Become an A&B portal user and receive giveaways!
Become an A&B portal user and receive giveaways!

XV Westival of Architecture is launched. Szczecin in the leading role!

24 of May '24
w skrócie
  1. The 15th Westival of Architecture in Szczecin begins at the Polish Theater, recently expanded by Romuald Loegler
  2. Deadline: May 24-26, 2024, organizer: SARP o/Szczecin
  3. Keyword: Architecture of Dialogue. Curator: Jakub Golebiewski. This year's edition focuses on the development and heritage of Szczecin
  4. Topics of discussion include post-war architectural heritage, the housing crisis, urban mobility, revitalization and the role of the city architect
  5. Participants in the debates will be experts from Szczecin and specialists from other cities
  6. Also scheduled are walking tours of Szczecin and a guided tour of the Polish Theater

  7. For more interesting information, visit the home page of the AiB portal

In theater and, above all, about Szczecin. Such will be this year's Westival of Architecture. On the program: five discussions, two walks and tours each, one author's meeting. Topics: from the post-war architectural heritage of Szczecin, to - important also in many other centers - the question of the city's architect.

This is the fifteenth edition of one of Poland's oldest festivals dedicated to architecture. The event, organized since 2022 in a biennial formula, is scheduled for the entire weekend. It starts today, Friday, at 5pm (program: here). The venue is also the protagonist of the festival: it is the Polish Theater, expanded after a long wait according to a design by Romuald Loegler. The facility, which opened last August, will be available to test during discussions and meetings, as well as to inspect during a guided tour scheduled for Sunday morning (26.05., 10:00 a.m., limited number of seats).

five discussions in play

The theme of this year's edition: Architecture of Dialogue. Curated by Jakub Golebiewski. Two years ago, Westival dealt with the future of Polish architecture. This year it narrows the scope to important local issues. It focuses on Szczecin, placing individual themes in a broader context. Participants in the debates will therefore include both Szczeciners and guests from other Polish cities. The main organizer, which is, as always, the Szczecin branch of SARP, informs:

The purpose of our meeting will be a lively and substantive conversation about Szczecin. We will touch on the issues of contemporary architectural heritage, revitalization, housing, transportation policy and the city's architectural policy, referring to good models from other cities and countries.

There will be five discussions, and, although - after modernization - the theater has just that many rooms, the meetings will be held onlyon one of the stages: theJan Banucha one. The first focus, on Friday at 18:00, will be on a topic that already resonated two years ago, when the festival was accompanied by an exhibition of post-war Szczecin architecture, organized by the National Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning (in cooperation with the Szczecin SARP). It's all about post-war architectural heritage, its preservation and commemoration. Participants will mention already demolished works of Szczecin's modernism, consider whether, how and which existing buildings should be protected, look at good examples from other cities. Each participant will give a short presentation of their chosen Szczecin site or building from 1945-1989. The meeting will be moderated by Jakub Gołębiewski. Participants: Anna Syska, Michał Dębowski, Piotr Śmierzewski.

patdevelopment like coffee

On Saturday, a marathon of panel discussions will begin at 10:00 a.m. and will last - with an extended break for lunch - until 8:00 p.m. Before noon (10:00-11:30 a.m.), the hottest topic at the moment: residential architecture, may have more clout than the morning coffee. It probably won't be nice, because it can't be, either, but there is a chance that the discussants will come up with ideas for real and positive change. First, however, they will consider the rather rhetorical question: is there a housing crisis in Poland ? Then they will lean, among other things, on pat-development, the question of diversification of housing types, good models and why

why good, friendly neighborhoods are so rarely built in Polish cities, and why there are virtually none in Szczecin?

The panelists will also address the topic of the nearby Międzyodrze, which is currently being developed, and which - after the discussion - is worth seeing for yourself. The debate will be moderated by Karol Nieradka. Panelists (all from outside Szczecin): Zbigniew Macieków, Agata Twardoch and Wojtek Kotecki.

At noon the discussion on communication and mobility will begin . The starting thesis: why (despite many investments in this area) are drivers, pedestrians, public transport users and cyclists not satisfied with mobility in Szczecin? Participants will also consider why the momentum with which investments in transportation issues were made until recently has slowed down. Presenting their ideas for improving the situation are: Tomasz Tosza, Karolina Grochowicka, Michal Kaczmarek, Agnieszka Krzyzak-Pitura. The debate will be moderated by Szymon Nieradka. For guests from outside Szczecin, we recommend supplementing the debate with a vetting of the recently transformed Wojska Polskiego Avenue, as well as ongoing road and track renovations in the area of the Central Station and Port Gate.

Revitalization, or what?

The fourth Westival debate (the third on Saturday) will be held under the motto "Re... or a city full of life" and will touch on a topic that can be considered a bottomless pit. It will talk about revitalization - a concept that in Poland has acquired an unusually large number of, sometimes completely erroneous, meanings. What the Westival organizers mean by revitalization, we will find out, perhaps, during the discussion between 4:30 and 6:00 p.m. However, there promises to be a wide range of topics. After all, participants are expected to discuss, among other things, what are the potentials and problems of Szczecin, what revitalizing impulses the city needs, whether revitalization is able to retain the energy and talents of young people, and

can revitalization help us finally feel (after 80 years) truly at home?

There are, in fact, more issues signaled, and they are to be taken up by panelists (again from outside Szczecin): Jakub Krzysztofik (Lodz), Katarzyna Sadowy (Warsaw), Katarzyna Andrzejczyk-Briks (Poznan). Curators of the debate: Tomasz Maksymiuk, Artur Ratuszyński.

architect of the city, or who?

A final discussion under the short, succinct and, unfortunately, somewhat phantom title "Architect of the city" is scheduled for the evening (18:30) . The organizers write (very rightly, by the way) that

The position of city architect needs a personality. A person with great professional knowledge, but also with a broad humanistic outlook and a vision of the city he loves. [...] In addition to the substantive scope of this position, which the city tries deferentially to fill with its officials, the city architect has one function that is impossible to replace - he is the only spokesman of the residents to the city government.

Meanwhile, Szczecin, like many other Polish cities today does not have a figure of such format. The organizers mention the well-respected city architect Jacek Bondar, who died three years ago, pointing out that he has no worthy successor. Whether and how it is possible to fight for real architects of Polish cities will be discussed by acting city architects Piotr Sobczak (Poznań) and Adam Zwoliński (Kołobrzeg), vice-president of Stargard Piotr Mync and the editor-in-chief of our portal and monthly Malgorzata Tomczak, who also acts as the initiator of Kraków's "Pact for Space". Moderated by Marek Orłowski.

An interlude in the sequence of debates, will be (in addition to time for lunch) in the afternoon (3:00 pm) a guided tour of the permanent exhibition at the Polish The ater called "Actor in architecture, traces of the stage and theater in the history of the city of Szczecin."

The weather is nice, it's a pity not to come

The scope and topics of the discussion are, as you can see, very broad, and it will be interesting to see how many binding conclusions can be formulated in the course of it. Discussive reflections will be fostered by the festival Sunday scheduled for events of a lighter caliber. Scheduled for it are the aforementioned guided tours of the theater, two walks: through the Grabowo district, where the Polish Theater is located (12:30 pm), and in the footsteps of buildings that served theater functions in the 20th century (starting at 3 pm). Also scheduled is a meeting with the author of an architectural guide to Szczecin (11:00 am).

The weather over the weekend is expected to be favorable for walks (both those organized by Westival and those supplementing the debates), so it is worth spending the weekend getting acquainted with Szczecin's architecture, space and related plans, which are not the best known in Poland. The next such opportunity - only in two years.

Jakub Głaz

The vote has already been cast