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The design concept found its origin in a historical romance by H. Morsztyn (Historyja ucieszna o Królewnie Banialuce, 1620), with its narrative distinguished by key elements of the story symbolising hope, faith, and love, freezing them as architectural features towards sustainable and ethical architecture, where the expression itself is celebrated through poetry.


The designed building is styled as a magical being (such as the wind Apelijotes, guiding the Prince to the Princess), an angel with expansive wings and a misty face, symbolising hope and faith, combined with mystery and curiosity.


The structure consists of an oversized "head" suspended above the main entrance, observing the incoming people, and two sections where the columns form bent, resting wings. These wings are designed to catch the wind and collect rainwater, with their cladding panels and sawtooth roof imitating the arrangement of feathers. This is intended to portray the magic, marvel, and mystery of modern puppetry.


The facade of the theatre, suspended above the main entrance, is constructed from semi-transparent panels. With the internal lighting system, a shadow play effect is created, allowing for the observation of oversized silhouettes of people walking through the puppet museum. This solution also allows to conduct of performances and projections on the main facade of the building.


Light plays a leading role, not only on the facade of the building but also on the floor and inside the theatre, guiding visitors through the corridors, and acting as an ever-present guide. The interior of the main hall references the colour scheme of the existing theatre, which is well-known to the audience and associated with the Banialuka Theatre. It has been preserved in shades of black and red with the addition of purple light indicating the way, like one of the fairy tales guiding winds.


To combine tradition with modernity, the very bold form of the main theatre has been juxtaposed with the simple form of two wings, where the library part has been designed in a monumental style characteristic of public buildings (including libraries). This facilitates the identification of the building's function and, through the symmetrical division of the facade, maintains the harmony of Władysława Broniewskiego Street's frontage. Meanwhile, the use of the sawtooth roof concept for the wind catcher design references the architectural history of textile mills in Bielsko-Biala and the theatre’s costume workshop.


The project emphasises innovation and the use of the Venturi effect to improve urban conditions and ensure natural ventilation in the building, particularly in the workshop rooms, operating on the principle of traditional Persian wind catchers used as early as the 14th century.

The Banialuka Puppet Theatre_17.jpg
Bielsko-Biala | Poland   
The Banialuka 
Puppet Theatre 








City of Bielsko-Biala

12,000 sqm

100m PLN

Education & Culture

Public procurement competition – Commendation

Piotr Smiechowicz

Luke Murray

Blazej Wendrowski

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