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Confusion in the Warsaw subway. Designs for missing stations and spoiling the look of old ones

Kuba Głaz
08 of December '22

On the one hand, visualizations of missing subway stations in the center, on the other—obscuring the artistic design of the capital's subway. For the past few days, Warsaw's underground railroad has been a constant presence in the media. Fortunately, the concepts of the new stations are far from the color- and texture-overloaded central section of the second line.

The first line of the Warsaw subway has long had its target length, but not its target number of stations. Two stops are missing in the very center: in Muranów (marked A16) and Constitution Square (A12). Their construction was postponed in the 1990s due to lack of funds. It was not until 2019 that Warsaw Metro commissioned Metroprojekt to develop a functional-utility program and construction design for these stations.

Why is Metro returning to the concept of building the abandoned stations? The reason is, first of all, the need to shorten the distance between stations on the central section: from one and a half kilometers to 800-900 meters, typical for Warsaw's railroad. The residents of Muranów and Nowy Miasto , the populated areas that the subway travels through today, will benefit the most. Constitution Square, on the other hand, is to ultimately be a transfer station with another line planned for the future. This stop will be located de facto in Marszalkowska Street, on the northern side of the square.

no catcalls, no asceticism

A few days ago, thanks to the publication of the portal, we got to know more concrete plans and design concepts for the new stations, including—the appearance of the platforms and the entrances leading to them. The visualizations show something that could be called a center design. They show neither the color- and texture-overloaded aesthetics of the center stations of the second line (Fangor's graphics alone would be completely sufficient there), nor the asceticism known from the section between Szwedzka and Trocka.

Nowe stacje metra w centrum Warszawy, wizualizacje

New subway stations in the center of Warsaw, visualizations — Platform design for the Constitution Square station

mat: Metro Warszawskie, behind:

The Constitution Square station stands out more, with its multicolored ceiling finish. The Muranów station is black and white, along with rounded spatial forms with which the walls are planned to be finished. The station names are to take the form of neon signs, similar to those on the western section of Line 2.

The platform halls of Muranów and Constitution Square are planned to be three-aisled, with two rows of poles on the platform. This is a less functional solution than the two-nave stations, but, as reports, dictated by the difficult construction conditions during uninterrupted train traffic. Visualizations show, however, that—fortunately— the poles will not be as massive and positioned as close to the tracks as on the central section of Line 2.

Nowe stacje metra w centrum Warszawy, wizualizacje

New subway stations in the center of Warsaw, visualizations — Muranów station project

mat: Metro Warszawskie, for:

entrances the god way

Above-ground entrances to the stations, meanwhile, are to take the form of cuboid pavilions with a fairly high openwork attic shielding the technical equipment. The form of the entrances is to be the same in Constitution Square as in Muranów. The simple, timeless shape will protect the planned shelters from the fate of the entrances to the new Bródno subway stations, whose gentle slopes had to be protected in a rather unfortunate way from roller skating or—simply—climbing onto the canopy.

Nowe stacje metra w centrum Warszawy, wizualizacje

New subway stations in the center of Warsaw, visualizations — Design of the entrance to Muranów station. the entrance to Constitution Square station is to have a similar form

mat: Metro Warszawskie, behind:

For details on the method of construction, phasing and construction variants under consideration, enthusiasts of transportation and the engineering structures designed for it can find in the already mentioned text of the portal. And when can we expect the construction of new stations of the first line? The deadlines are rather vague. When the project is ready, 38 months are foreseen for the construction of one station. Muranów would be built first, then Constitution Square. However, finances may stand in the way, hence the city's lack of a concrete decision on construction dates. At the earliest, construction could start in 2024-25, although this is rather unrealistic given, among other things, the cost of completing the second line (the western section).

hide the crisis miracle?

On the other hand, there are many indications that the current subway budget is planned to be patched up with an invasion of large-format advertising. A huge operation to replace old media — with bigger and more numerous ones — is just underway. A week ago, there were heated discussions in social media and forums in the capital's media regarding the covering up with ads of the original compositions adorning the walls of the Ursynów (designed by Andrzej Drzewiecki) and Sluzew (designed by Krzysztof Jachiewicz) stations. The carefully designed ceramic color cladding was created despite the crisis of the 1980s, in which both stations were built. Because of their aesthetic value, they were not obscured by billboards.

It was also unthinkable until now to obscure with advertisements the strips with the names of the stops, which make it easier for passengers to orient themselves. This time it comes to that as well. The capital's „Gazeta Wyborcza” described the subway advertising invasion in the title of its article with a quote from an e-mail from a reader writing about the "devastation of the first line." The progressive devouring of the interior of the subway by advertising does indeed merit such a comment, even if (but is it really?) revenue from more advertising media were to protect passengers from ticket price increases. Since the expensive and difficult-to-implement ceramic compositions could be built in the very tough 1980s, all the more reason why they should not fall victim to the current crisis.

Jakub Głaz

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