fot. Konrad Zaustowicz

Warszauer hotel in Krakow with international award

It is an intimate but extremely charming building. The Warszauer Hotel is located in Kraków. Its design was carried out by architects from the Indo Architekci studio. The realisation has just been recognised in the international Architecture MasterPrize Awards 2023 competition in the Hotel Architecture category, where it won the top prize. The building has already been recognised in competitions such as the Architectural Award of Polityka, Polish Architecture XXL, the Saint-Gobain Glass Design Award and the nomination for the ArchDaily 2023 Building of the Year Awards. How do you design buildings that are appreciated by the industry and all over the world?

The idea for the Warszauer Hotel in Kraków was born when its owner felt a longing for a stylish and cosmopolitan place in Kraków’s Kazimierz district. When she accidentally discovered a narrow plot of land squeezed between a 17th-century synagogue and a neighbouring tenement house, unexpected solutions came to mind. She invited the Indo Architekci studio to collaborate on the project, and they were given the challenging task of integrating the building into the unique fabric of the historic Kazimierz district, a neighbourhood full of cultural references. This is just a brief summary of the story of the creation of a boutique hotel that delights visitors to Krakow. We wrote more about the building HERE. We talk to Marcin Mikos and Jacek Michalik of Indo Architekci about what it was like to work on the award-winning project

Olga Kisiel-Konopka: TheIndo Architekci studio was established in 2003. During this time you have successively implemented a number of projects of various functions and scales. You have won numerous prestigious awards in national and international competitions. Today, your headquarters are located in the heart of historic Krakow, which not only emphasises your links to the local heritage, but also enables you to aptly understand and respond to the contemporary challenges of the industry. You are firmly rooted in the historical context and yet understand the present. The Warszauer Hotel is not only a reflection of Kazimierz’s historical roots, but also a conscious step towards modern, thoughtful architecture that respects the context of the place. What were your main inspirations and concepts in creating the project?

Indo Architekci: The hotel was being built in the historic fabric of Krakow’s Kazimierz district, so our biggest inspiration was the immediate surroundings. Our studio is not far from this place and we observe every day how this part of Krakow is changing. Therefore, we focused on finding a modern material for the façade. We wanted our design to work harmoniously with the unique context of Kazimierz, paying homage to its history while also referencing contemporary architectural trends

Warszauer’s façade of Saint-Gobain Glass not only allows observation of the immediate surroundings from the hotel rooms, but also acts as a kind of mirror, reflecting the colours of the surrounding environment. How did you achieve this combination?

When creating the façade of the Warszauer hotel, our priority was to find the most technologically advanced solutions. The combination of Corian and glass, very pure materials, meant that the façade reflects what is happening around it and allows hotel guests to observe their surroundings. One of the key challenges we encountered was to protect the rooms from outside noise. Therefore, we were looking for glass that would not only provide the desired reflective effect, but also effectively insulate against ambient sounds and intense light. Of the many options analysed, Saint-Gobain Glass stood out as the ideal solution for us, guaranteeing protection from solar radiation to a degree that met our expectations. We were not limited to the visual effect alone. Parameters such as the effect of sunlight and noise attenuation played a key role in our project. We therefore opted for Saint-Gobain COOL-LITE® SKN 165II glass, which not only met our aesthetic expectations, but also met the most important functional requirements

How did you find out about the Saint-Gobain Glass Design Award?

We used to participate frequently in competitions, but now we take a much more selective approach. For us, this kind of struggle is an opportunity to express ourselves without any investor restrictions and to show what we think about architecture and how we treat it. When we saw information about the Saint-Gobain Glass Design Award on one of the portals, we remembered that we had used this glass in the design of a hotel, whose reputation is further enhanced by its partially glazed façade. We did not use Saint-Gobain Glass products with the intention of winning the competition, we only found out about it afterwards. Winning the ‘Harmony with the Environment’ category pleased us enormously. In addition, we recently received news from the Architecture MasterPrize team that the Warszauer Hotel has won the Architecture MasterPrize Awards (AMP) 2023 in the Hotel Architecture category. Architecture MasterPrize is the world’s leading architecture and design award

INDO Architects, photo by Artur Tomaszek

Glass in architecture not only has a technical function, but also inspires architects to create innovative, modern designs that combine functionality with aesthetics. Does it play an important role in your projects?

We are aware that glass is an integral part of a façade or window, but also an element that needs to be designed, so we take a very conscious approach to its selection. Krakow, with its rich historical heritage, is one of the cities where heritage conservation plays an important role in shaping the urban space. When planning and implementing architectural projects, we have to scrupulously take into account the restrictions imposed by conservationists, and we have managed to do a project that is contemporary, showcases modern materials, and is located in a very historic place

Does your design incorporate sustainable building principles?

In the context of the sustainability challenge, the question of incorporating green building principles becomes an important part of the analysis of our new projects. In the case of the Warszauer Hotel, there was an awareness of introducing low-carbon solutions, even though the building is not large. The investors focused mainly on the economic aspects of maintaining the building. For example, the use of a white façade is a measure to minimise the heating of the building. In addition, the colour scheme, the thickness of the insulation and the type of Saint-Gobain Glass used, all contributed to creating a low-emission structure, which is a key element of sustainable construction

source: press materials

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