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Good Will Farm (Farma Dobrej Woli)

The project is to build two one-story buildings: an administrative and service building and a residential building, 3D visualization: architectural office KIK ARCHITEKCI

The project is to build two one-story buildings: an administrative and service building and a residential building, 3D visualization: architectural office KIK ARCHITEKCI

An innovative project dedicated to people with special needs

The plan was simple, yet complex at the same time: to build a greenfield development on two plots of land as a place for people with physical and intellectual disabilities to live, work and feel secure and comfortable. The idea resonated with students of the Warsaw University of Technology. Soon, they started to put that vision into practice. After a year of effort, they have the concept of a Good Will Farm (Polish: Farma Dobrej Woli) ready and they are full of enthusiasm to follow through with the initiative.

“This is our third project concept,” explains Krystian Cyganek, a student of the Warsaw University of Technology and the chief coordinator of the Farm project. “Each new concept was better and better accommodated to the needs of the future residents than the previous one. Modifications were made upon consultations with those who know the challenges that people with disabilities face.

Three key characteristics

The project is to build two one-story buildings: an administrative and service building (with a meeting room and a common medical consultation room) and a residential building (consisting of a complex of linked terraced houses). Each resident will have their own room and dedicated continuous care. Bathrooms will always be located between two rooms with direct access from both. The heart of the complex will be a unit housing a large dining room, a kitchen and a workshop room. “And all will be integrated into the green area,” says Krystian Cyganek. “We want to create a sensory garden, too.”

Buildings are intended to have three characteristics, i.e. be smart (or safe and accessible to ensure residents’ comfort), green (i.e. using solutions to minimize energy consumption) and universal (or designed to accommodate all social groups, with a special focus on people with disabilities).

This means taking care of the obvious (like no thresholds) as well as of the more complex aspects (such as a window control system for precise room ventilation and temperature and fresh air and air humidity regulation or a continuous health monitoring system for residents and many more). “Rooms will be finished to individual requirements but the functional layout must be thought-out in advance,” says Krystian Cyganek.

3D visualization: architectural office KIK ARCHITEKCI

3D visualization: architectural office KIK ARCHITEKCI

Those buildings will cover one plot. The other plot is to be converted into a green farm. The residents could work there, if possible: grow plants or breed animals. 

“We do not want to create a closed space,” Krystian Cyganek hastens to add. “On the contrary, our aim is to make the place open to the local community.”

Putting the vision into practice

The originator of the undertaking is Jacek Zalewski, President of the Good Will Association (Polish: Stowarzyszenie Dobra Wola), whose members are families of people with disabilities. He is a father to a disabled son, Kuba, himself. “Mr. Zalewski approached the Warsaw University of Technology still before 2017 and told us about his idea; he told us he wanted to build smart houses for disabled people and had two plots of land in the Chynów Commune, Grójec District, to use for that purpose,” says Krystian Cyganek. “He was looking for creative people that would believe in his vision and help make it happen.”

Students of the Warsaw University of Technology rose to the challenge. In September 2017, Krystian Cyganek started to build up a team for the project. People across the various WUT faculties, fields and student research groups volunteered, with a group from the Warsaw University of Life Sciences (SGGW) and one from the University of Warsaw (UW) also joining. This was crucial as a venture such as this one requires knowledge and skills spanning a very broad range of disciplines: from architecture and urban planning, universal design and landscaping through heating, air-conditioning, ventilation and power engineering to automation and electronics. “We grouped into project teams and got down to work,” recalls Krystian Cyganek.

More than 60 students have become involved in the work

More than 60 students have become involved in the work

However, gaining an in-depth understanding of the daily life and challenges of the disabled was more important than bringing engineering background into practice. To this end, the students had a plethora of meetings and discussions. They consulted parents, caregivers, oligophrenopedagogists and representatives of schools, nursing facilities and foundations, our university’s academic staff and an architect’s studio.

They held countless meetings internally. Occasionally, such discussions would result in dramatic alterations. “I remember one day students of architecture brought their design,” says Krystian Cyganek. “When students of power engineering looked at it, they cried it could not look like that because the buildings would generate too large heat losses. That way we shared knowledge and learned a lot from each other.”

Specialists needed

The final concept of the Good Will Farm was unveiled in June at the meeting wrapping up the first year of work. The students delivered the design to Jacek Zalewski. They are planning to further develop the idea but professional support is now needed more than ever. “We definitely need to get a professional project cost estimate,” says Krystian Cyganek. “We would also want to start working with a firm who holds building designer’s and architectural designer’s licenses and could help prepare an appropriate building permit design.”

Photo:  Jakub Kaczorowski

Photo: Jakub Kaczorowski

More than 60 students have become involved in the work on the Good Will Farm to date. Students of the Faculty of Architecture have been the busiest so far as they have prepared all three design concepts, including the final one, working with other project teams. However, the project is divided into stages. Other groups of students are ready to put forward their ideas in their respective fields and contribute to the project at the right time.

Solutions such as the Good Will Farm are a reality in the Scandinavian countries. Nothing like this has been established in Poland. Until now.

For more information about the project, visit the dedicated website and Facebook


Agnieszka Kapela

Promotion and Information Office