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Project "Poland 2118"

07 of November '19

What might Pilsudski Square in Warsaw look like in the future?

Last year, across the country, we celebrated the centennial of Poland's regaining of independence. The approaching one hundred and first anniversary of this event inspired architects from the FAAB studio to develop a bold and, in their own words, apolitical concept to accompany future generations in celebrating the next such important bicentennial of regaining sovereignty.

Since February of this year, architects from the FAAB studio, in cooperation with Science Now, have been working on their own initiative on a comprehensive "Poland 2118" project. The idea, which according to the authors' intention is to be a lasting and positive way of celebrating the regaining of independence, includes a proposal for the development of the Pilsudski Square area in Warsaw, because, as the authors emphasize, taking care of memory and tradition and telling one's own history is a basic need of mature societies.

ideological assumptions of the project

As the architects write, the narrative around such an important holiday as the centennial of regaining independence cannot be built without showing the past-future axis. According to the authors of the concept, so far there has been a lack of initiatives of a truly strategic nature, which would serve not only to "catch up with the world", but also assume to take up challenges corresponding to the real potential of our country - the present one and the one we may have in a few decades.

As an exemplary example of such an action and building a narrative around it that engages the world, the architects cite the celebration of the centenary of Finnish independence, which saw the construction of a modern library in Helsinki and the launch of an international congress on innovative education.

What is missing from our national narrative, the designers explain, is a turn to the future, and with the direction set, real, long-term action. According to the architects, as a society and a nation we should not be afraid to be bold in creating forward-looking visions; their premise is to be the essence of such thinking.




The concept proposed by the authors is intended to initiate a dialogue aimed at creating, both for the city and the country as a whole, a distinctive design that combines the past with the future. The functions for the proposed sites preserve and reinforce references to history, tradition and commemoration, but also, as envisioned by the authors, complement this area with a focus on the future and assume the presence of modern institutional, architectural and technological tools to realize this vision.

According to the project's assumptions, each of the functions of the proposed institutions presupposes the openness of the place to everyone, in contrast to the previously discussed visions of locating prestigious but still highly inaccessible offices here, which would not necessarily in their nature engage ordinary residents and allow them to actively use this space.

As the architects emphasize, their proposal is a complete and fully realizable vision for the development of one of the most important spaces in Poland, which can become a vehicle for thinking about the country's development. The concept deliberately refers to the long term, the architects want to make us think about what future generations will be able to celebrate in 2118 during the bicentennial of independence as a result of our current actions. The estimated cost of completing the construction is 1-1.2 billion zlotys.

A new vision for Pilsudski Square

In discussions about the future of Piłsudski Square, the topic of rebuilding the Saski and Brühl palaces returns like a boomerang, and new functions for these buildings are also being sought. Currently, the space of Pilsudski Square with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is mainly a place for state ceremonies.

The authors of the concept sought to create an alternative version of the square that would connect the past, present and future, and above all, permanently commemorate Poland's regaining of independence. The proposal is a kind of urban functional hybrid with built-in unique solutions for active response to climate change threats. History, art, literature, music, film, design, science, innovation and nature are to intermingle in the new space.


Situation - 1. Museum of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 2. New Zachęta, 3. Memorial Space pl. Pilsudski, 4. 21st Century Mediatheque, 5. Center for Mathematics, V. Museum of Cryptology, 6. Exploratorium of Digital Reality, 7. Project Poland 2118, 8. EKWI - parking for bicycles, 9. EKWI - parking for electric vehicles, 10. Café / restaurant, 11. Independence Square, 12. Jozef Pilsudski Park, 13. Art Square, 14. Freedom Arcade, 15. Chill Asylum, 16. Municipal Health Resort, 17. Capital Terrace of Recreation and Art, 18. Pope's Cross (new location), 19. Monument to the Victims of the Smolensk Tragedy 2010 (new location),
20. the Zachęta National Gallery of Art, 21. the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 22. the Monument to Józef Piłsudski.


As the authors of the project assure, the proposed concept respects the history of the site, recalls the building line and scale of the buildings demolished during World War II, uses the existing historic basement to build the identity of the site and emphasizes the uniqueness of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and by creating a museum that tells the idea of the monument, complements its narrative. The numerous passageways at ground level are intended to allow residents and tourists to flexibly use the many functions located in the complex and the surrounding green spaces - existing ones, such as the Saski Garden, and those being created, such as Piłsudski Park.

The intention, according to the architects' design, will not be indifferent to issues related to climate change. Among other things, the designers envisage providing Europe's largest bicycle parking lot, reducing the urban heat island phenomenon and managing all rainwater. What's more, photovoltaic coatings integrated into the glazing and façade panels, as well as walkways that convert steps into electricity, will reduce the complex's need for electricity.

A unique space in the proposed development is to be an Urban Spa, where everyone will be able to take in air free of high concentrations of PM and nitrogen oxides, and enjoy the benefits of aroma- and heliotherapy at the Capital Terrace of Art and Recreation.

The architects also took traffic issues into account - the narrowing of the roadway and reduction of turning radii is expected to realistically reduce vehicle speeds to thirty kilometers per hour, and thus reduce transportation noise.

historical references

The project involves evoking the historical building line of the Saski and Brühl palaces, which does not exist today. The role of a contemporary urban salon is to be played by a courtyard connecting the Saski Garden with access from the Theater Square. In turn, the height of the proposed buildings will fit in with the character of the Piłsudski Square development. The goal of the project's authors is to build the mass of the complex in such a way that it will illustrate the scale of the buildings demolished during World War II.

The project also envisages the preservation of the original basements, which are now buried, and will be newly developed. In addition to planning new functions, the authors also envisaged exposing unique relics of the past and their traces, including fragments from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.


scheme: history


The architects planned to leave the arcade of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier unchanged. Access to the monument from Krakowskie Przedmieście and Piłsudski Monument will be emphasized with the help of the designed geometry and differentiation of the area of Piłsudski Park and Niepodległości Square. What's more, the project envisages the restoration of the colonnade of the Saski Palace in the form of a visual remembrance of the historical form. The purpose of such a solution is to show the historical scale and character of the destroyed building, while preserving the visual value of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

transportation of the future

As the authors of the concept point out, the number of cyclists in Warsaw has increased by forty percent over the past two years. It is estimated that about seventy-five thousand people travel this way daily, and the expanding network of bicycle paths will certainly translate into an increase in the popularity of this mode of transportation. The future of individual transportation is seen in the development of motorization based on electric-powered vehicles and vehicle sharing. In order to be prepared for these changes, the architects included in the design the Ecological Intermodal Transport Interchange - EKWI, which will include Europe's largest parking lot for bicycles and electric-powered vehicles, as well as provide accessibility to public transportation.


cross section


The two-story bicycle parking facility will feature a multi-story parking system using specialized self-service racks. It will provide space for fifteen thousand bicycles, with the possibility of increasing this number to twenty thousand. The EKWI also assumes the largest urban bicycle station in Warsaw, offering individual bicycles for adults and children, as well as cargo bicycles. The program will be complemented by a bicycle service, a sanitary complex with showers and a luggage storage facility.

In turn, a parking lot for electric-powered vehicles will be located in the northern part of the complex. Five hundred and seventy spaces are envisaged there, equipped with stations for two-way electricity exchange. The architects envision that the parking lot will be part of a vehicle-sharing system linked to public transportation. The vehicles' batteries will act as an energy reserve, drawing electricity from the grid when it is under low load and returning energy to the grid when there are energy shortages.

response to threats
related to climate change

The slab of Piłsudski Square, according to the project, will turn into Piłsudski Park. Such a transformation of the space will gain an additional more than eight thousand square meters of green space, which is half of the square's stone slab-lined area. Placing plants on the roofs and facades of the designed buildings will provide the necessary cooling in summer. Moreover, the designed greenery will reduce the urban heat island effect.

schemat: ekologia

scheme: ecology


Plants placed on the roof of the building and walls in the Urban Spa area, supported by technological solutions, will create a kind of air bio-purifier that will ionize the air and clean it of PM and gaseous pollutants, including nitrogen oxides. Plant compositions, which tend to increase transpiration (evaporation directly from plant tissues), will make the air properly humidified. Some of the selected species (thyme, blanket, mint, chamomile) will emit therapeutic essential oils. As the architects assure, a delicate balsamic and medicinal scent will waft over the herbaceous turf on hot days. The impact will create a microclimate that is more reminiscent of a Masurian forest than an urban plaza.

The project also provides for the management of all rainwater from the development site based on, among other things, the use of a high-tech proprietary retention system. The aim of such a solution is to retain all the rainwater and forgo its discharge into the city's storm sewer system. As the authors of the project write, the designed solution can be compared to the bloodstream of the urban biocenosis. Rainwater, collected in underground tanks, will be in constant motion. As it flows into the outer lakes - natural bathing ponds - it is planned to purify it with mineral-rootdeposits. Further from the ponds, the water will be fed into an irrigation system, feeding the green walls and roofs in the first place. The state of the system will be constantly monitored through the latest Polish invention - a bionic sensor, which, by analyzing the chlorophyll fluorescence of algae from the ponds, obtains information on the physicochemical parameters of rainwater flowing in the circuit. The same sensor will also take care of the well-being of vegetation, informing of water shortages, for example.

Sections of the walls and roofs of facilities where vegetation is not planned will be covered with a material containing a fully integrated layer of photovoltaic cells. Glazing with favorable exposure to the sun will be provided with a transparent layer that generates electricity. Moreover, part of the sidewalks will be made with Pavegen technology, which converts the steps of people walking on them into electricity. A single step on the sidewalk will produce up to five watts of energy. Thanks to an app, each walker will be able to check how much electricity he or she has generated, and the result can be converted into a discount at nearby cafes, discounts on admission to nearby museums, or donated to charity.

The narrowing of the roadway and reduction of turning radii assumed by the designers is expected to have a real effect on reducing vehicle speeds and transport noise. The construction of Art Square and the closure of Królewska Street will reduce the number of intersecting directions of travel and improve traffic flow. Replacing the stone pavement of Pilsudski Square with greenery will further dampen sounds, and the pavement of the streets surrounding the complex will be made with so-called quiet asphalt technology, which allows noise reduction of about five decibels.

proposed functions of current
and new facilities

schemat: funkcje

scheme: functions - 1. Museum of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 2. New Zachęta, 3. Memorial Space pl. Piłsudski, 4. 21st Century Mediatheque, 5. Center for Mathematics, V. Museum of Cryptology, 6. Exploratorium of Digital Reality, 7. Project Poland 2118, 8. EKWI - parking for bicycles, 9. EKWI - parking for electric vehicles, 10. Café / restaurant, 11. Independence Square, 12. Józef Piłsudski Park, 13. Art Square, 14. Freedom Arcade, 15. Refrigeration Asylum, 16. Municipal Spa, 17. Capital Terrace of Recreation and Art, 18. Pope's Cross (new location), 19. Monument to the Victims of Smolensk Tragedy 2010 (new location), 20. Zachęta - National Art Gallery, 21. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, 22. Józef Piłsudski Monument.


Museum of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is one of Poland's most important memorials. The museum, according to the architects, will revitalize and authenticate this symbol, which is currently identified as a monument, but through the proposed expansion also has the chance to convey knowledge about the historical events listed on its plaques. In addition, the facility is also expected to play the role of a signpost leading to new historical museums - the Museum of Polish History, the Museum of the Polish Army and the Pilsudski Museum.

Memory Space

The purpose of the Memory Space will be to reinforce the message and display of the Papal Cross and the Monument to the Victims of the Smolensk Tragedy, currently located on Pilsudski Square. As in the case of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, both the cross and the monument, according to the project's authors, should remind people of events such as the Papal Masses held there, the crosses of flowers arranged by people during martial law, and the unification of the nation in respect, remembrance and concern after the events of April 10, 2010.

New Zachęta

The new Zachęta, according to the architects, is part of the global trend of expanding major contemporary art galleries.

Art Square

The publicly accessible space between the existing Zachęta building and the New Zachęta is to be Art Square. According to the project, this is where outdoor exhibitions are to be held.

A 21st century multimedia center

This institution is to be a branch of the National Library. Together with the National Film Library - Audiovisual Institute, it would focus on forms of introducing the public to modern ways of enjoying reliable content and cultural products in digital formats.

Museum of Cryptology

The museum is to be a place referring to the successes of Polish intelligence from the interwar period and World War II. As the authors of the project emphasize, the breaking of the code of the Red Army and Enigma, according to historical accounts, took place right in the building of the Saski Palace.

Center for Mathematics

According to the architects, the center is to be a space that brings this most universal and present in all fields language closer.

Exploratorium of Digital Reality

The Exploratorium is a branch of the National Museum of Technology, oriented to present modern technological achievements. It is also to be a space for considering the directions of its development.

Space Poland 2118

The space is to form a showroom with a cyclically changing exhibition, updated in an interdisciplinary process of continuous prototyping of how Poland can significantly exist in the world. This process, as envisioned by the architects, is to involve citizens and take place with the participation of a number of partners, such as the Polish Development Fund, the National Center for Research and Development, the National Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning, the Łukasiewicz Research Network, the National Science Center, and centers of humanistic or social research and thought.


Tentatively described as a Green Transport Intermodal Node, it will be based on the availability of public transportation and Europe's largest bicycle parking and parking spaces for electric vehicles. Fifteen thousand bicycle spaces are planned to be implemented, with the possibility of increasing this number to twenty thousand, as well as five hundred and seventy parking spaces for electric vehicles, equipped with stations for two-way power exchange.

Independence Square

The most momentous part of Pilsudski Park and the place leading to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The square is to be located in a spatial relationship with the Liberty Arcade, which, according to the intention of the project's authors, reinforces the message: "there is no independence without freedom" and "we may have lost our independence, but we have always been free."

Freedom Arcades

The arcades, with the character of an open walkway, will connect Art Square with Independence Square and Saxon Garden. They will provide a framework for various activities during inclement weather - performances by artists and meetings in café or restaurant gardens.

Urban Spa

The spa is a section of the complex, where the roof of the building forms a depression resembling a small ravine. Specially selected plants, supported by natural air filters built on the basis of mosses and algae, will allow to create an appropriate microclimate. The interaction of flora and technology will help clean the air of PM particles and nitrogen oxides, among other things. The main element of the Urban Spa will be the Air Biopurifier - a continuation and development of the idea of Dotleniacz by Joanna Rajkowska, which has become a symbol of public space improving the quality of life of Warsaw residents.

Asylum of Cold

The square is planned within the contours of the former Brühl Palace courtyard. Here, the entire infrastructure will focus on creating a publicly accessible cool asylum in the summer. The air is to be cooled by water reservoirs and micro-fountains of the "wet floor" type, and so-called dry fog generators will help lower the air temperature by 6-8 degrees Celsius.

Capital Terrace for Art and Recreation

The terrace will be a space designed for contemplating art and sunbathing. Temporary exhibitions, happenings and cultural events will build the character of the place, which will offer a unique view of the Saxon Garden, the Municipal Spa and Piłsudski Park.

#ProjectPolska2118 #ArchitekcidlaKlimatu

compiled by. Ola

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