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Curtis Plaza will disappear from Mokotow's landscape

31 of May '24
w skrócie
  1. Curtis Plaza is a landmark building of the 1990s, designed by Miroslaw Kartowicz and Romuald Welder, which is set to disappear from Warsaw's landscape.
  2. Curtis Plaza was the first building with an open space model in Warsaw, introducing modern air-conditioning and anti-burglary systems.
  3. Curtis Plaza's stepped facade layout with white tiles and reflective glass symbolized the beginning of the "Mordor" - Warsaw's office center.
  4. The demolition of Curtis Plaza could open a discussion on the preservation of the 1990s monuments, which played an important role in Poland's architectural history after 1989.

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A stepped layout on the facade made of imported materials, the first open space in Warsaw, the smell of Western luxury and the beginning of "Mordor". - This is how Curtis Plaza, which is about to disappear from Warsaw's landscape, can be described in a nutshell.

how capitalism is capitalism

"My friends' pockets are bulging, and I'm left alone with a guitar," sang Andrzej Sikorowski in 1995, trying to define the spirit of the new times that came with the transformation. The Curtis Plaza building located on Woloska Street in Warsaw's Mokotow district has become a kind of memory carrier for these changes.

The distinctive 1990s building is a project by Miroslaw Kartowicz and Romuald Welder. From its inception, Curtis Plaza was a pioneering example of office architecture that took over Warsaw's Mokotow district in a dozen years. The distinctive, symmetrical, stepped facade with white tiles combined with reflective glass was the first building in what was to become the larger Mokotow Business and Industrial Center development, whose investor was Zbigniew Niemczycki, at the time the richest Pole according to the Wprost ranking. The building also had distinctive towers.

budynek w latach 90. XX wieku stał się symbolem zachodu i luksusu

The building in the 1990s became a symbol of the West and luxury

photo: Emptywords | © Wikimedia Commons CC-BY SA 4.0

Its modernity did not end only with the body - it was Curtis Plaza that first introduced the open space model, still unknown in the country on the Vistula River. The building also had air conditioning, ventilation or burglar alarm systems controlled by a computer, which was a novelty at the time. Curtis Plaza was the essence of the ambition and direction a medium-sized country from behind the Iron Curtain, where Russian soldiers were still in residence, wanted to go. To be part of a different world, created by Sikorowski's series "Tigers of Europe" by Jerzy Gruza. This image, however, is about to change.

The "Mordor" pioneer will turn to dust

One of the alleged reasons for the new owner's demolition of the Curtis Plaza building is said to be, among other things, the difficulty of converting it to modern conditions. Although the building pioneered the creation of the so-called Mordor, Warsaw's office hinterland, today it is difficult for it to compete with modern office spaces.

po 32 latach ma zniknąć z krajobrazu Warszawy

After 32 years, it is to disappear from the landscape of Warsaw

photo: Emptywords | © Wikimedia Commons CC-BY SA 4.0

The building was included in the list of Modern Cultural Assets, which was not officially announced, due to an amendment to the city's study. The list itself was also not mandatory for owners, but was an indication of what was worth preserving. The development of the site after Curtis Plaza is an open question - it is unclear what will be placed there after the former skyscraper.

As in the case of Solpol, the demolition of Curtis Plaza could open up a discussion on the preservation of landmarks from the past three decades, which have vividly recorded history in many places. Currently, historic registers for buildings built after 1989 are dominated by religious monuments. The important discussion of their preservation should resonate more strongly in the face of the disappearance of relics of the impressively luxurious 1990s.

wnętrze Curtis Plaza

Curtis Plaza interior

Photo credit: Emptywords | © Wikimedia Commons CC-BY SA 4.0

Wiktor Bochenek

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