Treasure map of Warsaw’s architecture

Jakub Szczęsny

Warsaw is an archipelago of islands, connected and divided by the all-encompassing road and rail infrastructure, uncoordinated tracts of parking lots and semi-wild green sites. It does not offer elegant continuity like many European capitals. Here, we will find the remains of successive architectural orders, with new ones growing on them, often completely ignoring the past.

City dwellers tend to either hate Warsaw, considering it a simply functional and ugly place, choose their favorite strips in Żoliborz, Mokotów or Saska Kępa, or acknowledge that it is a dynamically changing creation whose acceptance or even getting to like it requires learning about its history.

In the case of our map, we have decided to adapt the latter because, in the end, everyone who visits the Polish capital becomes a witness to a specific moment in this transfor-mation, and our goal is to help in understanding it.

Therefore, our map does not consist of a list of the latest projects, or even big-budget „hits.” We have included in it various buildings, complexes and green areas that have just been created, as well as things that happened years ago and have been rendered anecdotal. And also things that have yet to come because, after all, nothing captures the imagination quite like picturing something we only have a vague idea about!



The new capital

Centrum Praskie Koneser

Ząbkowska 27/31
Juvenes Projekt, ARE, Bulanda, Mucha Architekci, 2018

Warsaw’s first mixed use complex on such a scale, combining housing, business, commercial and cultural functions. It also features high quality outdoor spaces and indoor galleries.

The developer and architects managed to culturally reconcile the introduction of new fabric with conservation requirements regarding the revitalization of some buildings left over the Koneser vodka factory. It also includes the Google for Startups building, workshop spaces and three museums.


Warsaw Classics

South Ursynów

South Ursynów
L. Borawski, A. Szkop, J. Szczepanik Dzikowski, A. Fabierkiewicz, M. Budzyński, Piotr Wicha, 1976

For people from outside, Ursynów was a difficult to understand labyrinth of winding pedestrian alleys, underground crossings for cyclists and blocks of flats meandering among trees hills.

The authors’ idea was for the estate to give forty thousand inhabitants the best living conditions thanks to the variable scale of buildings, new topography, private home gardens and exemplary infrastructure.

The pioneering project, contradicting the mechanical planning of the times of the Polish People’s Republic, as well as modernist ideals, became a testimony of the Polish transformation from the seventies to the present day.


The Warsaw of tomorrow

Warsaw Social District

Górczewska
BBGK

The recipe for an ideal housing estate from BBGK is an inclusive, diverse and multi-generational social structure operating in a perfectly designed space.

WDS is an example of planning that does not create more fenced settlements, but strengthens the social ties of residents regardless of material status and cultural needs.


Unconventional Warsaw

Zodiak Pavilion

Pasaż „Wiecha” 4
Mateusz Świętorzecki, Kalata Architekci, 2018

Neon, pergola and mosaic disappeared from the passage, fortunately only for a moment to return in a new setting.

The „Zodiak” gastronomic complex from 1968, by Jan Bogusławski and Bohdan Gniewiewski, was transformed into the Warsaw Architecture Pavilion, where the new mosaic and neon shine anew, attracting Warsaw residents hungry for education on architecture and urban planning.