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Unwanted heritage (architecture of post-war modernism)


Though modernist architecture of the times of the People’s Polish Republic is commonly associated with blocks of settlements made of large concrete slabs, gray dilapidated concrete walls, a simple pavilion of the settlement supermarket and unaesthetic dirty local train station there are many revolutionary innovations among them and being such they require protection of law. Lack of such protection causes that the social perception provides that from the Polish architectural landscape gradually disappear outstanding objects created in the post-war years. Projects implemented in the times of the People’s Polish Republic in the majority are not entered the register of monuments and perhaps the only way of rescuing them would be referring to the text of the law on spatial planning and design and recognition them goods of contemporary culture. Mostly they disappear being given a coat of paint or covered with a layer of polystyrene under so called “thermal upgrading” but they are also rebuilt or simply demolished. Rarely does it happen that such objects are revitalized or adapted with respect for the original project and initial architectural forms. The article gives examples of architectural objects which have disappeared from the Polish architectural landscape forever naming among others Warsaw Supermarket, which for its revolutionary design won the honorary award at the Biennale of Sao Paulo Biennale in 1965 and which was demolished in December 2006. As a compromising solution is mentioned “Forum” hotel built opposite the Wawel Castle. As one of very few positive examples the author mentions the new life of Central Department Store “Smyk”. The author also attracts attention to another aspect that must be taken into account considering the necessity of protection of the post-war architecture, which is the problem of copyright for architecture objects created during the past 60 years.  

1. Supersam - Warszawa
2. Centralny Dom Towarowy „Smyk” - Warszawa
3. Okraglak - Poznan
Fotografie: Krzysztof Jablonski

Blazej Ciarkowski­

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