Project by
Zuzana Mielczarek
Master Track
Architecture
Supervisors
Eirene Schreurs, Leo van den Burg, Bas Gremmen and Robert Gorny
Date of graduation
07 November 2016

The Upper Silesian agglomeration is an industrial area in southern Poland, currently facing numerous issues rooted in its legacy as a formerly prosperous coal mining industry. The rise of the industrial empire, which emerged in the beginning of the 19th century, made this coal-rich area a boom region which, being exhausted today, makes it in need of new models of labour and living. The political transformations of 1989 did not help the plight of Silesia. Inept authorities, poorly executed restructuring and unsuccessful privatization saw the decline of big industry, the loss of workplaces and energy sources. Along with it, the whole community lost its prior identity. The mines were not just a centre of work but also a place of friendship and celebration. Nowadays cities like Bytom, one of the most problematic of the Silesian area, face issues of constantly rising unemployment, population decline and an uncertain future. At the same time, the industrial spirit remains. with most of the former miners still alive and adrift in the post-industrial landscape. The question is: ‘Does it really need to be “post”?’ Can the current limbo lead to the reinterpretation of industrial traditions at the roots of a new urban system, contemporary still embedded in the atmosphere and tradition of the past?