The Małopolska Garden of Arts
Ingarden & Ewý

May 13, 2013 /

Krakow, Poland

Exterior vew. Photo courtesy Ingarden & Ewý

By George Peter Surovov

The Małopolska Garden of Arts (MGA) is the work of Polish studio Ingarden & Ewý, and is currently one of the most celebrated building in Kraków, Poland. With the help of structural remnants of a former horse-riding arena, the MGA merges a theatre and library, bringing a contemporary aura adjacent to Kraków's historic center.

In 2004 Krzysztof Orzechowski, Director of the Juliusz Słowacki and Janusz Sepiol theaters, initiated a competition held by the Union of Polish Architects to create a new cultural institution in Kraków. MGA was the winning entry, with a strategic location opposite of perhaps the first Polish cultural institution founded in 1758, the Wojewodzka Regional Library. The site was already a destination for students and emerging culture and was a natural fit for enriching the cultural growth in Kraków.

The Program

The MGA is a physical and institutional hybrid between Juliusz Słowacki Theatre and the Malopolska Voivodeship Library. The slatted clay façade hangs on a glass frame, creating a T- shaped footprint, which extends over the existing library and the new multifunctional theatre with a garden courtyard. The library is situated in the western, or vertical, wing of the T-shape, while the theatre stretches north to south, horizontally.  

The new theatre embellish upon a renovation of an old storage facility to an adaptable hi-tech venue that can operate an as a studio theatre, conference center, or exhibition space. A transformative entrance of industrial beams frames a foyer garden, consisting of alternating planting beds and benches, with a lone yet striking maple tree. This creates an inviting public space, which welcomes users into a cultural atmosphere.

The library has a separate entrance fitted to the sidewalk, bordering an additional garden passageway to a side entrance of the theater. Its three floors now include a modern art exhibit, multimedia sections, and café.  

Ingarden-Ewy--Malopolska-Garden-of-Arts-2.jpgThe garden entrance from the side of Rajska Street, or the gateway to the stage out onto the street. Photo courtesy Ingarden & Ewý

The Concept

The collaboration between architects Krzysztof Ingarden and Jacek Ewý, represents a contextual game between "mimesis and the abstraction". The building does not literally resurrect its form from its context, but uses it as an inspirational reference of geometry and composition of its neighbouring facades. Following the code of scale and respecting existing linear elements allows the contemporary materials to appear in a conversation with the surrounding neighbourhood. The architects' understanding of environmental gestures is clearly executed in this design.  


MGA was awarded the  Janusz Bogdanowski Award for making the greatest contribution to architecture in Kraków in 2012. It was also most recently the winner of the 2013 Architizer A+ Popular Vote Award.


Ingarden-Ewy--Malopolska-Garden-of-Arts-3.jpgThe garden passageway. Photo courtesy Ingarden & Ewý

Ingarden-Ewy--Malopolska-Garden-of-Arts-4.jpgThe entrance to the library on Szujskiego Street. Photo courtesy Ingarden & Ewý

Ingarden-Ewy--Malopolska-Garden-of-Arts-5.jpgImitating flower beds, equal bands with low greens and alternating benches. Photo courtesy Ingarden & Ewý

Ingarden-Ewy--Malopolska-Garden-of-Arts-6.jpgAdaptable state-of-the-art theater  holds retractable stages and seating for 300 people. Photo courtesy Ingarden & Ewý

Ingarden-Ewy--Malopolska-Garden-of-Arts-7.jpgNight image showcasing the stunning façade and building atmosphere. Photo courtesy Ingarden & Ewý

Aerial model photo highlighting to T-shape building footprint.  Photo courtesy Ingarden & Ewý

Ingarden-Ewy--Malopolska-Garden-of-Arts-9-sketch.jpgSketch courtesy Ingarden & Ewý

Sketch courtesy Ingarden & Ewý



Plan, level 0. Drawing courtesy Ingarden & Ewý




Plan, 1st level. Drawing courtesy Ingarden & Ewý





Plan, 2nd level. Drawing courtesy Ingarden & Ewý





Plan, 3rd level. Drawing courtesy Ingarden & Ewý







Section, AA. Drawing courtesy Ingarden & Ewý






Section, BB. Drawing courtesy Ingarden & Ewý





Section, CC. Drawing courtesy Ingarden & Ewý




Section, DD. Drawing courtesy Ingarden & Ewý




Section, EE. Drawing courtesy Ingarden & Ewý




Site plan. Drawing courtesy Ingarden & Ewý

Facts about The Małopolska Garden of Arts

Building area: 

1 579,3m2


Slowacki Theater in Krakow

Floor usable area:  4330,76 m²

Multifunctional hall:  299 seats

Club cinema:  78 seats

Address: Rajska Street 12, Krakow, Poland

Architecture: Ingarden & Ewý Architects (IEA)

Author: Krzysztof Ingarden, architect, Ph.D.

Collaboration: Jacek Ewý, architect

Interior design: Ingarden & Ewý Architects and 'Pracownia S.C.': Agnieszka Cwynar- Łaska, Marta Spodar

Acoustics: Inter-Eko Sp. z o.o., Jan Adamczyk, Lesław Stryczniewicz, Dorota Szałyga

Stage technology: Przedsiębiorstwo Projektowo-Usługowe "OTO", Tomasz Ostrowski, Zbigniew Kośka

Structure: GSBK Biuro Konstrukcyjne - Mariusz Szefer, Jarosław Zdeb. Samsoor Shaheed

HVAC: TW Engineers Sp. Z o.o., Tadeusz Wołek, Monika Pantoł, Maria Eustachiewicz

Electrical Systems: ES-System - Jan Wachacki, Paweł Bugno, Bożena Paluchowska

Roads: Altrans, Stanisław Albricht, Ewa Dudek,

Landscape design: Land Arch - Karolina Bober, Małgorzata Tujko

Fire consultant: Janusz Siata

Project engineer: Lider: OTS-IP Sp. z o.o. Kraków; Partner: Dom Inżynierski PROMIS SA, Szczecin

General contractor: PBO Skobud Sp. z o.o., Żywiec

Last updated: December 19, 2013

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