OKO Interactive Fairy Tale and Animation Centre in Bielsko-Biała

It’s a marriage of old and new. The OKO Interactive Fairy Tale and Animation Centre in Bielsko-Biała has just opened. The building was designed by architects from the Nizio Design International studio, whose concept won the competition held in 2016.

The new venue is part of the famous Drawing Film Studio and consists of the historic Roth Villa and a modern section. The Drawing Film Studio was founded in 1947 and has successfully created cult characters such as Bolek i Lolek (since 1963), Reksio (1967), or Professor Baltazar Gąbka in the merry company of the Wawel Dragon and Bartłomiej Bartolini coat of arms Green Petrushka (1969).The most outstanding artists have worked with the institution, including: Zbigniew Lengren, Jan Szancer, Józef Szajna, Jan Brzechwa, Ludwik Jerzy Kern, Krzysztof Komeda or Krzysztof Penderecki.

The OKO Interactive Fairy Tale and Animation Centre will remind visitors of this heritage. To this end, an attractive space has been created that combines the past with the present.

We wanted to develop a coherent, aesthetic form that, while respecting the heritage, would at the same time introduce a new quality. With this in mind, we designed a link between the new structure and the façade with its historical divisions and ornamentation, and also looked for an optimal way to fit the minimalist building into the traditional urban fabric of the city. I believe that skilfully constructed tensions add dynamism to the design and contribute to a more interesting narrative,” says Mirosław Nizio, author of the concept.

The concept in question appealed to the members of the competition jury in 2016. The experts appreciated the project for its “apt urban and architectural solutions, in particular the articulation of the corner of the urban space with a clearly defined entrance zone, the creation of an inner courtyard seamlessly transitioning into green recreational areas, the selection of appropriate proportions and scale of the new development in relation to the historical one”.

The project took more than four years to complete. First of all, the historic villa from 1888 was thoroughly renovated. The architects did not make any fundamental functional changes to the historic building. Construction and renovation work was carried out here, consisting mainly of replacements (internal floors, some internal plaster, radiators and the necessary range of sanitary installations, lighting fixtures along with the necessary range of electrical and teletechnical installations,) as well as a comprehensive renovation of the façade.

In a second step, the construction of a new edifice was started, which was connected to the villa. The façade of the new building is made of architectural concrete and is designed to resemble a filmstrip. A characteristic element is the unusual construction of the part of the building ‘suspended’ above the ground floor. It appears to be supported, without any supports, directly on the glass. The solutions adopted optically enlarge the ground floor space and visually integrate the interior of the building with the space outside.

Inside the new part, the entrance area includes a lobby, gift shop, reception area and buffet. There is also a cinema hall on the ground floor with a capacity of approximately 120 seats, which will be used for film screenings, multimedia shows, conferences, lectures and cultural events – both those linked to the Centre’s educational path and exhibition, and those organised independently. The main exhibition area is located on the first and second floors. The first floor also houses the digital material archive, while the second floor has a conference room and an animators’ room. A passageway between the buildings is also located on this level. The passageway, with its transparent glass walls, provides an interesting view of the two buildings and the adjacent streets and surroundings.

source: Nizio Design International

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