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The metamorphosis of dialect square and walk of shame is getting closer

11 of May '22

Work is set to begin soon on the reconstruction of Warsaw's Gwara Warszawska square and the designation of an above-ground pedestrian crossing at the former Wola PDT. The district's main public space is to gain a completely new face and functionality. However, the final shape of the square will be the responsibility of the architect selected in a tender, not the authors of the initial concept. The underpass, meanwhile, will be removed by the developer, not the city.

participation and exclusion

Wizualizacja skweru

Visualization of the square

photo: Pracownia Architektury Krajobrazu / Zarząd Zieleni Miejskiej Warszaw

The origins of the new square project date back to 2017, when the first workshops and public consultations were organized. The project involved about half a thousand people, including residents and employees of nearby institutions. The project was implemented as a joint project of the Warsaw Greenery Board, designers from the Landscape Architecture Studio and sociologists from the Na Miejscecu Foundation. In November 2018, a contract was signed for the development concept for the square. In 2020, the Warsaw Greenery Board applied to theWarsaw Council for additional funds that would allow the project to be implemented. This year design work will begin, with officials announcing the start of work in late 2022 and early 2023.

Plan zagospodarowania skweru

Plan of the square's development

photo: Pracownia Architektury Krajobrazu / Zarząd Zieleni Miejskiej Warsaw City Greenery Board.

Work is currently advanced on the construction and detailed design of the square, which, however, is not done by the authors of the initial concept. ZZW, which owns the copyrights to the project, commissioned it through a tender to LS-Project Maciej Sikorski. Officials assure that they have not made significant spatial or functional changes. Due to the need to protect trees, the layout and some elements of the playground and gym have been changed. Due to current regulations, some elements were also moved away from existing buildings. The area where, according to the concept, the dog park was to be located, was excluded from the design area. An access road to the surrounding buildings is planned for the site. Due to the minor scope of the changes, no additional public consultations of the modified final design are planned.

references to splendor

Wizualizacja skweru

Visualization of the square

photo: Pracownia Architektury Krajobrazu / Zarząd Zieleni Miejskiej Warszaw

The project was developed on the basis of a local partnership of many institutions - local government, cultural institutions and business - around five functional zones: park, clearing, avenue, entrance squares and lagging. The space of the new square is to be linked to the urban context both physically - restoring the possibility of pedestrian crossings at street level, introducing a bicycle path, clearly marking the entrance zones of the square, and through the historical context - programmatic and aesthetic reference to the history of the site.

passage of shame

Przejście przy PDT

Crossing by the PDT

Photo by Kacper Kepinski

A large streetcar stop is located in the immediate vicinity of Wola's most important public space. The individual platforms can only be accessed by an underpass connecting the different sides of the Wolska, Mlynarska and Solidarności intersection. Currently, the infrastructure is in a deplorable state, and the tunnel itself looks more like the set of a gangster movie about the 1990s than a contemporary public space in the Polish capital. The sanitary, visual and technical condition of the passage is steadily deteriorating. This is also the result of moving out of the commercial and service outlets located here, which, although they did not look the best - provided a minimum of control over what goes on in the passage, thus limiting devastation.

The tunnel will be covered up by a developer

Przejście przy PDT

The passage by the PDT

photo by Kacper Kepinski

Store owners have received notices of termination following the decision to backfill the underpass and designate new zebra crossings on the surface. The intersection will be reconstructed under Article 16 of the Public Roads Law, by a developer who is carrying out a residential project next door. The investor has not yet applied to the ZDM to conclude an agreement on the matter, but officials expect to do so soon, as they already gave an opinion on the traffic organization project prepared on his behalf last year. It includes three pedestrian crossings (through Mlynarska Street and on the western side through Wolska Street with an entrance to the streetcar stops) at each of them there will also be bicycle crossings connected to the existing infrastructure.

a place with history

Skwer Gwary Warszawskiej is a green area located between Młynarska, Leszno and Aleja Solidarności streets. This is where the district center was planned after the war, the erection of which began with the PDT department store, the W-Z cinema and the Venice bar. Not all of these outstanding buildings have lived to see our times. The W-Z Cinema , designed by Mieczyslaw Piprek, was demolished in 2010. The iconic Venice Bar , designed by Zbigniew Ihnatowicz, Jerzy Soltan and A. Szczepinski was extensively remodeled into a private hospital and lost its architectural qualities. The least changed, at least from the outside, was the building of the WolaPDT. However, the building, designed by Michal Przerwa-Tetmajer, was thoroughly rebuilt inside. Among other things, the glass paintings decorating the interiors from the mid-1950s were removed; their authors were prominent artists Marek Włodarski and Tadeusz Błażejowski. A few years later, some of the panels were found by accident in a decommissioned warehouse.

Kino WZ PDT Bar Wenecja

W-Z Cinema, PDT Wola, Bar Venice

photo: Zbyszko Siemaszko - NAC, Wikimedia Commons

Kacper Kępiński

The vote has already been cast