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A historic skyscraper will grow - an icon of Warsaw modernism under threat?

Kacper Kępiński
20 of July '22

The former Elektrim skyscraper, also functioning under the names Intraco II, Oxford Tower and Ch8 will grow by several floors. Today it forms a visually coherent complex together with the neighboring LiM skyscraper. Will the expansion and superstructure not destroy the original value of the project?

higher and more

Widok wieżowca LiM i Intraco II

Photo: Adrian Grycuk / Wikimedia Commons

Warsaw City Hall has received an application for a decision on environmental conditions for the expansion of the existing building into an Oxford Towers office complex with a retail and service area with an underground garage and supporting infrastructure, as well as the construction of a new office building next door with a retail area. The building, which is 140 meters (to the roof) today, is to grow to a height of 180 meters. Its current office function would be changed to a hotel, which may be due in part to the height of the rooms, which is out of line with modern office standards.

international style icons

Widok na kompleks wieżowców Widok na Intraco II

photo by Masti, Adrian Grycuk / Wikimedia Commons

The skyscraper at Chalubinskiego 8 was erected between 1975 and 1978, based on a design by a team led by Jerzy Skrzypczak. Together with the neighboring Marriott, it forms a cohesive complex characterized by great architectural and historical values and is one of the more successful developments in keeping with the international style in Poland. Now part of this complex is to be completely redeveloped.

fight for superstructure

The first announcements of an investment involving the expansion of an existing skyscraper and the construction of more in the vicinity appeared a decade ago. Visualizations shown at the time showed a completely transformed silhouette of the building to which the new structure was tacked. The concept at the time was prepared by Mateńko Architects.

repealed plan

MPZP - koncepcja planu

photo: UM Warsaw

The topic returned in 2017 with the local zoning plan prepared by the city, which allowed a large intensification of development throughout the neighborhood, including the construction of skyscrapers on the site of the former Hoffmanowa High School or the so-called Nycz Tower. The investment planned by the Warsaw curia is, incidentally, the only part of the plan that has survived after it was repealed almost in its entirety by the governor.

endangered monument

Rotunda - wyburzanie

photo: Mariochom / Wikimedia Commons

The building has been listed in the municipal register of historical monuments since 2012, which means that the changes should be approved by the city's conservator. However, as successive Warsaw projects - Smyk or Rotunda - prove, historic architecture and the law protecting it in theory don't stand a chance in a clash with capital and developers, and the city loses another important testimony of the era. Can the superstructure of a skyscraper be built while respecting its original design? Seven stories is a lot, an imbalance of proportions is inevitable. A much greater detriment will be the loss of coherence with the Marriott. Also puzzling is the shape of the planned new office building next door, which could dramatically change the perception of the entire neighborhood.


Photo by Bartosz Morąg / Wikimedia Commons

Kacper Kępiński

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