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Warsaw's The Bridge. Skyscraper new but not innovative

28 of January '21

Construction of a 174-meter high skyscraper is starting in Warsaw's Wola office district. Designed by the Dutch studio UNStudio in cooperation with the Polish-Belgian Architecture Studio, The Bridge office building is a new, but not innovative, project. It will complement the existing European Square development, tying in with the historic Bellona. Construction is scheduled to end in 2024.

The proposed building will stand at the intersection of Towarowa and Grzybowska streets. It will be directly adjacent to European Square, around which Ghelamco has already developed the Warsaw Spire complex. In the future, the quarter is to be supplemented with one more skyscraper at the intersection of Wronia and Grzybowska streets. High-rise development at the site of the fountain is permitted by the local zoning plan.

Plac Europejski

European Square. In the lower right corner you can see the Bellona building and the plot where The Bridge will be built.

photo: AGC Glass Europe / Wikimedia Commons

Packed with gadgets

The Bridge is to offer 47,000 square meters of high-end office space. The 174-meter-high, 40-story skyscraper will be located next to the former headquarters of Bellona publishing house , which is listed in the register of historical monuments. The two buildings will be connected by a common lobby. An underground parking garage will accommodate 280 cars and 147 bicycles, along with sanitary facilities for cyclists. The investor says the building will be equipped with state-of-the-art technical and environmentally friendly solutions. The building will have chargers for electric cars and a special parking lot for electric bicycles and scooters with 20 places for charging them.

Changes in the building's design were also necessitated by the COVI-19 pandemic . Ghelamco has developed and will implement a special operating system that will allow efficient management of access control, as well as solutions to increase its security in case of an epidemic (includingvirucidal UV lamps that will be placed in elevators and air intakes). The building will be BREEAM and WELL certified - as well as Green Building Standard.

More of the same

The Bridge The Bridge

The Bridge - visualizations from the side of the European Square and Towarowa Street

photo. investor materials

Environmental certificates are now a standard in almost all development projects. Despite the involvement of a foreign office, however, it is hard to look for a breath of novelty in the presented visualizations. The panorama of Warsaw will be enriched by yet another glass, slightly deformed cuboid. Devoid of the investor's characteristic (and aesthetically debatable) chrome detail, it will perhaps be more pleasing to the eye than the neighboring Warsaw Spire.

However, the building still lags behind global trends in high-rise architecture. Fully glazed facades are slowly becoming a thing of the past. The reason is mainly environmental - high heat loss and heating in the summer. Such uniform panes are also a deadly threat to birds. The investment will not functionally enrich a section of the city dominated by office buildings. The neighborhood, which becomes extinct in the evenings, can only hope for dining establishments in the new building. Much will depend on the relationship between the proposed structure and its historic surroundings. This includes both the Bellona building and the tenements on the side of Grzybowska Street. This part of the project is not visible in the visualizations, and it seems crucial for the perception of the architecture and the introduction of human scale.

Kacper Kępiński

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