| Author: Kuba Tom
| Tutors: Izaskun Chinchilla, Carlos Jimenez Cenamor
| The Bartlett School of Architecture
‘In Search of Kashubia’ is an architectural speculation on the future of one of the most dynamic autochthonous ethnic groups in Europe. Inspired by personal desire to learn more about own roots Kuba Tom embarked on a journey through the land of Kashubia in Poland, through museums, interpretation centres – of which he has some criticism, and most significantly through the homes of the native Kashubs – that he believes are a unique source of a genuine lived experience of the culture.
Based on that investigation, he formulated a set of Kashubian design rules that he adapted to the 21st century needs – village typology, neighbour relations, street front, Kashubian house, structure and materiality, activities and furniture. Following those he carried out an experiment to regenerate the village of Pogorzelice in Poland as a space in which the culture is transferred in its original form.
The project explores the Kashubian life in a number of different scales: urban, building and furniture. The masterplan explores and discreetly combines the spheres of co-living, co-learning and co-working that interweave each other both in the houses and in the active central green.
Kuba emphasizes the idea of strategic neighbourhood planning that integrates different generations and contributes to a transfer of knowledge between them. The project intended to criticize a cultural institution and commercial forms of culture. Final drawings that were eventually printed on cotton fabric, instead of expressing a purity of Kashubian lived experience paradoxically turned into a commercial product themselves – like kitchen cloths with ethnic imprints that can be purchased by tourists in any local souvenir shop.
Kuba Tom’s ethnographic investigation turned into his unique theoretical thesis that was fundamental to the entire design process.