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Palace of Culture and Science dethroned. Varso Tower the tallest in the EU

26 of February '21

The Palace of Culture and Science is no longer the tallest building in Poland. It has been surpassed by the Verso Tower skyscraper being erected in the vicinity of Central Station. The EU record height is mainly due to the huge spire on the roof, not the office building itself.

The tallest in Poland and the EU

Najwyższe budynki UE

The tallest buildings in the European Union + The Shard

photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Polish height record has been broken by Varso Tower before. The 230 meters counted up to the roof of the building is as much as the PKiN measured together with the antenna (187 meters to the roof, 237 meters with the spire). After the installation of the spire, weighing 73 tons and measuring 80 meters, on the roof of the new skyscraper, it became the tallest in the entire European Union and matched the height of London's The Shard, which before Brexit held the EU's palm of primacy.

Part of a larger complex

Varso Place

Photo: HB Reavis

The Warsaw skyscraper is part of the larger Varso Place project. The complex includes a quarter of lower-rise buildings with two point towers. HRA Architekci office is responsible for the design of the project, which is being carried out by Slovak developer HB Reavis. The 53-story skyline, the main part of the establishment, is in turn the work of Foster + Partners studio. This is the second Polish realization by Norman Foster, after the Metropolitan, located on Pilsudski Square.

The tower under construction at the corner of Jana Pawla II Avenue and Chmielna Street consists of a high lobby with custom-designed mosaics, dozens of office floors and an extended building finial. It is there that two observation terraces will be located at a height of 205 and 230 meters. A restaurant with a view of Warsaw is also planned for the top floors.

Varso Tower

Photo: HB Reavis

The building's record height, however, is due to a huge mast attached to its roof. The structure, which on visualizations changed its form many times, is finally a combination of a truss and a tubular spire, tapering upward. Some (debatable) variety is provided by circles of various sizes and designs superimposed on it. They give the spire a rhythm, but in their expression alone they resemble elements of unattractive antenna installations rather than a thoughtful part of the architectural concept. Initially, the visualizations showed no circles at all, and the spire was mostly supposed to be trussed. This changed with subsequent updates to the renderings.

A debatable mode

The European Union's tallest office building and one of the continent's tallest structures was built not on the basis of a local development plan, but on the basis of development conditions. The project area is not covered by any plans, in the creation of which residents of surrounding buildings could participate, and the city would have a chance to secure its own interests.

Varso Tower Varso Tower

Photo by Kacper Kepinski

As part of the ongoing construction, the investor has modernized a several-hundred-meter section of Chmielna Street. New pavement, greenery and small architecture appeared there. However, this seems little compensation for the inconvenience caused by several years of construction, dominating the landscape of the area with such a large structure and, above all, generating car traffic on the small street.

Kacper Kępiński

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