Opus Film offices
LODZ (PL) - Romuald Loegler's new office building is a colour film in the midst of the dull, grey scenery of the post-industrial and post-communist city.
Just as Americans have their Hollywood and Indians their Bollywood, Polish people for decades have realized their cinematographic dreams in Lodz, a city in central Poland that is also known for its textile industry. When the state-owned film studios, which were in their prime under the communist regime, started to decline, young and dynamic companies such as Opus Film arose to take their place. For both of Lodz's chief industries, the change of system in 1989 meant new free market challenges and a harsh, and sometimes even ruthless, reality. The city lost its splendour, becoming quiet and drab. But after a few years it slowly began to learn the new rules. Opus Film is probably one of the best students in this rather peculiar school of hard knocks. Its greatest artistic achievement in the immaterial field of film has been Edi, which not long ago won an Oscar nomination. Its greatest achievement in the material world has been a new building for its headquarters, designed by Romuald Loegler. Edi in a spectacular way appeals to the great cinematographic traditions of Lodz. The recently finished Opus Film office building appeals to the rationality of the city's urban planning and to the refinement of historical local architecture.
The building is located near one of the city's busiest thoroughfares, a street of kitschy office blocks and bank buildings, a gigantic shopping gallery that unsuccessfully pretends to be a row of modern tenements, and a romantically-stylized McDonald's hut. Opus Film is situated in an out-of-the-way place some distance from this banal street. Although it is visually modest, its geometrical simplicity has already become emblematic of a small film town. It is the first stage of the town's complete renovation. It is rational, but at the same time not without a touch of poetry. A fully transparent facade with coloured glass fins jutting out of it establishes the building's identity. Depending on the weather, the time of the day, the colour of the sky and the light, various plastic effects can be achieved. The surfaces, which overlap one another from certain perspectives, give the elevation a filmic character. As well as allowing people to see what is happening inside the building, the facade is itself a spectacle, reflecting different shapes and colours. For passers-by, Loegler's latest creation is a colour film in the midst of the dull, grey scenery of the post-industrial and post-communist city.
Romuald Loegler is an experienced practitioner, a traditionalist with a liking for modernity. He finds architecture's value in clear, modular divisions, understated arrangements, refined, first-class materials, and a clear relation between structure and form. Opus Film, then, is a simple office building. Its internal layout, which is maximally open and modifiable, is divided into two main sections: a smaller one used by the owners, and a bigger one intended for rent. The interior arrangement is based on demountable, wooden partition walls, and all rooms are equipped with technical services that can easily be adjusted to users' needs. The office space is open to the outside world through its glazed elevation while from behind their desks its users look out at a neighbouring church, a lovely wooden gabled house and, in the background, a huge municipal park.
The three-storey office block adjoins an old film production hangar. It is here that the building's circulation zone is located: the main staircase, the elevator and the galleries giving access to the offices on each floor. A narrow void between the walls of the hangar and the new building has been covered with a glazed roof, allowing natural light to penetrate the ground level. The circulation area has become warmer as a result, even atmospheric, and the whole building – despite its geometrical rigidity – gains unexpected sense of space. This spaciousness, together with the deliberate discipline, precise realization, the architect's expertise and the client's enthusiasm, helped to achieve the ideals of an architectural object: the neighbours' acceptance and the users' satisfaction.
May | 2005 | Poland | Roman Rutkowski & Lukasz Wojciechowski