Forum Gdańsk. The new face of the city
The design and construction combined took more than 10 years. It’s no surprise, as the assumption for it was to change not only the centre of Gdańsk, but also to introduce new quality in leisure for citizens and tourists coming to Pomorskie. Forum Gdańsk: a meeting hub, an entertainment centre, place for leisure, shopping, as well as work, culture, education. As the investors put it, it is one of the most modern complexes of this kind in Europe.
Forum Gdańsk contains 170 shops. Until that point, no other building in the centre of Gdańsk gathered all most popular brands under one roof. The broad selection of products available encompasses everything from shoes and clothes, through every day household equipment. There is no need to carry all the shopping around, as the available parking space can hold up to 1,000 cars.
The area of six hectares (including two hectares of green areas), eight stories, one kilometre of cycling paths with parking spaces and repair stations, a brand new parking lot. Shops, restaurants, cinema, city squares, and alleys along Radunia Channel. Playgrounds for children, office of a cultural institution, educational paths, street art installations. Forum Gdańsk takes a fresh perspective on urban space. This investment is, in reality, a complex development plan for Targ Sienny and Targ Rakowy (Hay and Crayfish Markets, former market places of Gdańsk, later – city squares), and a thorough change of the quarter of 3 Maja, Hucisko, Wały Jagiellońskie, and Aleja Armii Krajowej streets in Gdańsk.
In terms of architecture, Forum Gdańsk is a complex of buildings that are sort of a timeline that connects historical Gdańsk with modernity. On the one hand, there are brick buildings, which are a reference to historical architecture. The investment saved several historic buildings, including a historic monastery, post office, and a library with a park. On the other hand, there are modern, multi-functional designs with large-format glazings that blend in with natural environmental features (such as the Radunia Channel).
Forum Gdańsk is a space that is to bring together the old and the new. It combines respect to historical location and historic buildings. We have to mention that, during the archaeological digs, more than 10,000 artefacts had been recovered. These will be presented in special glass cases. At the same time, it is a nod towards modernity. Not only when it comes to the beforementioned architecture or functionality, but also references to modern street art. There are numerous murals created by Grupa Kolektyw Forum. The investment also showcases a large format monument of a lion, which is a direct reference to the symbol of Gdańsk. Lion has also become symbol of the entire investment. A 14-metre-high monument, naturally covered in rust and conserved, is visible from every point of Forum Gdańsk. It was created by Tomasz Górnicki.
The developed area also includes revitalised city squares and parks. Green areas, which cover more than two hectares, and blend in with the surroundings, were designed by gardener, Katarzyna Bellingham. In total, 33,000 plants of 80 different species were planted.
There are also recreational areas in Forum Gdańsk, with Park Courtyard (Dziedziniec Parkowy), Town Hall Square (Plac Ratuszowy), and Radunia Channel Boulevard (Bulwar Kanału Raduni), as well as playgrounds for children. As the investor says, it is public space that shapes trading space in Forum Gdańsk. Of course, there is plenty of space for shopping, with 170 shops. But most of all, Forum Gdańsk was designed to serve as a place of leisure for citizens and tourists, and a starting point for excursions into the historical parts of Gdańsk.
An important element of Forum Gdańsk is its cultural function. Kunszt Wodny cultural centre was established near Targ Rakowy, which will serve as office for Instytut Kultury Miejskiej (City Culture Institute). It will also house an arthouse, bookshop, conference and workshop rooms, and a cultural information centre. The public observation deck offers a breath-taking view not only on the Main Town, but also the former shipyard, which is part of the city’s unique vibe.
Forum Gdańsk has also changed downtown public transport network. A tunnel above train tracks that was constructed provides additional space on the ground. The new train station, Gdańsk Śródmieście, was connected to a brand new bus and tram transfer node. Nowe Podwale Grodzkie is a new street that was built as an alternative to the constantly gridlocked main artery.
Photos: Forum Gdańsk
ul. Targ Sienny 7, Gdańsk