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Sink or soar, a summary of the year 2022 in architecture (Part IV)

05 of January '23

The end of December — because that's when we finished preparing the January issue — is the best time for all kinds of summaries. And like every year, we ask practitioners and architecture critics to write what they consider a success and what they consider a failure in a given year. We do it in the convention of Sink or Soar. We give our Authors total freedom of expression and do not moderate this discussion. Rather, we are very curious about it.

Previous episodes of the series featured:


Maciej Franta in HITS AND KITS 2022 from A&B 01|2023 issue

The last year has been a time of contempt, ignorance and disrespect for humanity—we have a war abroad, which, in addition to the great tragedy and death, is just realizing the putty of the century, that is, demolishing what is probably an extremely interesting architectural world, of which we have little idea and no longer manage to have in its original form. So I shelve the realization of buildings, wishing that my next year's successor would point out, for lack of problems in the world, interesting examples and focus on an area that is more important and more in tune withmy way of perceiving architecture as an indispensable element of our life, culture and heritage and a carrier of history in centuries, i.e., our immediate space, the popularization and presentation of our achievements to the world, and the building of the Polish brand of architecture in the world as a value.

I consider the following to be soar

Small successes in improving our urban space in the context of the Landscape Resolution and its implementation, here the honorable mention goes to two centers: a large city and a small mountain resort, namely Krakow and Vistula. In the latter, an additional laurel should be awarded for the attempt to also comprehensively clean up the city's transportation system and the fact that Wisla is the only mountain resort already almost without advertising.

The first big ambitious realizations of our studios abroad—the one closer in the south and further in the world. I think 2023 will be the first year when we will see iconic architecture conceived in Poland, but realized outside our borders: a big round of applause for all those who contribute and create it, without letting go of quality.

Great „Archip Guide to Poland” by Tomasz Malkowski and Robert Konieczny for popularizing architecture as an attraction not only for architects, but for everyone, and for drawing people's attention and showing that it is important and can be an element of our identity. I wish it to be published in English and widely printed around the world.

For the sink I consider

As in the introduction—a tragedy of many scenes across our eastern border, with all the consequences. The continued ignorance of the authorities for our space and the lack of comprehensive urban planning solutions on a national scale and a real return to real urban planning everywhere. It seems that until our environment plucks from its ranks the political potential to start engaging with the authorities, we will be perpetually at an impasse—here I am winking at SARP—maybe it is worth thinking about, doing and asking the environment for support?

From my immediate backyard and immediate neighborhood, as well as my own history—I have to point out the putty that I personally try to fight against. Silesian Park, one of the most interesting spaces in this country, and certainly the most spectacular park in Poland designed 100 percent, with extraordinary functions and timeless architecture, cannot wait for an efficient and competent modernization. The kitty in the area of this problem is the already-approved demolition of the Parkowa restaurant—a valuable and ambitious building of communist times, designed by Zbigniew Rzepecki—a certain icon of the place and an element of the Park's original foundation, which could successfully have a new, profitable and interesting function, and meanwhile is being removed in the name of building something sometime in the future, without any plan. The overall management of the Park and its space, the chaotic renovations, the lack of at least one person on the board with an architectural background, and probably the sixth change of CEO in recent years are all reasons that create bad decisions and kits in this space.


Architect, founder of FRANTA GROUP Architekt Maciej Franta

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