Reconversion of a former industrial site into an attractive urban zone
The Zone of Culture is an example of a deep transformation of the metallurgical-mining place into a modern cultural centre. In the centre of the Polish city of Katowice there was a coal mine ‘Ferdinand’/‘Katowice’. The mine operated for 176 years between 1823-1999. During operation more than 120 mio tonnes of coal was exploited. After the ‘Katowice’ mine closed its operation in 1999, the area became deserted. Transformation process started in 2009 from the renovation of the ‘Spodek’ building. Next years brought following stages of revitalization. In 2010, the construction of a new Silesian Museum started. In 2011, the construction of the International Congress Centre (MCK) started. In 2012, the construction of the new building of the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (NOSPR) began. The opening of these objects took place in the following years: 2014 The Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, 2015 – The Silesian Museum and the Zone of Culture. The Silesian Museum is located partly underground and at the top of former shaft. Presently the Zone of Culture is a place of meeting of people – citizens and tourists, a cultural centre (NOSPR), a place of important economic events (MCK), sports and entertainment (Spodek) as well as historical exhibitions (Silesian Museum).

Resources needed

c.a. 230 000 000 Eu – overall investment cost: construction of the International Congress Centre, Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Silesian Museum new buildings together with the road system reconstruction

Evidence of success

The Zone of Culture is the place where many events take place: entertainment, high-culture, business, historical. Thousands of people participate in this events.
This transformation affect the entire city, changing its picture of industrial and mining city into the business and cultural city.

Potential for learning or transfer

The transformation of the former coal mine ‘Katowice’ into the Culture Zone is a good example of linking tradition with innovation and development. The Culture Zone integrates the past and the future. The Silesian Museum, with the underground exhibitions, shafts and characteristic architecture is a picture of the past industrial character of the city and a monument reminiscent of the past function of this place. The design of the NOSPR building was inspired with Nikiszowiec workers’ housing estate. On the other hand all new objects are very modern and consistent with the direction of the city's transformation to the city of business, culture, and IT. The MCK building is the place where congresses, conferences, exhibitions take place and simultaneously is the place where citizens meet due to a large green roof available for pedestrians. All the objects of the Culture Zone are recognisable, attract guest from the whole world but also are a source of pride for citizens of Katowice city.

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Main institution
City of Katowice
Śląskie, Poland (Polska)
Start Date
January 2010
End Date
December 2015


Aurelien Parsy Please login to contact the author.