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Stanislaw Deńko - Studies, diploma, Technical University

21 of September '22

Archival materials on the figure of Stanislaw Denieka are published in connection with the premiere of a film about the architect, organized by the Malopolska Chamber of Architects of Poland.

The memoir is from A&B 02/2022.

Professor Witold Cęckiewicz is interviewed by Katarzyna Mikulska about his student years, diploma and first projects by Stanislaw Denieka.

Katarzyna Mikulska:What kind of student was Stanislaw Deńko?

Prof. Witold Cęckiewicz:He was a great student. Some people applied even in their third or fourth year, looking for a studio where they wanted to do their diploma. I noticed him quite early, he was engaged, focused and with ideas.

Katarzyna Mikulska:Do you remember his diploma?

Prof. Witold Cęckiewicz:Of course. It was a period of optimism in the country, the First Secretary was Edward Gierek. Students were flocking to my studio, because I believed that the current norm was a temporary state. Students could design with me without restrictions. At the time, I was preparing large housing complexes of several thousand people, such as the Podwawelskie estate and Mistrzejowice in Cracow. I knew that good architecture comes from good urban planning solutions. Staszek's diploma was very interesting, and won an honorable mention. It was a residential complex made of arched buildings that formed a coherent whole. Well-composed, with clear pedestrian and vehicular communication, well-placed service elements in relation to the massive, amphitheatrically piled residential buildings. Residents could choose apartments according to their tastes, but they were not at all like what was mass-produced - in large slabs and with normative restrictions. It was a housing development that had no chance of being built, but allowed creative realization.

Stanisław Deńko w okresie szkolnym

Stanislaw Deńko during his school years

© Private Archive

Katarzyna Mikulska:Did your students often prepare non-standard diplomas?

Prof. Witold Cęckiewicz:I told them: don't limit your fantasies. The diploma is supposed to be your flight up! Then there will be a descent due to the clash with offices, norms and other difficulties. Game optimism did not have much coverage in architecture - we continued to build cheaply and blandly. Talented students applied to me. There were more of them than I could accept, and I conducted the diplomas myself. I asked the candidates a question: do you know that you have to do a diploma in accordance with my requirements? And they were simple: I allow diplomas that deserve an A to be defended. That's why many diplomats received honors. I believe that my legacy is mainly intangible - it is what I left in the minds of more than six hundred diplomats, more than seventy of whom became academics - at home and abroad. From this legacy slips Staszek Deńko - I courted him to become an academician, but he was mainly passionate about creating. Three times he changed the topic of his doctoral thesis suggested by me, he was constantly interested in something else. He has a beautiful creative output. After graduation, I was able to offer him work under my direction.

Eksperymentalny Zespół Mieszkaniowy - praca dyplomowa Osiedle Przyszłości dla 40 tysięcy mieszkańców

Experimental Residential Complex - diploma thesis Estate of the Future for 40 thousand residents - project: 1967
author: Stanisław Deńko
supervisor: prof. Witold Cęckiewicz

Photo: Stanislaw Deńko

Katarzyna Mikulska:You invited Stanislaw Deńko to work on the project of the Polish Embassy in New Delhi. What was the reason for such a decision and what was his responsibility?

Prof. Witold Cęckiewicz:I was invited to a closed competition, eight teams from all over Poland participated. After starting the work and developing the general concept, I realized that the topic required a larger team. Of the people who worked with me, Staszek Deńko was among those who always had interesting proposals. Therefore, I invited him to work with me. The embassy theme consisted of two main parts: the embassy complex connected to the ambassador's residence and the embassy staff housing complex. I was in charge of the representative complex, and Staszek was in charge of the housing and social part: about twenty apartments with medical care, two or three classrooms, a small cinema room, for meetings, lectures, and a cafeteria. The embassy building, meanwhile, contained the ambassador's office, his residence with a representative hall, and the offices of the consul and commercial counselor. Everything constituted a single organism, a coherent whole. The design had to provide the right climatic conditions: shade and the necessary solar penetration. We used light breakers in the embassy complex, and appropriately shaded terraces in the residential part. We connected the two parts with a pool almost 80 meters long with showers on both sides, which were to create the right microclimate. Part of the complex was detached from the ground, so there was shaded space underneath, including for parking lots.

 Ambasada RP w Nowym Delhi

Embassy of the Republic of Poland inNew Delhi
design and implementation: 1973-1978
authors: Prof. Witold Cęckiewicz, Stanisław Deńko cooperation: Andrzej Gonciarz, Lesław Gonciarz, Andrzej Lorek, N. K. Kothari & Associates, Roopak Kothari
construction: Kazimierz Flaga, Ph.

Photo: Stanislaw Deńko

Katarzyna Mikulska:How did the implementation proceed?

Prof. Witold Cęckiewicz:I remember a huge pit dug with primitive tools. On a construction site, which in our country would be done by proper equipment in two weeks, there for two or three months several hundred people worked with pickaxes and shovels. Women dressed in colorful saris carried buckets of earth from the excavation on their heads, realizing the horizontal transport. The vertical one was realized by men standing on ladders.

The scaffolding was tied together with hemp ropes. I remember standing with Staszek Deńka and looking on in horror: well, we will have our dream, but probably crooked like bamboo poles. When the first poured concrete poles emerged, I saw that they were perfectly vertical. One of them, 12 meters high, had a slight deviation. I called the site manager, who checked it and confirmed it. He said there would be a new pole in a week. There were several hundred people at the construction site, and maybe a thousand waiting behind the fence, hoping for work. The workers knew they had to do the job better than those who had to leave the construction site.

dom własny w Lubomierzu

own house in Lubomierz - design and realization: 1975
author: Stanisław Deńko

Photo: Stanislaw Deńko

Staszek had worked with me before on a couple of other sites and I placed him as a collaborator. In this case, given his contribution and involvement, I asked if he would agree to be a co-author of the whole set of objects. He replied that it was a tremendous honor for him, which he had not counted on.

There are fewer and fewer people with so many positive qualities: reliability and dependability, passion and talent, kindness to others. And absolute unconflictedness and modesty at the same time. That's why he was so well-liked by everyone.

Katarzyna Mikulska:Thank you for the interview.

Dzielnica Mieszkaniowa Wiedeń-Południe

Residential district Vienna-South
Authors: Prof. Witold Cęckiewicz, Krzysztof Bieda, Aleksander Böhm, Stanisław Deńko, Manfred Resch, Wacław Seruga, Jacek Vogel, Andrzej Wyżykowski
Mock-up: Andrzej Gonciarz

Photo: Stanislaw Deńko

interviewed by Katarzyna Mikulska

Stanislaw Deńko - other materials in the A&B portal

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