The “Eye Never Sleeps” festival provided the backdrop for this project, showcased in the Exposeum building, courtesy of an invitation from the esteemed curator and artist, Robert Kuśmirowski.
This project represents a contemporary endeavor to re-imagine the DAG Fabrik Bromberg building in Bydgoszcz, grounded in its historical legacy. Established in 1917 in the German sector of Bydgoszcz, the DAG (Deutsche Automobil-Gesellschaft) factory played a pivotal role in the city’s history. During World War II, it was a vital hub for the production of military equipment, manufacturing components for tanks and other military vehicles. Post-war, as Poland took control of the city, the factory underwent a transformation, becoming part of the state industry under the Polish People’s Republic. This shift led to numerous organizational changes over the years. After the fall of communism in 1989 and Poland’s transition to a market economy, many industrial plants, including DAG Fabrik, encountered economic challenges. The factory underwent further changes through privatization and restructuring, ultimately becoming the property of the City of Bydgoszcz.
Design and Architecture
Observing contemporary photographs of the DAG Fabrik building and its interior, one can’t help but be struck by its captivating proportions and enduring strength. Despite the passage of time and the weight of history, its geometric structure continues to exude its inherent power. While its original purpose has faded, the spirit of yesteryears remains palpable.
The building has weathered wars, regime changes, and societal shifts. Today, what’s most fascinating are the elements it has lost, the voids that define its history. There are no machines, some walls are gone, and most notably, the facade is absent. These gaps and absences are integral to the building’s narrative, harking back to a time when machinery hummed, labor was endured, and the facade was both a shield and a symbol of authority.
The contemporary structure is incomplete, bearing gaps that spark the imagination. The concept aims to preserve the old structure with its partial window frames, aged concrete walls with telltale dripstones, and rust. This forms the foundation that connects to the building’s identity while introducing a new layer, an internal, opaque shield that separates us from the living forest of history’s transformations.
The former fragile glass, now vanished, becomes a symbol of change and transformation. It metamorphoses into an everlasting shield, perhaps fashioned from concrete or weathering corten steel. This represents a symbol of change, a Transformation. It’s a new shield intended to safeguard the art within from the relentless march of time—a secure space that retains its monumentality but is now tamed and less barbaric.
The attached sketches illustrate the process of crafting this artistic concept. It’s a process seeking a method to redefine the building—a method that communicates through architectural language, both simple and lucid. There’s also an element of anarchy in this solution, where the old concrete structures are juxtaposed with triangular divisions, originally foreign to this block, their poetics emerging solely from the narrative of shattered glass. This is a deliberate approach.
The introverted form of the new structure, sealing off the forest view and blocking the light, fundamentally transforms the interior of the building. It compels us to focus on what lies within without distractions or attempts at integration.