The Silesian territory of Poland has endured centuries of tumult, which has resulted in its fragmented identity. This history casts a shadow over Dobrodzien, a town in the rural part of Silesia where the forsaken estate of Bzionkow is located.
There is an undeniable fear of the past that haunts Dobrodzien, as it tries to launch itself into the future. It is not too late to cure this fear. The past can be confronted at Bzionkow; the abandoned estate is a place in need of care. We propose that the ruins be covered by new enclosures so that they can become inhabitable – so that the space between old and new becomes occupiable as the translucent shells look to the future and the aged brick walls keep on living as witnesses of the past. And for whom would this place be more suited than the rapidly increasing elderly population? Like Silesia’s different pasts and like the ruins of Bzionkow, the elderly are storehouses of memory in need of care. Only by bringing together old and new can we imagine a better future for Bzionkow – a future that does not always erase what has been and cultivates what could be. (Design Studio, taught by Aleksandr Mergold)