We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to the 3rd prize winners of our "Pavilion Of Humanity: First Contact / Edition #2" competition – Nikola Bukowiecka, Michał Pietrusiewicz, Krzysztof Afeltowicz from Poland!

Nikola Bukowiecka, Michał Pietrusiewicz, Krzysztof Afeltowicz

Please tell us about your company (when it was founded, where it is based, how many employees, etc) Alternatively, if you do not have a company, please give us some insights on your own professional/academia background.

Nikola Bukowiecka is a PhD Physics student and a fellow at the University of Rhode Island, USA. She did her degrees in Physics. Apart from being involved with academia, she’s been working in the space industry both as a physicist and as an engineer. Her current research and interests contain astrophysics, cosmology, gravity, astrobiology, mathematical physics and active galactic nuclei research. She’s at the board of the Polish Astrobiology Society and a member of a Climate Council at the United Nations Global Contact Network Poland.

Michał Pietrusiewicz is a student of the Faculty of Architecture at the West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin. He also combined his studies with landscape architecture design. He gained experience during professional practice in Switzerland in architectural competition projects. The role of man and his experiences in the sociological context and the values of visual arts are his main direction of research in architecture and spatial design.

Krzysztof Afeltowicz has graduated from engineering studies at the Faculty of Architecture in Szczecin. Currently a master's student in landscape architecture in Poznań. He completed an internship in a Swiss office, where he worked on interior design and competition projects. He always tries to use visual arts in his projects and draws at every stage of the concept, which gives him a greater bond with the designed object.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been Involved?

Even though we come from seemingly different fields, participation in this project showed us that there is a shared perspective on how to approach problems like the one posed as a main theme of this competition. Physics and architecture are undeniably interconnected. One endeavors to understand the nature of various phenomena, the other attempts to shape it into efficient, yet simultaneously profound and meaningful form. The variety of our experiences, that concluded in the presented project is clearly visible from the projects we took part in.

Building their experience in architectural design, Michał and Krzysztof focus mainly on creating public utility facilities and small-scale residential buildings. The awareness they build about the quality of architecture, the role of its user and the processes leading to the feeling of space and creating the atmosphere, so important for proper development and improving the quality of life, is a key design direction for them. A consistent direction in landscape design, contact between humans and nature, understanding their belonging and needs are things they hold in an incredibly high regard. The time spent on acquiring new skills abroad made them aware of important standards in design and science related to creating space. Krzysztof usually prefers to focus on small projects, where he can create a unique atmosphere, hence the preference towards interior design and landscape architecture. He likes to always be in between, focusing on details and light. He feels equally good at painting and creating illustrations for the designed building.

Nikola has been involved as a physicist in projects such as GLOWS, which is a part of NASA’s IMAP mission (Space Research Centre PAS), creating and analyzing probability distribution all sky maps. She helped to develop control systems and mission planning schemes in project such as POLON or EagleEye, working on Polish satellites (Creotech Instruments) and helped develop astrophysical software in AstroProject (Wolfram Research). She conducted research on the Wendelstein 7-X fusion reactor at Max-Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in Germany.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

Architecture is a way of inclining humans to reflect on topics varying from profound philosophical and sociological thoughts, commemorating significant events to simply making them stop and introspect, as well as ensuring their efficient and appropriate living environment. What follows is that an architect is an entity responsible for ensuring that those missions are fulfilled as diligently and as fully as possible.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

Participation in architectural competitions allows individuals to enhance their skills, acquire new knowledge, and expand their perspective, gaining unique and valuable experience. There is great value in observing and connecting with other human beings, a process that occurs in a distinct way during such competitions. They facilitate deeper analysis and understanding of various approaches and work ethics. Competitions also enable dialogue with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds. The level of resilience and dedication required to successfully design an architectural competition project serves as excellent training and tests one's abilities and stress mitigation techniques, which are not typically necessary during regular university coursework. Competitions ignite passion and commitment, often reminding participants of why they chose this path in the first place. This particular competition encompasses architecture, science, sociology, and philosophy. As we are always seeking new and exciting challenges, this opportunity seemed perfect for fulfilling our intellectual and spiritual aspirations.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

Nikola: It helps you build a particular skillset necessary to thrive in a collaborative and highly competitive environment, such as the architectural industry (or academia, for that matter). Besides, it’s a great challenge and a lot of fun!

Michał: This is probably the most difficult question. Everyone should find this self-confidence at a certain stage of design and understand that this is a direction for developing and improving skills. Getting to know people with similar values and ways of thinking in the design process is of significant value. Opening up to the world and communicating your ideas is a way to bring change around us. Competitions are one of these tools. Some people might perceive a bit of rivalry in it, but in our opinion, the main idea is to learn and enjoy the experience.

Krzysztof: Participating in competitions gives you the opportunity to test your skills and imagination. You can indulge your fantasy without consequences, of course, considering the rules of the competition. They allow you to develop on other levels."

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