Slew of awards across the country for architectural designs helping those with disabilities

Warsaw’s Hala Koszyki won an award in the Urban Architecture category for its well-thought out planning. Hala Koszyki/Facebook

Which buildings are the most welcoming to people with disabilities? That is the broad question asked by the “Lider Dostępności” (Leader in Accessibility) architecture competition in Poland, which recognises projects that have been adapted to their needs.

As part of the promotion of the active inclusion of disabled people in society, one of the EU’s priorities is accessibility, the European Accessibility Act approved this year seeks to make various products and services more accessible to people with disabilities and the elderly, from ATMs to flying.

In Poland, an Accessibility Plus programme seeks to adapt public space, architecture, transport and products to all citizens, regardless of their degree of mobility.

The new pedestrian street on Św. Marcin in Poznan scooped an award in the Public Space category. Studio ADS

Now in its four year, the competition organised by the Friends of Integration Association, together with the Association of Polish Urbanists, focuses on buildings and urbanism.

This year, almost 60 entries were assessed by the jury, made up of specialists and experts on accessibility.

The sports centre for the disabled in Krakow was praised and awarded in the Public Services category.KÄRCHER Hala Cracovia

Prizes were awarded in eight categories, for the best public space, network of branches, cultural or educational space, service space, residential or hotel space, heritage site, architect or urbanist and the Grand Prix, awarded to a company or institution, regardless of category.

'A modern state is one that sees the needs of every human being and does everything to avoid exclusion,' said Duda, presenting the awards.Radek Pietruszka/PAP

The winners included BNP Paribas Bank Polska, which came first in the network of branches category, and Warsaw-based JEMS Architekci, which won the architect award. The Grand Prix went to the University of Warsaw.

The prizes were awarded by President Andrzej Duda, under whose patronage the competition was organised, in a ceremony at the Presidential Palace on May 8.

Katowice’s International Congress Centre was a highlight in the Urban Architecture category. MCK Katowice

“A modern state is one that sees the needs of every human being and does everything to avoid exclusion,” said Duda, presenting the awards.

In addition to the annual competition, the Friends of Integration Association awards a “space without barriers” certificate to buildings that are adapted to the needs of people with disabilities, from wheelchair users to blind people, as well as readily accessible to the elderly and families with young children.