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Not just new colors. Poland's longest residential building will regain its former glory

30 of January '24

The Housing Cooperative „Przymorze” in Gdansk wants to change the image of the longest residential building in Poland. But before minimalism takes hold on the wave building on Obrońców Wybrzeża Street, and the facade—finally!—will be beautified with bright colors—the elements added by residents must be taken down. According to the cooperative, they are incompatible with regulations.

Of Gdansk's eight wave towers, it is the one on Obrońców Wybrzeża Street that has gained the greatest fame. It has no equal in Europe, the longer residential building is only Karl-Marx-Hof in Vienna. The ten-story building is 860 meters long and has as many as 5,000 residents. It was designed by Tadeusz Różanski, Danuta Oledzka and Janusz Morek.

That the building, which was handed over in 1973 and is considered an icon of Gdansk architecture, could look much better in the city space if only it took on new clothes, has been repeatedly convinced by architects, students and city enthusiasts. At the time, simple treatments and giving the gallery a bright color—with the help of photomontage and visualization—were enough. There are many indications that the visions from the pictures—at least to some extent—will slowly be realized.

bright paint in falowiec

The longest building in northern Poland will not be the first of the wave buildings whose colors will be calmed down. White facades—and a very good effect—were given to the wave building at 42 Kolobrzeska Street a few years ago.

In turn, the painting of the most famous wave building itself will be done in stages.

This year we plan to start cleaning up the situation related to the galleries on the wave building on Obrońców Wybrzeża Street. This also involves secondary elements that have been added by residents. These works are crucial so that we can repair the reinforced concrete elements of the facade and later repaint it," says Marek Drewnowski, deputy chairman of the board of directors for technical matters of the Powszechna Spółdzielnia Mieszkaniowa "Przymorze" in Gdansk, in an interview with A&B.

What elements are at stake? The residents of the wave building wanted to improve their comfort at all costs—after all, they often live in cramped apartments. On the galleries adjacent to their apartments (assumed to be open to the public)—so many added bars, walls, doors, gallery glazing, windows. Thus enlarging the space of the apartments.

Falowiec na Obrońców Wybrzeża

Wave building on Obrońców Wybrzeża

photo: Ewa Karendys

big cleanup on (in)accessible galleries

The cooperative has already informed residents that "all partitions, separating galleries, which are not included in the original design of the wave building, bars installed at the entrances to the galleries, windows and fixed glazing—will be systematically removed."
As described by local portal Tró, the demolition—among residents who invested their own money in the extensions—is causing considerable controversy.

I always emphasize in conversations that we don't want to fight with residents, but the time has come to put this kind of issue in order, Drewnowski says.—Additions are not in compliance with regulations, wave houses are tall buildings, escape routes must be accessible. Besides, all those built-up galleries now partitioned with bars are common parts, so all residents have the right to use them.

Brushes—due to the need for demolition work—will not go into action until next year. And to see the final effect you have to—to put it mildly—arm yourself with patience.

Naprzeciwko falowca znajduje się nowa zabudowa w jasnych barwach

Opposite the wave building is a new development in bright colors

photo: Ewa Karendys

As for the color scheme, we are going back to light gray, in line with current trends here. Falowiec has 16 staircases and nearly 1,800 apartments. The renovation fund won't allow us to complete the work in a year—two. We would like to fit in 5-6 years, although we assume that the process could take up to 8 years. This is because in addition to the planned demolition and repainting of the facade, other works from the current and future renovation plans await us, such as the replacement of various installations, glazing and elevators," enumerates Vice President Marek Drewnowski.

it was all about money

And why did the open galleries appear in the wave building at all? In an interview with the magazine "Prestige. Mieszkaj i Urządzaj" Danuta Olędzka, designer of the mall building at Obrońców Wybrzeża, explained that economics dictated it.

The idea was that one corridor would connect the elevator and as many apartments as possible. Residents were probably not too happy with this solution. Although I recently learned that some appreciated the open galleries because they could immediately see what the weather was like outside," Danuta Olędzka said.

Ewa Karendys

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