Modernisation of Poznan Castle Cultural Centre with Cofraplus® composite flooring by ArcelorMittal

The Neoromanesque castle of Poznan, originally built as a residence for the German emporor William II in 1910, houses now the city's Cultural Centre. From 2010 to 2012, the interiors were completely restructured and adapted to the requirements of a modern institution of this kind. The structure was reinforced with Cofraplus composite flooring by ArcelorMittal.

Detailed information

Design and realization

Since the 1960ies, the castle – which is actually a palace – houses the city's arts centre, offering a wide range of activities around music, visual arts, theatre and film. But modern arts and culture require modern locations and equipment, and the castle, due to its turbulent history and numoures changes could not fulfil the needs of today's hightech arts installations and exhibitions.

Therefore, a design competition on the modernisation of Poznan castle was launched in 2007 and won by TOYA Design and architect Magdalena Dzioba & Team. After two years of evaluation of the project by the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the project of the “Conversion of the Grand Hall Complex of Zamek Cultural Centre” was signed in 2010.

Works started in December the same year with the complete dismantling of all interior furnishings and fittings of the Grand Hall complex in the eastern wing of the castle. From the ground floor to the attic, everything was removed to uncover the buildings structural elements. A study of the existing walls, columns, beams and floors was carried out in order to evaluate the load bearing capacities for the conversion.

In course of the dismantling, wall friezes hidden between the real and the suspended ceilings of the Grand Hall (Throne Hall) were discovered. They were detached to be restored and put into place again, the same happened with the chandelier in the Smoking Room. The Marbel Hall's coffered ceiling also underwent extensive restauration.

A special surprise was prepared for the construction team on the attic: when clearing out the rubble, an unexploded WW2 mortar shell was found – and had to be removed by the military exposive diposal unit.

Conrete walls were torn down, the interior structure was entirely replaced by a column-beam steel structure. Great parts of the flooring system were removed, other parts replaced by composite flooring with increased load capacity necessary due to the new design and re-arrangements.

The steel structure of the floors under the Grand Hall was reinforced with new floor slabs, also its ceiling was reinforced.

Cofraplus® 60

For the composite flooring systems, Cofraplus ® 60 by ArcelorMittal was used. The Technical Advisory Team by ArcelorMittal Construction Poland already assisted in the design phase to optimize the solution.

The use of Cofraplus ® offered many advantages for this project:
a slab of this kind is much lighter than a traditional concrete slab solution, which was important since the load bearing capacity of the original structural elements of the building was limited. The design of an appropriate support structure of the slab made it possible to eliminate the time consuming stamping during concrete pouring. Furthermore, Cofraplus ® sheets can be installed manually, very easily and quickly and without heavy lifting equipment inside the building. Due to this fact, installation could be finished in less time, with reduced costs.

New design

From the first floor hallway, a semi-circular stairway leads up to a mezzanine, which is crowned by a 300sqm skylight made of glass panels and steel structure, resembling Warsaw's Zlote Tarasy shopping centre. The floor of the Mezzanine is also made of glass.

Due to its function, the interior structure is highly acoustically insolated, existing and new structural members were protected against fire.

All rooms, among them the Grand Hall, Minor and Main Hall, the Rehearsal Room and the New Stage, were equipped with state-of-the-art technical and entertainment installations and furnishing to guarantee the audience an experience for all senses.

The works were concluded end of November 2012 and on December 14th 2012 the cultural centre was inaugurated officially.

Poznan Castle through history

Built in Neoromanesque style from 1905 to 1910 by Franz Heinrich Schwechten, it was the provincial residence of German emperor William II,  King of Prussia. In 1918/1919, after the Greater Polish Uprising, the castle became property of the Second Polish Republic and as such residence of the Chief of State and later, the president. Parts of the complex were used by a ministry and also by the university.

After 1939, with the incorporation of Poland into Nazi Germany, works were started to convert it into Hitler's new residence. Great parts were changed into the style of the Third Reich, a bunker was built underneath the castle, but in 1943 works were stopped. In 1945 it served as a camp for German war prisoners, then as camp for the Polish People's Army. The Communist Government wanted to demolish it, being a “symbol of German occupation”, but due to lacking funds, only a few German symbols were removed. Since Poznan's City Hall as well as many other important buildings in the city were destroyed in the WW2, the “New City Hall” was set up in the castle. In the 60ies it became the city's cultural centre and since 1979 it is a protected national historical monument.

Project Information

  • Poznan
  • Poland
  • Architect:
    Toya Design & Magdalena Dzioba & Team
  • 2010 - 2012
  • Client:
    Centrum Kultury Zamek
  • Contractor:
    Skanska S.A
  • Photographer: Maciej Kaczynski © CK Zamek w Poznaniu, ArcelorMittal Construction Polska