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The forgotten building of the Wave Cinema. Will it be able to be saved?

18 of February '21

The Wave Cinema in Gizycko has been deteriorating for years, remaining in the hands of the city. Since last fall, an administrative proceeding to declare the building a monument has been underway. Will this be enough to save it from demolition?

Modernism, mosaic, neon

The glory years of the Wave Cinema in Gizycko were in the interwar period, but it operated continuously until 2009.

After the war, the pre-war German cinema was adapted, and Simonowicz, an electromechanic from Bialystok, contributed. Simonowicz came to Giżycko to work on the construction of a power plant and waterworks, and became the initiator of the renovation, devastated by the Soviet army, of the cinema building. Thanks to him, the first official screening took place as early as April 1946.

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At the time, the utility area functioned as a one-story, modernist streamline-style pavilion with prominent flat roof eaves and rounded corners. By the mid-1960s, the city was expanding and residents needed a new, larger cinema hall. The building took its current shape in 1962 through an unknown architect, adding a five-story foyer with a fully glazed front wall with a style of post-war modernism, strongly inspired by the work of Le Corbusier. The cinema's design uses an open plan, and the first floor is suspended from massive columns. According to information provided by the Provincial Historic Preservation Officer in Olsztyn, the interiors have largely preserved their decor, including the original 1960s floors and even working film projectors.

TheWave Cinema is crowned by a distinctive neon sign, and the facade on the right is decorated with a mosaic of unknown authorship showing the signs of the zodiac. The simplification and a kind of geometrization of the depicted figures may indicate a reference to folk art style. Monochromatic mosaic was also used to decorate the inner and outer columns. The material for it was obtained from the Pruszkow ceramics factory, as evidenced by visible signatures.

it does not fall into ruin on its own

The city of Gizycko took over the building many years ago. This was the result of ownership transformations of film institutions operating in communist Poland. Only older residents remember the screenings in the old cinema, and yet, as you can read on many portals dedicated to the city community, for everyone the cinema building is associated with great sentiment.

Why has the Wave been falling into disrepair for years? The owner is responsible for the neglect, and here comes a well-known problem - it's cheaper to demolish than to remodel.

Wave cinema a monument?

The Provincial Office for Historic Preservation became interested in the Fala building when it became clear that the city was preparing to demolish it.

The building lies within the city's protected urban layout. We decided to take a closer look at the building, an inspection was carried out, and now proceedings are underway to enter it in the register, explains Bartlomiej Skrago, head of the Archaeological Monuments Inspection Department to Radio Olsztyn's Gazeta Wyborcza.

The inspection of the conservators, confirmed what can also be inferred from the photos. There is no doubt that the building is in very poor condition. The foundations need to be reinforced, the exterior walls have large cavities, the walls are badly cracked. There has been a lot of degradation of the roof over the past few years, which the city has ad hoc protected with foil....

But it is no one's responsibility to bring the building to such a state other than its owner, the city. The renovation would far exceed the cost of demolition, which is why the city of Giżycko plans to demolish the Wave Cinema.

What in return?

The condition of the building should come as no surprise to anyone, or at most be a source of embarrassment for the city authorities. When the city took over the Fala Cinema building (without the land) almost twenty years ago, it was aware of the poor condition of the building and the need for huge necessary expenditures. The condition of the building has only deteriorated since its use ended. Currently, there is a sign on the fence stating that the building is in danger of collapse.

The proposal, for demolition, has to do with plans for a municipal investment. We want to make an object here described as a "Generations Center" and design freedom is needed for this," said Wojciech Iwaszkiewicz, mayor of Giżycko.
After some interest from private entities in public service activities, as a result of legal changes and epidemics, I finally decided that preparations should begin for the construction of a new cultural facility at this location. A facility that would combine the functions of an auditorium, a modern library, a place for seniors and new technologies for young people. A large playground and a place for young people would be built behind the cinema. Assuming the reality of design and construction, this should be implemented in 2021 - 2024. This is how the "Center of Generations" would be created. - informs the mayor of Giżycko to Gazeta Olsztyńska. The mayor also promises to announce an architectural competition for the new building.

consolation photo wallpaper

The city allowed the cinema building to end up in such a state, now, not wanting to spend money on renovations, ultimately proposes to demolish it, as this is the cheapest option?

The idea is to incorporate a mural with the front of the "Wave" cinema inside the newly constructed building, along with preserving the characteristic elements, i.e. the mosaic and the neon sign. - Mayor Iwaszkiewicz added on Olsztyn radio.

Luckily, protecting the architecture by putting it on a photo wallpaper in a new development is not a common practice of historic preservationists. The cinema building is located in a zone under the supervision of the Provincial Historic Preservation Officer, so the city government is forced to wait for the preservationist's decision in order to take any action.

The vote has already been cast