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Planners call for demolition of "Galaxy" funeral home. Cardinal Nycz writes motion and convinces city hall to change its mind

13 of August '21

Cardinal Nycz and the Warsaw Archdiocese are fiercely defending the headquarters of the "Galaxy" funeral home in Ochota, despite the fact that city planners are calling for its demolition - due to its blatant impact on the aesthetics of the landscape, and in particular the fact that it partially obscures a recently renovated neo-Gothic church. It turns out that the Warsaw metropolitan has considerable influence over the capital's spatial planning decisions. After writing a request suggesting that the idea of demolishing the funeral home be withdrawn, City Hall acceded to the clergyman's request. Not just one!

The building in question is the "Galaxy" funeral home on Narutowicza Square, which was built not long ago, in 2013, and was co-designed by Tomasz Gamdzyk, who at the time served as head of the aesthetics department. Interestingly, the building was supposed to "revitalize" the landscape of the square. The intended effect was not achieved.

According to city planners, the building clearly harms its location. First, because it interferes with the pre-war local plan - it stands in the former street slant line, leaving the street asymmetrically closed. Second, according to experts, it is aesthetically unsuccessful. And third, it partially obscures the historic Neo-Gothic Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary - recently renovated, by the way. Planners have been calling for the demolition of the building since last year, citing, among other things, the provisions of the local plan, but as it turns out, in vain. Two requests to City Hall were enough: one from Warsaw Metropolitan Kazimierz Nycz, the other from the archdiocese.

a flower for the sheepskin

It's hard to argue with the experts on this issue. Even at first glance, the funeral home's building strongly deviates from the aesthetics of the place where it stands. Against the background of the historic temple, it is like a flower to a sheepskin. A rectangular building, plastered in light beige, with a gray delicate pattern and the inscription "GALAXY Funeral Home". To make matters worse - next to it stands a florist's shop in a similar antou...

Funeral home "Galaxy"

© pupgalaxy.com.pl

Cardinal Nycz makes comments on the local plan, city hall bows out

Admittedly, the area where the funeral home stands is listed in the documents as a "church view protection zone," which in practice would mean that no objects that will interfere with the visual perception of the monument can be located there. However, further provisions allow for an exception, and to a large extent, the matter may be prejudiced: "With regard to the existing building, obscuring the body of the church on the south side, it is prohibited to carry out construction work other than to relocate it to the area marked by impassable building lines in the northwestern part of the site or to demolish it."

According to Gazeta Wyborcza, City Hall recently received comments on the local plan for Narutowicza Square. Interestingly, several of them were submitted by Cardinal Nycz himself. With them, he suggested abandoning the delineation of the so-called "church view protection zone" and, dropping the provisions ordering the practical liquidation of the funeral home, moreover , he suggested expanding the funeral home.

Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz

© Piotr Drabik (Wikipedia)

But that's not all. The Archdiocese has submitted an additional application, proposing to develop the land adjacent to the square into offices and residential development. City Hall, specifically Deputy Mayor Michal Olszanski, of the Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, agreed to part of the clergy and archdiocese's proposal. As a result, plans to demolish the building were dropped and the construction of offices next to the church was allowed.

Reducing the dimensions of the building and reconsidering the local plan

Marlena Happach, director of the Architecture and Spatial Planning Office of the City of Warsaw, addressed the issue. The architect suggests that the "Galaxy" funeral home building will not be demolished, but should change its dimensions.

After discussions with representatives of the Church and the parish, we proposed preserving the building, but on condition that its parameters on the side of Narutowicza Square are changed. If the applicant wants to rebuild the building, he will have to change its parameters in accordance with the local plan. This is a compromise, we want to respect the owner's rights and ultimately bring about a change in the dimensions of this building and open up the view of the historic church building from the southern side of the square ," Marlena Happach told GW.

She also announced that the draft local plan will be reconciled in this context with the provincial conservator of historical monuments and re-submitted for public review in the part of the square and the parish area.

elaborated: Katarzyna Domagała

The vote has already been cast