Innovation Manor Rokietnica - Finalist of the competition for the New European Bauhaus 2022


"Form follows function" is the main motto of the Bauhaus assumptions.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Walter Gropius- a modernist architect and the founder of the Bauhaus school - revolutionized architecture which was created from the merger of the Higher School of Fine Arts and the School of Artistic Crafts in 1919 in Weimar (and from 1925 in Dessau, Germany). He introduced his creative vision to combine beauty with utility - artists with craftsmen.

Gropius's Bauhaus building was a programmatic work of his architecture school and the most important example of the international style. The main assumptions of the Bauhaus were, among others:

  • simple cubic solids, smooth facades and steel frames

  • glass curtain elevations, curtain walls

  • corners of buildings without visible load-bearing elements

  • muted earth colours

  • closeness to nature

  • art and harmony

The design school was to encourage young architects to produce functional but artistically made objects for the mass audience. But unfortunately, the school was closed because the Nazis did not like it. Therefore, professors and graduates left Germany to spread the tenets of modernism around the world. After World War II, architects transformed the Bauhaus School into the New European Bauhaus, which meets the needs of the 21st-century man.

Interestingly, the teaching methods at the Bauhaus school for young students were revolutionary. For example, some classes started with mindfulness and meditation methods!

New European Bauhaus

New European Bauhaus is a creative and interdisciplinary initiative, that connects the European Green Deal to the needs of people's lives through socially and ecologically sustainable solutions that will ensure an equal transition.

The competition is aimed at both more experienced and young projects and activists. With this in mind, two strands: 'New European Bauhaus Awards' and 'Rising Stars of the New European Bauhaus' have been created, in which the following themes can be entered:

  • connecting with nature;

  • reclaiming a sense of belonging;

  • prioritising places and communities most in need;

  • shaping a circular industrial ecosystem and fostering product-life thinking.

Innovation Manor - Rokietnica

2022 New European Bauhaus Prizes Finalist

#wellbeing #sustainabledevelopment #interculturality #heritage #cooperation

Transforming a dilapidated country estate into the local community center and regional innovation hubs.

Innovation Manor is an easily duplicable concept, where a historic property becomes a place promoting education, collaboration, and innovation beyond bias. Ours is set in an authentic village in Subcarpathia. By following sustainable strategies, new technology and a respectful approach to heritage, we envision creating a beautiful place that fosters a sense of community and well-being. This concept reflects the very values and strategy of the European Union, as we understand it.

Innovation Manor - Rokietnica aims to create a sustainable, inclusive, aesthetic space, reconnecting rural and urban environments with the ideas of lifelong learning, innovation and well-being.

The estate is located in the Subcarpathian village of Rokietnica, Poland. The manor dates back to the 18th century. It is part of a larger estate, designated to run the agricultural business that was the region's main activity. After WWII, the property was nationalised. Since 1988 it has not been used, much to the disappointment of the local community.

Therefore the idea of the Innovation Manor involves the village of Rokietnica and also the wider region, reaching beyond borders. The sense of belonging of this estate to its region will be regained by:

  • building a space of exchange, inclusion, and education. The property will be opened to the community. The regeneration of the estate will focus on creating a profound sense of well-being;

  • Building a network of contacts connecting the Manor with the transborder region, other regions in Poland and internationally by inviting personalities and scientists to give lectures, work or perform at the Manor;

  • achieving the above objectives, thanks to the involvement of the former owners, and family.

Subcarpathia has a strong potential for innovation that has not been exploited yet but is included in the regional development plan. The level of education, employment in agriculture, and the low indicator of ICT industries located in the region are all components of this development plan. We want Manor to become a key player in it.

What distinguishes the project in terms of sustainable development and circular economy?

The main design objective for the Innovation Manor is to be a pilot on solutions enhancing environmental sustainability. We want to use this project to present and involve the community in an innovative use of available technology with both respect for heritage and a mindset of always looking forward and promoting circularity.

Therefore we plan to:

  • reuse and retain as much of the original building tissue and materials as possible. It is a listed site, which means many details are to be discussed and approved by the local conservation officer

  • regenerate 100% of the green spaces in a spirit of biodiversity preservation

  • rely as much as possible on local materials and local producers to reduce the carbon footprint of the project;

  • use the modern water supply and sewage system of the village but reuse as much water as possible via a rainwater collection system, as well as a natural filtration and reuse of greywater;

  • be connected to the power grid but design a system where the estate becomes 100% self-sufficient in terms of heating, cooling, and domestic hot water. The power needed has been estimated to be 0,8 - 1MW. The estate has strong potential for the use of solar energy that, connected to a powerful heat pump system, can be used in winter and in summer. Further studies are needed to analyze the use of biogas from agricultural production but it seems that from the start 50-60% of the power needed can be supplied by renewable sources.

  • chose 100% food suppliers among the local companies and use as many local products as possible;

  • use and promote the waste management system of the municipality but implement a Manor policy to minimize the impact on the environment by reducing the use of resources;

  • use technology to minimize the carbon footprint of the site via a building

What distinguishes the project in terms of society?

The Innovation Manor is about community involvement, inclusion, and sense of belonging. The affordability and accessibility will be key parts of the design process and it means defining an operating model that allows to carry on socially engaged activities and maintain the estate.

The idea is to revitalize the estate and turn it into a site of shared experiences and knowledge. We want to create a space that gives the rural and neighboring urban populations the opportunity to discover very different people, ideas, and lifestyle.

Our objectives are:

  • recruiting local staff and team leaders to work at the Manor, providing training and involving them in the promotion of our values;

  • develop skills and knowledge of the local entrepreneurs, employed to rebuild the estate with the newest technologies;

  • involving the local community and authorities at every stage of the project (consultation, social media, website);

  • opening the site for local events, celebrations, and official activities of the local authorities, outdoor events like concerts or summer movies;

  • involving regional and international partners to bring knowledge, mentoring, career advice, and digital skills;

  • equipping the site with learning activities and development of digital skills;

  • providing a space for collaborative work

  • engaging partners from the academic, business, and culture world to be part of the community;

  • making the community and visitors acquainted with all aspects of the project, thanks to the development of educational spaces displaying the possibilities of the solutions used at the Manor, especially its engagement for biodiversity, sustainable energy and circular economy;

  • focusing on wellbeing by facilitating access to culture, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, interculturality, open minds, etc.

  • bringing back to life the heritage of the property and enhancing the sense of belonging for the local communities by creating opportunities to engage and interact in many different ways.

The Innovation Manor is an easily duplicable concept, where a historic property becomes a place promoting education and collaboration in a sustainable, inclusive, and culturally sensitive way.

It can be recreated anywhere in Europe, with the engagement of a diverse community, strong networking, and dedicated funding. That is what makes it exemplary in the first place - it is meant to create relationships inspired by the quintuple innovation helix framework: university-industry-government-public-environment.

Furthermore, the design and execution of environmentally sustainable solutions on a heritage site without altering its character will make this place outstanding for many different academic, business, and political stakeholders.

The concept is about combining social, environmental, and aesthetic aspects to create a unique place in a region where the rural world still faces unequal opportunities.

We also want to bring back to the community a site that was once the beating heart of the village, an important employer, and a place of international social activity. But this time, we want it to belong to the community beyond social and cultural differences.

Finally, its inclusiveness could be exemplary in Poland and the whole of Central Europe, where most of the heritage, revitalized in rural areas, becomes exclusive these days, mostly converted into hotels or private estates. It is also unusual to see a deliberate marriage of modern and traditional, smart and elegant both in design and proposed activities.

Therefore this project is exemplary, showing that you can have both thanks to collaboration and open-mindedness.

We are convinced the symbiosis between the Innovation Manor and the local population will result in an increase in social capital and, in the long run, a higher education level, digitalization, and employability rate.

Full project description: NEB 2022

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Foundation's account number (IBAN): 41 1140 1010 0000 4728 3300 1001

March8 Foundation in Rokietnica (37-562), KRS: 0000977506, REGON: 522456670, NIP: 7922316465