Poznań Castle Cultural Centre: Modernisation with Cofraplus® composite flooring

The Neo-Romanesque castle in Poznań, originally built as a residence for the German emporor William II in 1910, is now home to the city's Cultural Centre. Between 2010 and 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 from ArcelorMittal.

Detailed information

Design and realisation

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

Therefore, a design competition for the modernisation of Poznań Castle was launched in 2007 and was 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 for the 'Conversion of the Grand Hall Complex of Zamek Cultural Centre' was signed in 2010.

Work 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 building's 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 the 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 restoration.

A special surprise was waiting for the construction team in the attic: When clearing out the rubble, an unexploded WW II mortar shell was found and had to be removed by the military's exposive diposal unit.

Concrete walls were torn down, and the interior structure was entirely replaced by a column-beam steel structure. Large parts of the flooring system were removed, while other parts were replaced with composite flooring with increased load capacity made necessary because of the new design and re-arrangements.

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

Cofraplus® 60

For the composite flooring systems, Cofraplus® 60 from ArcelorMittal was used. The Technical Advisory Team from ArcelorMittal Construction Poland assisted in the design phase in order to optimise 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 for 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. Thanks to this, installation was finished in less time, with reduced costs.

A new design

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

Due to its function, the interior structure is highly acoustically insolated and 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 furnishings to guarantee the audience an experience for all senses.

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

Poznań Castle through history

Built in Neo-Romanesque style betwwn 1905 and 1910 by Franz Heinrich Schwechten, the castle was the provincial residence of German emperor William II,  King of Prussia. In 1918 and 1919, after the Greater Polish Uprising, the castle became the 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 the castle into Hitler's new residence. Large portions 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 a lack of funds, only a few German symbols were removed. As Poznań's town hall as well as many other important buildings in the city were destroyed during WW II, a new town hall was set up in the castle. In the 1960s, it became the city's cultural centre, and since 1979 it has been a protected national historical monument.

Project information

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