Reopening The Mercedes Station
A temporary pavilion located in the midst of the city can play a role of a gadget of sorts, a structure bearing a neutral, if not even agressive relation with the place of its erection. However, this kind of approach seems to be rather pointless here remembering that, firstly, Warsaw is the place of numerous temporary and chaotic interferences in its urban structure (all negative connotations of permanent – temporary architecture), secondly – the pavilion is designed to remain in its place for at least half a year.
The Mercedes Pavilion, emerging in the centre of Warsaw, should present an offer of a new quality in the city public space. This can be achieved due to its highly recognizable but also contextual architecture and due to its developed functions tailored to the chosen location.
Where do cars live?
A car exhibited in a car salon always looks a bit ‘out of place’. A natural place for a car is the street, a parking lot, a garage, a parking drive. Designing a pavilion of an attractive architectural form is a challege – but placing a car inside it without making it look slightly out of place – seems to be even a bigger challenge.
The consideration of both the characteristics of the place where a Mercedes will be exhibited and the special features of urban public space led us to the main idea of the project. It is based on the reference to something so well known, something enrooted in the landscape of Polish streets and courtyards, Polish housing estates – that is, omnipresent outbuildings of different forms and materials – detached garages. This extremely area-consuming, uneconomical tradition of providing the dwellers of multi-family houses with individual garages became a disgrace to urban development, especially in city centres, many a time being an obstacle to creating building frontage in attractive locations. On the other hand, these ugly detached garages are also the symbol of Polish transformation, of the entrepreneurial spirit of those who parked their precious cars in the streets and the garage spaces were dedicated to all sorts of retail and wholesale businesses , workshops, cafes, and a full range of different service functions.
Taking inspiration from easily recognizable form the project exploits garage connotations, at the same time setting the exhibition model of a Mercedes in a context which is perfectly natural for it – a car can be presented with an open bonnet or even while being submitted to activities of ‘Pimp My Ride’ provenience/origin, which in fact have always been popular among traditional garage users.
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