M. A. Urbanska
Friday 9 November 2018 by Libadmin2018


The article aims at answering the following question: does the architecture of moderation and understatement, architecture full of respect for the multi-layered context, history, topography, culture of place etc., i.e. genius loci, exist in Poland today? The question seems to make sense because of numerous, spectacular realisations of structures devoted to culture which were completed since the year 2004, when the country accessed the EU, but also because of many revitalisations. The authoress of the article, because of her involvement in research and critical evaluation of the recent Polish architecture, sees the arising need for discretion, subtlety, and calm. On may indeed deem it the return the Aristotelian decorum in architecture, regardless of its style, language or of its mode of expression. The architectural culture in Poland, after the political upheaval of the year 1989 and further, following the aforementioned admission to the EU, underwent significant, even total changes. The period of necessary compensating for the numerous deficiencies and neglected areas of development left by the Communist ancien regime was followed by the age of spectacular investments in cultural (and office) buildings, as well as by the rapid housing development. The situation was aggravated by severe lacks in urban and spatial planning. However, despite all the legal problems, there is a visible trend towards harmonisation, restitution of harmony and beauty of the landscape, both urban and rural, as it was so brutally torn by fates in the last century. Many pre-eminent architects, both Polish and realising in Poland, seem to share the view on self-limitation, understatement and return to the lost adequacy and appropriateness. Renowned architect Zbigniew Maćków grasped it very modestly and yet precisely, speaking of his building in Wrocław: “It is just mending the city that already once was there”. The paper discusses a few select cases of such contemporary Polish architecture, of various uses and locations – but having the contextual, subdued approach in common.

Keywords: Polish architecture, context, moderation, decorum

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