We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winner for our "Portable Reading Rooms / Edition #2" competition – Paula Smolka from Poland!

Paula Smolka from Poland

I am a student of the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice. I am mainly interested in universal design, socially useful design and public space design. I realize myself in the public space design studio, where the main projects in the field of small architecture are created. As part of my graduation project, I designed a sauna for people who use a wheelchair. It was implemented by sauna manufacturer LifePolska in Imielin, Poland. The sauna project also won an award in the DNA Paris Design Award in the sustainable living category. I am currently pursuing a master's degree at the same university.

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?

During my studies I have done many projects in both 3D and 2D design while I feel most comfortable in the field of public space design. For 3 years I attended a public space design studio where I found the most fulfillment. In the studio I designed, among other things: Two tree house designs. The first one called , "Actively in the tree" was designed for people who like to spend time actively, for example, doing yoga, stretching, pilates. The assumptions of my project were implemented using platforms that would give the user space to exercise. The user of the second project , "Hide in colors", on the other hand, were children. The premise of my project was implemented using colorful planes and planes in the interior of the house, which gave the child a new space to play. Both projects were small in size and were simple in execution. Another project was the design of a viewpoint. The designed vantage point was placed on the heaps in the city of Makoszowy - my hometown. It was to allow observation of the setting sun and also local events, and at the same time was to be a social meeting point for locals. The structure was based on a cube module and a steel structure was used, inspired by the post-industrial character of the district. The viewpoint had dimensions of 6x1.8 m. My most important project so far was my graduation project: The design of a sauna for people who use a wheelchair. It was based on a module base so the sauna could be adapted to different spaces. Its smallest version is 3.6x2.15m and the largest is 6x2.5m. The size can be changed and adapted according to the available space.

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

By the word architecture I mean creativity, passion, innovation. Architecture creates a sense of place, enriches life, connects people. For me, good architecture is primarily functional. An architect is a person who should take into account the needs of the user, but at the same time express himself, create something functional and aesthetic at the same time. In my society, an architect is a special profession. Designers not only shape the landscape, but also create new ways to meet our needs. In my opinion, an architect can solve problems when designing and this is the most valuable thing in this profession.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

I take part in competitions because, for me, architectural competitions are not only about winning, but also a chance to gain experience, showcase skills, better understand the project, and receive recognition. By participating, I work on honing my skills and become even more motivated to create.

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

My advice is: it's always worth trying. By taking part you gain skills and experience which is always worth the effort.


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