Kliknij i zobacz jak w prosty sposób opublikować swój projekt w A&B
Zostań użytkownikiem portalu A&B i odbierz prezenty!
Zarejestruj się w portalu A&B i odbierz prezenty
maximize

Changes, changes, changes. Interview with Piotr Fokczynski, new President of the National Council of the Polish Chamber of Architects

15 of July '22

The changes in the positions of president-architects continue - a few days after Agnieszka Kalinowska-Sołtys took over at SARP, a Wroclaw-based Piotr Fokczynski became the new president of the National Council of IARP. Moments after winning the election, he tells us, among other things, what the beginning of his term will be like and what his priorities are.

Piotr FOKCZYŃSKI - Architect of the City of Wroclaw in 2003-2021, Director of the Department of Architecture and Construction of the Municipal Office in Wroclaw in 2003-2022, Coordinator of the project Nowe Żerniki (WUWA 2) in2010-2018, Vice-Chairman of the Lower Silesian Regional Chamber of Architects in 2001-2018, President of the National Council of the Chamber of Architects of the Republic of Poland in the term 2022-2026.


Beata Stobiecka
: What does the change in the position of president mean for the Chamber? Are you going to introduce significant innovations in the way it operates and functions?

Piotr Fokczynski: The Chamber is a very well-organized institution and one can say that everything in its ranks works. IARP conducts trainings where it raises professional qualifications, examines design candidates and grants licenses, and takes care of the proper high level of public trust profession. These activities are enshrined in the law and the statute, so there is not much room for maneuver for any changes. The important question, however, is - how will we manage the Chamber and solve its problems in the future? This can be done in several ways, and in my program proposal there are several explicit changes regarding governance.


Beata
: Will there be a shift back to organizing the activities and structures of the Chamber?

Piotr: Yes, the changes will be precisely about organizing internally. The first important issue is the need for self-government agreement and addressing all districts, including those with very small numbers. I would like to do a nationwide local survey and create a "portrait of the districts" so that architects from different corners of Poland, who may be barely making ends meet and are still anonymous, will be noticed. Reaching out to everyone is a very important thing, and the national chamber should know how to possibly help those who need support in their profession, because we know very well that an architect is not only in the business of designing.

Once I reach my colleagues in different parts of the country, I would like to listen to them. They have a lot of interesting insights, knowledge resulting from professional practice, often many years. We should aggregate this, collect it and create from it a kind of ubiquity concerning architecture and construction, such as housing.

It is quite perverse that twenty years after the Chamber was established, no one in the state authorities knows that only among architects can you find real experts on the creation of assumptions for laws and legislation in the field of architecture. The Chamber's task is to bring this aspect closer to the authorities and to implement it consistently. And here is another change. I would like architects to be in constant dialogue, even anticipatory, during lawmaking. It can't be the case that we get documents seven days before we finish the opinion process on a new law, an amendment to a law, or an executive order. The Chamber should be present during their creation, and as actively as possible.


Beata
: Your professional path as an architect-official and vast experience in being in dialogue with all parties to the implementation processes will be very helpful in this.

Piotr: This was articulated before the elections - my professional path for many years was placed in the office, in local government. It was a constant movement in the realm of dealing with regulations, as well as a network of hundreds of contacts with project offices. This is the potential that I am putting on the line for the necessary changes for the better. The knowledge I have accumulated over the years I want to turn at this time to restore the standing of our profession. This is the most important thing for me. I say this because during the convention, before the vote, I got the question: how can an architect-official, understand a design architect? And I was stunned for a moment.


Beata
: And how can a design-only architect understand another design-only architect? The fact that you are from the "clerical caste" and have mastered in practice the variants of action, gives you a chance to smoothly connect all the threads and thus an advantage over others. Today the head of an organization, especially a local government, must be a good, smart manager, not necessarily an outstanding designer.

Piotr: I also think so. There was a time - in the Chamber's first term - that the Chamber's bodies were teeming with design excellence, for example, the secretary was Jerzy Szczepanik-Dzikowski, a great organizer and creator, and the ombudsman for professional responsibility was the equally excellent Stefan Kurylowicz. However, this did not happen again later, they in subsequent elections did not want to continue working in the IARP authorities, because it took too much time and energy. When I observe the professional work of architects - those from small and large offices - I see how exhausting it is, and I wish they could continue to deal only with design. They create magnificent buildings and execute them from start to finish, and this requires a great deal of effort.

V Sprawozdawczo-Wyborczy Krajowy Zjazd Izby Architektów RP

Fifth Reporting and Elective National Congress of the Chamber of Architects of the Republic of Poland

Photo: Maciej Rolkowski


Beata
: So - in the first place - the fight against the degradation of the architectural profession and in a broader context, not just design.

Piotr: In previous terms we were already well advanced legislatively in promoting a law on the architectural profession, but this was interrupted and now it will certainly be difficult to return to the topic. But our profession deserves special favoritism, and it is very bad when a profession that enjoys public trust on the one hand, still has a weak social position on the other. In Poland, an architect is not someone whose knowledge is used at the level of legislation, management of state projects and operation in local government. It is a bit as if there are no architects in Poland at all. All my life I have been aware of this, and the experience I have gathered suggests that it is high time to rebuild our professional ethos. This is the next task - to rebuild the position of the profession.


Beata
: Why are we left out of many important issues?

Piotr: It's easier without us, "there are no problems," and we are precisely there to expose these problems, show them and help solve them. But this needs to be seen more broadly, and the mayor, mayor, or city president, who are responsible for the proper management of space, are often not qualified to do so. As long as we are not invited to a serious debate, urban-architectural chaos is increasing. This can be seen when comparing with neighboring countries: Scandinavia, Germany and even the Czech Republic. We keep asking ourselves - why does it still look so bad in our country?


Beata
: Referring to the official situation - would you like to influence the reversal of bad decisions made, for example, in your own backyard, in Wroclaw, and restore the office of City Architect, which you were for almost twenty years?

Piotr: Regarding my professional path, I consider myself very lucky and privileged to have held such an important position for the city for many, many years! I would very much like to see the nightmarish oversights corrected in Wroclaw and in all other cities and towns, as my mission now involves the whole of Poland. But in order for this to happen, local authorities must ask themselves - and where is the architect? Today such a question often only annoys - and this needs to change.


Beata
:
The previous president spoke of a "two-speed" Chamber. During your speech at the election convention you presented a different point of view - there is one Chamber, one speed of development for all. Do you think it will be financially possible to create a unified program for the whole country?

Piotr: It must succeed, because this is the main premise of the new budget program. Parts of the Chamber must not fall into the "second speed" problem, on the contrary, it is precisely those smaller, because of their small size, less well-funded districts that must be taken care of. We need to start treating them subjectively, and until now it has been subjective treatment - so many contributions came in, so much money flowed out, and Excel counted it. Small Chambers, although less numerous, are not less creative, there is still work going on there for the benefit of the profession and the way it is practiced. I'm in favor of making sure that in addition to fixed costs - institutional, for training, membership issues and the like - there is money to create a good aura for the architectural profession. This has to be included in the budget, and this is to give small Chambers comfort and a sense of security, and, importantly, to inspire action. I am in favor of a reasonable distribution of funds, and I realize the difference between managing a small and a large district chamber. However, small centers must not feel marginalized. There are architects out there who are creating great things and working for the public good, so they should be supported and financially valued. And this will be systematically implemented, under control, of course. Program and budget conventions are once a year, the next one in December, and then we will start taking action. If we do not yet have concrete calculations, we will at least discuss the draft of this algorithm, according to the principle - nothing about us without us.

V Sprawozdawczo-Wyborczy Krajowy Zjazd Izby Architektów RP

Fifth Reporting and Elective National Congress of the Chamber of Architects of the Republic of Poland

Photo: Maciej Rolkowski


Beata
:
The Council, which has been appointed, is basically entirely recommended by you, These are people who have already proven themselves in various situations and inspire your confidence?

Piotr: This Council is very good, it is formed by people whose knowledge and past actions are of the highest competence. These architects have been working in the Chamber almost since its inception, some of them were in the councils of previous terms. They are experts in many fields, involved in the process of educating architects and very well versed in public procurement law, especially in negotiating amendments to the law. I would very much like to maintain the good direction that has been developed in these negotiations, so that the law will change and, in the end, so that my dream of blocking the "design and build" process for architectural structures will be realized. I hope that with the current Council this will be possible. All of these people are well versed in our local government activities, which guarantees good management. External policy will also include legislation, but not from the level of paragraphs, but from the level of the atmosphere and even the stratosphere of looking at events and legislation. What we generate externally will certainly be first-class. As we add to this cooperation with fraternal organizations, it will be a very interesting and active term.


Beata
: We all hope so! In the vote for president you won by four votes, which is not some exception, because in the previous election, a few years ago, Malgorzata Pilinkiewicz won similarly - by only six votes. This shows, however, that the Chamber is still polarized and divided virtually in half - in favor of change on the one hand, and on the other, in favor of maintaining what was in the previous term. Would you like to break this and bring about greater unanimity?

Peter: To tell you the truth, I don't sense where these divisions are coming from, and I wouldn't want to talk about conciliatory "ditch-filling" here either, nor have I ever been belligerent towards anyone or anything, and I haven't dug ditches. The vote shows that there are clearly different preferences among the delegates for management methods. It should be remembered that a chairman with one term behind him can show how he governed, and the vote shows that quite a large group of people accept the previous way of governing. But we are developing and it is necessary to try a different way.

I also don't intend to change for change's sake - to eliminate anything or reject the positive things that were generated in the previous term. In situations where we can use this capital developed by predecessors, we will do so, continuing their activities. Then those who do not believe that I can do something good as president of the National Council of the Chamber will see that I do not exclude anyone or anything, and I will cooperate with all those who are willing. I am used to compromise and listening to people, and I am fully aware that IARP is not a private company, but a local government. When we manage to move a few key issues forward in our collective wisdom, I will thus hopefully convince some of the unbelievers of my idea. We'll see in four years.


Beata
: Another element subject to continuation or change - the magazine "Zawód:Architekt", the Chamber's press organ. Will Z:A continue to operate in the same/similar substantive and graphic formula? Do you think the current magazine meets the Chamber's requirements?

Piotr: The magazine "Zawód:Architekt" has been published practically from the very beginning of the IARP and is our pride. So I don't foresee any major revolutions. The program frame will certainly undergo a certain change towards more polemical articles, touching on the topic of practicing the profession, but also architectural creativity, and this will be a more multi-threaded issue discussed and debated. Also, views on legislative changes, for example, will be able to be presented polemically, bilaterally, which has not always been the practice so far. Through statements by myself and members of the Council, we will try, when necessary, to explain our actions and our point of view.

An interesting point is that the magazine is costing us more and more, and although "savings" were made in the previous term, these changes have not succeeded, on the contrary. So perhaps we need to think about what formula to publish it in, and perhaps these considerations will even prompt a discussion of whether an increasingly well-functioning newsletter could replace the paper magazine. Before that, of course, it is necessary to see how many of our members are traditionalists and use the paper version. We will certainly continue to publish Z:A.


Beata
: Finally - what do you think is essential in serving as president of the National Council of the Polish Chamber of Architects?

Piotr: All my professional life I was embroiled in organizing tasks for a large team and during my work I was constantly navigating the embarrassing rigor of the laws. Every now and then I asked myself - am I allowed to do this, can I do that? You need to keep administrative cleanliness, and combining this with daily camaraderie and the ability to talk about architecture, space-shaping processes and creative work makes for a good recommendation. But I guess I should mention the ability to listen to others first.

Beata: Thank you for the interview.


interviewed:
Beata Stobiecka

The vote has already been cast

INSPIRATIONS