multifunctional art centres—spaces teeming with life from morning till long into the night, open both for the public and the artists representing various fields of artistic creation, and also for experts dealing with art, practice of exhibition, and education."
Ingarden took that maxim, which he learned from Polish music director Krzysztof Orzechowski, when designing the Malopolska Garden of Arts, for Orzechowski, in Krakow. The four-story ceramic-tile-and-glass house allows for modern ballet, various contemporary theater forms, audio and video arts, concerts, and more, while a side wing holds an art and media library, featuring multimedia books and music.
The architects drew inspiration from the local architecture and culture, making references to the pitched roofs and brick and wood facades of the neighboring buildings. But the transparency gives it a modern touch. The rectangular building also includes custom-designed vertical ceramic tiles, which look like wood panels from far away, and which "create a living and contemporary skin of the main building and the gazebo," says Ingarden.
Another important aspect of the design: greenery. Visitors enter the building through a glass-ceilinged gardens with small benches and various fauna, including maple trees. "From urban strategy’s point of view, it was important to create free-access public spaces," says Ingarden. "We call them 'art gardens'—small-pocket parks between the [neighboring] townhouses in front of both entrances to the building." The free gardens, the glass windows, and the modern spin on tradition and culture that characterize the building speak to the freedom and beauty that transpire inside its walls. "It is an open composition," says Ingarden, "expressing freedom and joy."