Arkadia Shopping Centre in Warsaw – It was my first project which I was involved in. At the moment I joinded the project team, it was the largest shopping centre built in Eastern Europe. Soon after two years later lost the title to another centre in Mosco, and there was no longer the largest in Poland after finishing Manufaktura in Lodz. It doesn’t change my conviction that it was very important (because it was first) challenge in my proffessional life. The Centre was finished in autumn 2004 and I participated in the design team since October 2003 (just after finishing my civil engineering faculty).
The total area of the centre, built by 270 milion euros, almost 287 000 square meters, on five floors (including two basement floors, designed for car parking). Gross Leaseable Area (GLA) of Arkadia Shopping Centre it is almost 103 000 square meters. This number includes 230 comercial premises, including 180 shops, 20 service units and 30 restaurants and cafes. Each floor has a characterisitic leading Arcadia profile:
- Level -2 and -1: in total 4000 car parking places on two underground levels.
- Level 0: it is primarily a place of everyday shopping: are located here hypermarket, sport shop, DYI, home decorating as well as small electrical apliances, multimedia, furnitures. Also on the ground floor there are five restaurants with a separate entrance from the front of the building with a garden, available regardless of the opening hours of the center.
- Level 1: it is fashion and extras. Here you will find mostly clothing stores which make up World of Fashion. A specific feature of Arcada is the entire first floor is designed only for fashion shops. Proper selection of shops provides consumers with a broad , croos-range, both in the youth and family, as well as selected top brands. At the same level there is also a food court and a medical clinic ENEL-MED and a fitness club Holmes Place.
- Level 2: It is fun – multiplex Cinema City with 15 screens.
Whole city is divided into four shopping malls by the quadrangle plan. They were given names after their style and are called Wisła (Vistula), Kopernik (Copernicus), Pan Twardowski (Mr Twardowski – mitological traveller to the Moon) and Canaletto.
Each mall has its own character, different architecture and symbolism. For example, the architecture of the Vistula mall is strictly related to Vistula river views. In the middle of the mall the blue ribbon writhing symbolising the river. In turn, the roof was cut out huge wavywindow.
The passage of Copernicus decoration refers to astronomy and mathematics. Passage of Mr. Twardowski is the intentions of the creators to take customers into the world of fairy tales. The Canaletto passage refers to the climate of urban design shopping street. What is interesting, every lesee had to adapt design of own shop fronts to the main project of passage. It was watched by the architects of centre.
Outside the square with a fountain is a mirror image f the internal Theatrum. High on the two floors of gallleries, the space is a place where they take place in future exhibition and performances. Before entering the centre a substitute of the park was designed. Its focal point is a fountain. It can operate in three modes; normal, musical – when water gushees to the music, and special. In the latter the water gushes from the frequency depending on which of the thiles surrounding the fountain will be just stepped on.
The last picture shows Arkadia, which I will always rember – long before, it was cladded in elegant red block of concrete hung on consoles as seen on drawing below.