The Engineering Project carried out at the Institute of Architectural Design A-2 at the  University of Technology in Cracow under supervision of Tomasz Kapecki PhD, Eng. of Architecture. A study of Portuguese culture based on own experience gained as a part of student exchange of the Erasmus+ program.

Portuguese Cultural Centre, as the name suggests, should be a place that is open and available for everyone. Among others, it will be the place pulsing with life enriched with exotic elements of sunny Portugal. Nowadays, creation of an area where the social ties will be built and developed is extremely desired. In the age of digitalisation and globalisation there is a visible tendency to closing in the virtual world. What is the reason for this? On the one hand, it is convenience, but it also can be caused by the fear of making contacts with another people. Home- safeness, happiness, friendly atmosphere- are the slogans that constantly accompany the design process of this building. In Portugal, which became an inspiration for this structure, family and social life play an important role in the relationships of every human being.

Facilities of this type, that can be found in almost every Polish city, have various function, such as reading rooms, day rooms, sometimes even cinema halls and bigger rooms that can be used in many ways. This is also in this case. Functional programme has been broadened to include cafes, restaurants and even exhibition hall. In consequence. there is no place for boredom. I tried to answer the need to build an open and functional space as well as take advantage of the opportunities that modern technologies and materials give. Moreover, the problem of integration with the historical  ‘city tissue’ was mentioned. This project does not end with the theoretical considerations and the proposal for implementation in a specific location.


The location of the plot on which the facility is designed is situated in the immediate vicinity of the oldest city layouts, namely Podzamcze St. and Floriana Straszewskiego St. in the Old Town district. On the opposite side, there is Wawel Hill with the Royal Castle which increases the rank of this place and gives it a unique prestige. An important aspect is without a doubt the location of the main entrance, technical entrances and entry to the undergroud garage. Based on the analysis of pedestrian traffic- in this case Podzamcze St. is more frequent which is the reason for  placing the entrance to the building from this sid.

When looking closer to the location being developed, existing frontages should be analyzed. Particular attention is paid to the frontage exposed to the bastion of the Royal Castle, which is very diverse in terms of height. The corner from the Vistula Boulevard is high. The building has four floors and a large loft. Its height in the level of the cornice is similar to the height of the cornice in the neighboring building plot, however the ridge is clearly higher. In the middle in the whole frontage stands out a tenement  with three superstructure floors that in the future probably  will be rebuilt. The proposed dimensions of the designed building in the corner of the quarter refer to the existing one on the other side, which gently allows to lift the characteristic points and close the frontage.

Scheme of shaping the mass of the building

1 – creating a ‘solid’ framework for the designed building that will combine it with the existing context.

2 – designing space with the most important functions in the building with the view of the Wawel Hill (functional core of cultural centre)

3 – emphasising the ground floor and the entry zone

4 – providing sun protection (glass facades and the exposure of the building on the south side)

5 – creating space for an existing tree

6 – diversification of the final levels of the building, solving the problem of linking to existing neighbor (moving away and rotating the ‘frame’ fragment)


The designed functional system is clear and consistent. The main entrance is emphasized in the body of the object. Visitors from the entrance zone are directed to the café, reading room or higher floors. The communication zone is combined with passive reception of the promotion zone. Moreover, in interior design elements can be found the Portuguese symbols. Floor, staircase balustrade, and green – these and other elements build a unique atmosphere of the place. On the top floor there is a restaurant and ‘Enoteka’ bar where visitors can taste Portuguese wine. From the balcony, guests can admire the beauty of the surrounding landscape, observe the bend of Vistula, the Royal Castle and teaming with life streets of the Old Town.