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Ilmet will disappear from Warsaw's skyline

02 of July '21

Demolition of the postmodern Ilmet skyscraper at Warsaw's UN Roundabout has begun. The structure is to be replaced by a new, larger building. Can green certificates and new technologies compensate for the environmental costs of the whole operation?

slow disappearance

Ilmet Ilmet

photo by Kacper Kepinski

Demolition of the building had been planned for several years. The office building became vacant in 2016. That's when the building's current owner, Skanska, bought the building from another developer, along with a design from a closed competition. In June 2021, the distinctive Mercedes logo, which raised the skyscraper to over 100 meters high, disappeared from the roof. A pharmacy and the last offices have moved out of the first floor, and the underground parking lot has been closed.Work is still underway on the design of a new office building at the site. In early July, Skanska began preliminary demolition work inside the building. The schedule for the next stages is still under development. The demolition itself will most likely take several months.

new project

Warsaw One

Warsaw One - visualization

photo by Schmidt Hammer Lassen

In 2011 Skanska presented visualizations of a new office building on the site of the demolished Ilmet. Copenhagen-based architectural firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen is responsible for the Warsaw One project. The building is to be 188 meters high and meet modern requirements for office comfort and ecology. However, it can be assumed that the design from ten years ago will undergo significant modifications, and the visualizations already presented may differ from the target shape of the office building.

environmental costs


photo by Kacper Kepinski

Although the building is supposed to meet the latest green or energy reduction requirements, it is hard to believe that these solutions will compensate for the environmental losses associated with the complete demolition of the 26-year-old skyscraper, the disposal of materials, the production of new ones and the construction itself. Environmental costs are not communicated as an important part of office developments, which in turn builds the impression that demolition and new construction is the only way to go. This was not the case, for example, in the award-winning Grand Parc development in Bordeaux by Pritzker Prize winners Lacaton Vassal duo. Despite the fact that the redevelopment consumed twice the budget usually provided for the revitalization of apartment blocks, it was still three times cheaper than tearing down the existing 1950s blocks and building a new housing development in their place - but with just the environmental costs taken into account.


Ilmet Ilmet

photo by Kacper Kepinski

Construction of the office building began in 1995 and was completed two years later. The 83-meter skyscraper was designed by Miljenko Dumencic and Miroslaw Kartowicz. In the building's main lobby is an illuminated plastic tube containing the act of laying the cornerstone on June 12, 1995, Polish and Austrian dailies and several Polish banknotes from before the denomination. The skyscraper mainly housed office space. Part of the ground and second floors were occupied by a shopping arcade and a food court. The last few years the building was mostly out of use - Skanska offices, a pharmacy, the premises of one of the foundations and an underground parking lot operated there. In 2018, Imlet came to life with the National Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning's birthday exhibition "Architecture of Temporality." A series of events on the transience of architecture and its reuse were then organized.

Kacper Kępiński

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