Atelier Starzak Strebicki
Learning every day
Poznan, PL

Atelier Starzak Strebicki is an architecture, urbanism, research and design practice. After the first design commission they won for the masterplan for Strombeek-Bever, the team, led by Jola Starzak and Dawid Strębicki, covers several fields of action, from urban furniture to interiors. They are currently working from their office located in a 20th century city villa in Poznan, Poland.

 

Reflecting on the beginnings in retrospect

While we’re getting older and the distance from the beginnings of the office is great, we’ve started to reflect a little bit differently on the topic of the beginning. We perceive today more as having back then in 2011 and 2012 an urge to change something. One of the issues concerned was that we’d moved to Poland (from the Benelux) and started our own office. The choice for the office had somewhere as well to do with the fact that the education in the Universities was mainly individual, pushing us towards the ultimate goal: to set up an architectural office. And then we won a competition: A masterplan for Strombeek-Bever in Belgium. 

 

Lessons learnt from the beginnings

Search for holes in the market, they can be diverse. However, try to avoid overcrowded situations, where the competition among colleagues is huge and chances for rewards small. This of course differs in many different cultural contexts in Europe, but can concern competitions, getting new commissions or participation in events. We find that over the years, we (as a profession) easily put aside the business consequences of our production and by that, through our enthusiasm, allowed ourselves to be misused.

 

Trying to constantly manage time well

I suppose we’re heroes, as to have time to answer nicely your questions. I  am sitting on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the office. Most of the organisational aspects and extras are prepared over the weekend in the office. We have long been trying to minimize this with a questionable success. After 7 years of running the office we’re working on very different issues and they have different speeds, timespans, type of client, scale, etc. So, during the week we are mainly reacting to the challenges. 

 

Working in a creative house

The space of work is a great enjoyment for us, we’re still mainly working from the house we live in. The mixed situation and the energy of constant movement of people brought in daily is nice because it allows the available space (an early 20th century city villa) to be used to its maximum. Currently it houses 9 architects (2 partners, 2 employees and 5 interns) and 5 inhabitants (2 architects, 1 teacher, 1 photographer and 1 philosopher – all family members).

 

A strong cultural shift

With moving to Poland from the Benelux, we changed our place of living. What we didn’t realise back then was that we were changing our cultural context in such a big way. We can reflect upon the differences in operating as an architect, the manner of competing between the architects and the presence of the Universities between the European Countries. 

The stepping stones are very different and rather even local in Europe. The manner the stepping stones work in Poland seems to not fit perfectly our character and it seems that we feel more at ease in operating in other European countries (from our home base in Poznań, Poland).

portrait Atelier Starzak Strebicki Jola Starzak + Dawid Strebicki 1 Dawid Strebicki

04 at the office in 2017 working on Building C Kahawa Batory Dawid Strebicki

Photography Courtesy of Atelier Starzak Strebicki

1 Mateusz Bieniaszczyk min

Photography Mateusz Bieniaszczyk






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