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Renaturalisation of wetlands in the City of Stalowa Wola

Honorable mention in responsive design

Design Team: LAX laboratory for architectural experiments (arch. Anna Grajper, arch. Sebastian Dobiesz); YEAR: 2020; YEAR OF PLANNED REALISATION: 2022; LOCATION: Stalowa Wola; VISUALISATION CREDIT: LAX laboratory for architectural experiments.


The main goal of the project is the renaturalisation of wetlands in the City of Stalowa Wola, which has seen a deterioration in its water-holding capacity due to draining and isolation from its feeding source – the San river. The main design assumptions were based on the guidelines of the EU “Life for Climate” program in the 2020 edition, under which the city authority plans to obtain funds. Thus, the method of shaping the project was subordinated to pro-ecological technological, functional and spatial solutions aimed at increasing the city’s resilience to climate change. In response to these objectives, the project proposed an innovative method of wetland reclamation, based on the technology of condensation of water vapor from the site. To achieve this goal, the project proposed Interactive Passive Atmospheric Water Collection Systems (IPAWC Systems) based on hydrophilic materials technologies patented by Durham University. The implementation of the Systems was proposed on the basis of partnership between the University providing the technology and the City of Stalowa Wola. The Systems themselves are designed in a way that allows them to adapt to the prevailing climatic conditions, which increases the effectiveness of water collection. Their changeability takes place in real-time. Depending on the form of the objects adapted to the specific location in the area, the Systems react to the level of air humidity, ambient temperature, the level of sunlight or the wind force. The use of solutions from the field of Interactive Architecture in the design of the Systems also allows for gathering the people’s interest in the phenomenon of obtaining water and the process of its accumulation. An important feature of the project is to guarantee the educational value of the project by making it possible to observe the modes of operation of the IPAWC Systems. Empirical observa ion of the phenomenon contributes to the visitors’ understanding of how quickly water “escapes” from our environment and how important it is to store it widely. It draws visitors’ attention to the fact that every part of the space requires a constant water supply to avoid desertification caused by evapotranspiration. Exposing the systems at different altitude levels and in various natural circumstances (in treetops, on filtering islands, among flower meadows and sandy areas, and others) allows people to pay attention to the rate of water leakage depending on the substrate and exposure. Thus, the project promotes knowledge about the phenomena of closed water cycles occurring in nature. The assumed objectives of the project are to contribute to the development of new, effective methods of water retention in wetlands. The design study site is an excellent field for research in this topic due to the specific location of these wetlands. As a result of many years of urbanization, they were completely incorporated into the city and cut off from the processes occurring in the wider biotope of the region. This situation allows for greater precision in determining the impact of the applied design solutions on the real reduction of emissions during the project implementation.