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Lodz University of Technology: Marking 70 years
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Where the Past Inspires
May 7, 2015   
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The Lodz University of Technology campus is a unique site occupying 32 hectares.

The larger part of the campus lies on former factory land. Historical industrial facilities and original residences that once belonged to factory owners are scattered among the university’s new buildings. Meanwhile, two well-maintained municipal parks in the direct vicinity are a perfect place to relax.

When the Lodz University of Technology was founded in 1945, the city authorities gave it almost 8 hectares right next to the downtown area. This was land that had earlier belonged to industrialist Szaja Rosenblatt, who from the 1870s had built units of his cotton factory there. The factory complex, comprising buildings that once housed spinning mills, weaving mills, warehouses and offices, was adapted to the teaching and research needs of the first three faculties: Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry, and Electrical Engineering.

As time went on, the university took over more space. Premises that were part of £ód¼’s historical fabric but not easy for a university to use were supplemented with new buildings. Newly founded faculties received their own separate headquarters. The university’s rapid development in the 1990s consolidated its already strong position among Poland’s technical universities. New courses and constantly expanding areas of scientific research required not only advanced equipment but also premises suited to the changing requirements.

A decision made in the 1990s to buy land with factory buildings and residences (owned by the Schweikert family before World War II) from the Lodex and Fagum-Stomil companies proved farsighted. Prof. Jan Krysiński, the university’s rector at the time, saw huge potential in the former factory facilities standing unused within the campus. He initiated redevelopment of the Lodz University of Technology’s postindustrial buildings, a process that continues to this day. The first project was a ruined former warehouse and office building that was once part of the Schweikert industrial empire. In 1997 it was handed over to the Faculty of Process and Environmental Engineering. The biggest project in the former Schweikert factory complex was the comprehensive redevelopment of a four-story building where woolen goods were once made. Today, with 12,000 square meters of space, it is the university’s biggest building and home to three faculties. It stands out among other former industrial facilities: it is over 150 meters long. The five-story former warehouse that once belonged to the Fryderyk Wilhelm Schweikert Woolen Goods Joint-Stock Company was remodeled to house the Lodz University of Technology’s library.

The next stage of the university’s expansion included the construction of the new Faculty of Mechanical Engineering building, which involved adapting buildings that were once part of the Rosenblatt cotton empire. One of these houses a “Factory of 21st-century Engineers,” which is a modern building with top-class facilities supported by the latest ICT systems for students on courses dealing with advanced technologies.

“This project fits in perfectly with £ód¼’s development strategy. The building is being created keeping in mind the needs of companies that employ highly qualified staff,” says Prof. Stanis³aw Bielecki, the Lodz University of Technology’s rector. Apart from classrooms, the building includes specialist laboratories where advanced technologies are developed for many sectors of the economy, such as the automotive industry and the renewable energy sector, as well as for use in medicine.

The university’s most recent project in terms of redeveloping former factories was the conversion and expansion of the former Paul Desurmont, Motte& Co. Worsted Wool Spinning Mill complex to house the Faculty of Technical Physics, Information Technology and Applied Mathematics. The new premises together with the converted factory form a uniquely equipped building that is extremely user friendly. The historical industrial architecture merged with new space designed to accommodate innovative teaching methods not only serves the university’s students but is also used for classes and laboratory presentations for £ód¼ school pupils.

Near these historical facilities lies the new Information Technology Center, the outer appearance of which references £ód¼’s industrial architecture. Inside are 21 specialist laboratories with work stations fitted with the latest hardware.

The new building of the Faculty of Process and Environmental Engineering will be completed soon. It will include laboratories for courses in fields considered as priorities for the Polish economy, including process engineering, biochemical engineering and environmental engineering. This will be one of the most advanced buildings of its kind in Poland. Its laboratories will be equipped with the latest technology used in industry. The look of the new building fits in perfectly with the postindustrial and modern setting of the changing campus and the neighboring buildings of the “Factory of 21st-century Engineers” and the International Faculty of Engineering.

The architecture of the Lodz University of Technology’s postindustrial facilities is supplemented with six historical residences that once belonged to industrialists. The oldest residence from the second half of the 19th century, which was remodeled in a neo-Renaissance style at the end of the century, is the former house of FryderykSchweikert. Nearby are two exceptional houses built by the Richter family. The architecture of the first one, built for Józef Richter, has eclectic interiors with echoes of the Renaissance. The other one, which belonged to Józef’s brother Reinhold, represents eclecticism at its fullest. The architecture and decoration includes Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist and Art Nouveau influences. The university rector’s office is housed in this residence with an unusually romantic flavor.

Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning
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