Knowledge Centre of Water Wrocław / Poland / 2015

21 Love 1,918 Visits Published

ART FM team:
Mieczysław Bielawski (creative director),
Architects: Magdalena Piwek, Maksymilian Majoch, Łukasz Markiewicz, Jan Witkowski,
Karol Ornatowski, Michał Hnatowski and Avishay Ave Hadari (art director).
Graphic design: Maciej Ochęcki, Wawrzyniec Stefański, Justyna Jaworska,
Tomasz Sarna.
Content development: Tomasz Natora, Wojciech Głowa, Jan Bielawski,
Joanna Rey-Jankowicz, Agnieszka Sulikowska.
Project manager: Katarzyna Kostecka, Grzegorz Kamiński.


The clean water reservoir was built between 1890 and 1893 as part of the water supply system and originally served as a filter tank.

The complex of brick buildings with 52 meter hight tower is one of the few so well preserved historical water supply plants in Europe. As a site it is a subject to strict protection and conservation.

The clean water reservoir, the old filters, and the pumping station adjacent from the west to the reservoir, are part of the “Na Grobli” water supply system. The reservoir cross section has a rectangular shape measuring approx. 72.8 x 63.9 meters. It is covered with a green roof, with air vent stacks which primarily served to reduce the air pressure within the reservoir.

The western and eastern elevations are in the historicist Neo-Gothic style with towers steeples, fortified towers, turrets and gates. The northern elevation includes twelve semicircular arcades, while the southern elevation formed  an earthen slope dropping from the roof level. The façades are built of ceramic face bricks with details underlined by glazed bricks and shaped ceramics.

The interior of the reservoir consists of four chambers which, for the purpose of the new function, are connected via openings made in the walls allowing to pass from one section to the other. Each chamber is covered with a three-bay reinforced concrete arched structure resting on the walls separating them and two rows of pillars.

 An annexe building was constructed on the southern side of the entrance zone creating a new façade which matches the Water Tower situated nearby.

The predominant material used in the new part of the building is classic copper which due to the process of oxidation darkens in a natural way, harmonising well with the brick – the main material of the reservoir and Water Tower.

The body of the building consists of an entrance with an adjacent ramp leading to the roof and the technical wing. The stairs leading to the roof of the reservoir  are located in the green space in between. The whole is crowned with a copper roof.

The building façades were covered with horizontal copper plate panels. Sliding perforated panels were used for covering the glazing at the entrance point, whereas the fixed panels mounted on both sides of the façade  together with the roofing are the framework for the water printer measuring 46.5 meters in length. The water falling from the printer creates pre-programmed patterns and captions – a prelude to the theme of the exhibition  and the main primary accent of the entrance elevation.

Thus created water curtain fills the front elevation. It constitutes its integral part. It opens up in front of the passing visitors allowing for interaction and first contact with water.

The water printer is made up of twelve modules concealed beneath the copper lining of the elevation, connected with the technical section of the building. Each module has a set of controlled solenoid valves and nozzles responsible for the effects created by the printer. The water in the printer circulates in a closed system.

Copper is also the finishing touch of the entrance hall; it illuminates the interior and harmonises with the matt surfaces of black metal sheets, slabs of concrete and reinforced concrete. The sunlight penetrates through irregular holes in the perforated panels, fills the space and creates a unique interplay of light and reflections. Pre-oxidised vertical panels of copper sheet are used here.

The main accent within this space is a vortex captured within a closed transparent cylinder measuring 2.8 m in height and 1.6 m in diameter. It is located centrally between the staircases on level -1.

Interior - Exhibit Centre

Hydropolis is the first in the World centre dedicated entirely to Water the most omnipresent substance on our planet.

The exhibition has a narrative character. Visitors actively participate in the story of the beginnings of water in the universe, (360 degree projection) they learn about the amazing creatures that live in the ocean depths, emerge to the surface to understand its significance for the environment and the role of the vital functions in human body. They also learn about the history of water engineering and water management, from antiquity to modern times. The exhibits presenting historical water engineering solutions are also made of copper.

The four thousand square meters (43,000 sq. feet) of the Z1 reservoir surface area has been divided into nine theme zones.

Almost every zone contains educational media, touch screens, exhibits, cinemas and thematic projections. Visitors find out how various Antiquity inventions work, such as Heron’s engine (aeolipyle) or Ctesibius’ water clock. They can see the reach of the Millennium Flood of 1997 on a huge interactive map of Wrocław and trigger off an acoustic storm created in cylinders hanging from the ceiling. They will also be able to enter the interior of the bathyscaphe “Trieste”. Hydropolis is designed for visitors of all ages – children will find games prepared specially for them, and for the more demanding and older visitors there is Hydropedia – a database of copyright articles arranged thematically in each zone.

HYDROPOLIS is a place where a variety of multimedia technologies, art installations and an impressive exhibition form serve one purpose – to present water from various fascinating perspectives.

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    ART FM team:Mieczysław Bielawski (creative director),Architects: Magdalena Piwek, Maksymilian Majoch, Łukasz Markiewicz, Jan Witkowski,Karol Ornatowski, Michał Hnatowski and Avishay Ave Hadari (art director).Graphic design: Maciej Ochęcki, Wawrzyniec Stefański, Justyna Jaworska,Tomasz Sarna.Content development: Tomasz Natora, Wojciech Głowa, Jan Bielawski,Joanna Rey-Jankowicz, Agnieszka Sulikowska.Project manager: Katarzyna Kostecka, Grzegorz Kamiński.   The clean water reservoir was...

    Project details
    • Year 2015
    • Work finished in 2015
    • Status Completed works
    • Type Multi-purpose Cultural Centres / Pavilions / Media Libraries
    Lovers 21 users