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We learned about the design of the controversial skyscraper by JEMS

08 of June '22

Ghelamco, the developer of a skyscraper at Warsaw's Zawiszy Square, laboriously called Sobieski Tower, has shown preliminary visualizations of the new project. The concept was prepared by JEMS Architekci studio, and its publication coincided with a discussion of the new local zoning plan for the area. The investment is highly controversial.

The skyscraper planned by the Belgian developer is to measure 130 meters. Its body, broken into three separate parts, is to cascade down towards Ochota, reaching 108 meters in height at its lowest point. Such a shape of the office building is to put it at least partially in the context of the neighborhood, which is dominated by much lower buildings.

Wizualizacja wieżowca od strony pl. Zawiszy

Visualization of the skyscraper from the side of Zawiszy Square

photo. press materials Ghelamco / JEMS

A spire is to appear on the highest part of the building, with conservatories on some floors. Public spaces with fountains are planned in front of the building, which will replace the busy roadways of Grójecka Street, and the first floor is to house commercial establishments. Unlike most of Warsaw's skyscrapers, the facades of the proposed building are not to be completely glazed.

city on the losing end

Wizualizacja wieżowca - widok w stronę pl. Zawiszy

Visualization of the skyscraper - view toward Zawiszy Square

photo. press materials Ghelamco / JEMS

The requirements for the function and shape of the office building are described in detail in the draft local zoning plan under consideration. However, the development conditions are not dictated by urban planners and the city, but by the developer, who threatens compensation of up to PLN 1.2 million per floor in case of an attempt to downgrade the project. Officials admit that this is the average amount that developers manage to get in court. All because before the city showed the MPZP for the area, the developer had managed to obtain a voucher allowing the construction of an office building of such dimensions.


There were, by the way, more decisions, the first dating back to 2006. Representatives of City Hall assured that the shape of the investment was in line with the assumptions of the local plan in progress, which, however, had not been subjected to public consultation beforehand. The key decision for one of the most important spaces in downtown Warsaw and Ochota was made on the basis of developer-official arrangements. The development conditions were signed personally by Warsaw's Deputy Mayor Michal Olszewski. Such a course of action has caused much opposition from local associations and residents. We wrote about the controversy over the construction of a skyscraper at the site in our January article "Bigger skyscraper in exchange for a small street."

Plan zagospodarowania przestrzennego

The draft of the local zoning plan with the proposed skyscraper (1.U) and public building (2.UP) on the new city square.

Photo: BAIPP / UM Warszawa

Kacper Kępiński

The vote has already been cast