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A Station Called Desire. Lodz Kaliska is about to change beyond recognition

15 of February '23

The Łódź Kaliska railway station will undergo its third metamorphosis in its history. PKP has announced a tender to carry out the work according to the project, which was prepared by An Archi Group studio. Will users miss the post-modern station?

The history of the Łódź Kaliska railway station dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, although its pop-culture phenomenon was only born in 1999, when in a vulgar expression that stuck to Łódź for years, a character in a Marek Koterski film unflatteringly expressed himself about the uneven sidewalk in front of the station. The same scene was recreated in 2017, advertising the completed reconstruction of the Łódź Fabryczna station. In 1987, construction of a new edifice began, designed by Jan Gorgul, Marek Skurnog and Wojciech Gaszyński. The reason for the complete change of the project and the rejection of the renovation attempt, as Błażej Ciarkowski writes, was the bad experience of similar work parzeprowadzone at that time at the Łódź Fabryczna station.

dworzec Łódź Kaliska w okresie międzywojennym

Łódź Kaliska railway station in the interwar period

© Włodzimierz Pfeiffer | Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

Gorgula's postmodern edifice was meant to reconcile financial conditions and the need for a modern station. The turquoise color combined with glazing and somewhat clumsy forms aroused controversial opinions from the beginning. The fanciful form realized in the 1990s was considered uninteresting - at the same time voices of longing directed toward the old Art Nouveau form were heard. These were not voices, only of "tradarchs" for whom architecture ended before modernism. With the passage of time, Lodz Kaliska, on which there was always some kind of renovation going on (as any person who has used the building will confirm), ceased to shock, while at the same time it did not grow into alocal or even nationwide cult like the demolished Solpol department store designed by Wojciech Jarząbek, which was fought over by activists and architects not only in Wroclaw, but all over Poland. The decision to rebuild the station shocked no one - the king died, long live the king.

postmodernistyczny budynek dworca

postmodern train station building

© Axe | Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0

new edifice

The project created by An Archi Group studios completely dissociates itself from the postmodern formula, while at the same time not referring to the fashionable Lodz way of "recreating elevations" as used at the Lodz Fabryczna station or during the revitalization of Włókiennicza Street - trying in a rather fanciful way to refer to the golden age of Lodz as a textile powerhouse. The new body contains neither Art Nouveau nor postmodern elements, and is meant to be something new in the context of this place.

wizualizacja projektu dworca Łódź Kaliska

visualization of the Łódź Kaliska train station project


The immediate surroundings will primarily be deprived of steps - leveling the area around the main entrance. The canopy providing the backdrop for the famous scene from Koterski's film will disappear, and the facade made of oxidized copper will be flattened, except for small indentations in the middle part of the facade. The internal layout will undergo a slight metamorphosis - although the main connection between Włókniarzy Avenue and Unii Lubelskiej Avenue, will be retained. The patio in the northern part, where the food and beverage section was located until now, will disappear - a parking lot will be located in this part. The building is to be adapted to the needs of people with disabilities, and most of its major functions will be located on the first floor. Construction costs are expected to consume about 55 million zlotys, and work is expected to begin later this year. It is scheduled to open in 2025.

wizualizacja projektu dworca Łódź Kaliska - wnętrze

visualization of the Łódź Kaliska train station project - interior


should we preserve postmodern fantasies?

The period of postmodern architecture seems to be a closed topic in Poland, although as Błażej Ciarkowski, cited above, pointed out, in Łódź one can have the impression that it never ended. In the case of the Kaliska Railway Station, voices about its destruction did not raise objections, although the new project does not find the same admiration. Criticism is levied at the introduction of a parking lot, cosmetic changes in function or an unnecessarily large investment. With the final assessment of the implementation it is worthwhile to withhold, although Łódź is a city with an exceptional misfortune for stations – it remains to be regretted that we did not see a competition for the reconstruction of the Łódź Kaliska station, which could have proposed not only changes to the body, but also new functions.

wizualizacja projektu dworca Łódź Kaliska

visualization of the Łódź Kaliska train station project


written by Wiktor Bochenek

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