Extension of the Silesian Planetarium in Chorzów is complete

News date: June 13, 2022
Extension of the Silesian Planetarium in Chorzów is complete

Commissioned by the Marshal’s Office of the Silesian Province, Budimex completed the upgrade of the Silesian Planetarium in Chorzów and adapted the site to the latest engineering and utility standards. The scope of work awarded under the contract from 27 March 2019 included an upgrade of the existing building and the construction of a new, usable underground floor and an observation tower which houses a camera obscura (the forerunner of the modern photographic camera). The construction work under the project took 34 months.


The site, which had occupied an overall area of 7,084 sq.m., was expanded by 3,200 sq.m. of usable floor area. Four parts of the Planetarium site with different functions and completely disparate structures were upgraded: the Planetarium Building, the Observatory Building, the utility building, and a smaller observatory (Buildings A, B, C, and F, respectively). The old and new parts of the Planetarium (Buildings D and E) are now connected by a panoramic passenger lift located at the western wall of the sundial court. A considerable area of the new section is below the ground level and has been constructed with reinforced concrete.


“The building extension is linked to the existing underground corridors, and the Planetarium's old courtyard was converted into an exhibition hall with the sundial reconstructed on its rooftop. Parts of the complex were connected with new underground corridors built on the site of the utility building’s two segments with expansion joints. Within the envelope of the utility building’s courtyard, we built a basement that will serve as an exhibition venue. All work was completed under the supervision of a conservation officer”, – says Andrzej Schmalenberg, Director of General Construction South at Budimex SA.


During the construction work, Budimex secured the existing foundations of heritage-listed buildings and the earth cuts. This required complex geoengineering at the interface with the existing building and inside of the basement rooms. During the work performed by Budimex, the building remained under permanent observation, which used a comprehensive monitoring system based on measurements of indoor rooms and vibration detection.


New dolomite panels, which had been delivered from Libiąż according to the guidelines of the conservation officer, were installed on the façade of Building A, which is the main feature on site. The new observation tower next to the Planetarium provides a panoramic view of Katowice, Siemianowice Śląskie and Chorzów.


“The construction of the tower was a great challenge due to the complexity of the process, as it required the installation of a passenger lift with the function of camera obscura. We also retrofitted the main projection room, encircled by a panorama of Silesia, in the heritage building of the Silesian Planetarium”, – adds Andrzej Schmalenberg.


The building of the Silesian Planetarium was constructed in the 1950s and is now a heritage feature of the Silesian Province, listed under reference number A/399/13, remaining in the custody of the Chorzów City Heritage Conservation Office.




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