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What the war has not destroyed, we will raze ourselves

11 of August '23

Warsaw is unlikely to suffer from an excess of historical substance. However, this does not make what survived the war particularly protected. After the illegal demolition of an outbuilding in Praga, it's time for the former SLD headquarters on Rozbrat Street. The preservationist considers the Left's appeals to have the building entered in the registers to be unfounded.

office building made of cardboard

Wizualizacja planowanego biurowca

visualization of the planned office building

© investor press materials

The former headquarters of the Democratic Left Alliance was located in Warsaw's Solec district, in a complex of buildings at 44a Rozbrat Street. The complex was sold to Radius in June 2011, along with the building of the Syreni Śpiew club. Demolition of the buildings is set to begin after twelve years, with an office building designed by Atelier Tektura planned in their place. The Warsaw office has designed an eight-story edifice with services on the first floor, with a total office area of about 4,400 square meters. The building will relate to the dimensions of the current building, but will not make use of the historic substance.

unsustainable development

Pawilon Syreniego Śpiewu

Mermaid Singing pavilion

Photo: Adrian Grycuk | Wikimedia Commons © CC BY-SA 3.0 PL

The mere demolition of buildings in good condition, only to erect new ones of similar dimensions in their place, can be considered an environmentally harmful action—the exact opposite of reuse, which should be the foundation of sustainable urban development. However, we have become accustomed to seeing mediocre buildings disappear from the landscape of Warsaw, often also outstanding, but too young to be protected. In the case of the Rozbrat investment, however, we are talking about a pre-war edifice with an insurgent history.

Read also: Atrium disappears from the map of Warsaw. Is it a good thing?

projects by prominent architects

Kamienica przy Rozbrat 44a - widok archiwalny

Tenement house at Rozbrat 44a, archival view

© State Archive in Warsaw—gabarite paper

The building to be demolished consists of three buildings, functionally connected. At the address Rozbrat 44a stands the pre-war Higher School of Journalism. Erected in 1936-37, it was designed by Stefan Tomorowicz. To it, after the war, around 1950-51, an office building designed by a group of Warsaw "Tigers"—Waclaw Kłyszewski, Jerzy Mokrzynski and Eugenisz Wierzbicki—was added. The newest part of the complex is the social pavilion and dormitory of the ANS of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers' Party (PZPR), completed in 1971-74, which in the last phase of its operation housed, among other things, the Syreni Śpiew club. Although the hotel part has been demolished and a building designed by BPA Projekt Adam Wagner is being erected in its place, the club pavilion itself has been placed in the register of monuments after a battle by social activists.

last one on Solec

© City Is Ours

Unusually, the pre-war part of the complex is actually one of the last remnants of pre-war modernist construction in Solec. As the City Is Ours association points out, it is also a place hallowed by the blood of the fallen insurgents who captured the building on August 10, 1944, after which they repulsed a massive Nazi attack involving a tank. One soldier fell here, and at least ten were wounded. As the Mazovian Provincial Historic Preservation Officer himself admitted, Left activists have long been seeking to have the edifice entered in the register of monuments—but the arguments they raise do not convince the official. The City Is Ours has also filed an application in this regard.

Komentarz MWKZ na profilu Miasto Jest Nasze

MWKZ commentary on the profile of Miasto Jest Nasz

© Facebook The City Is Ours

ridiculous fine

In early August, another historic building was demolished without the required permits. The developer Fenix Group, which is conducting an investment at 17 Targowa Street, demolished outbuildings from the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, listed in the municipal register of historical monuments and protected by a register entry for the entire urban layout of Targowa Street. The developer has been fined 450 thousand zlotys for carrying out construction work without a permit from the Mazovian Provincial Monument Conservator for demolition of the front building, unauthorized reconstruction of the tenement with outbuildings and a side outbuilding, on the side of the Targowa 15 and Targowa 19 properties, and reconstruction of the restored building, i.e. work carried out on the property at 17 Targowa Street in Warsaw, which at current housing prices is an abnormally low amount. The company additionally has an appeal to the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

no one cares

Kamienica przy ul. Łuckiej 8

Tenement house at 8 Lucka Street

Photo: Adrian Grycuk | Wikimedia Commons © CC BY-SA 3.0 en

The oldest house in Wola is also in danger of being completely destroyed. One of Warsaw's districts hardest hit by World War II may lose one of the oldest buildings in its area, as no one wants to take responsibility for securing the edifice. We wrote about the fate of the 19th century building in the article Wola will lose its oldest house?

Kacper Kępiński

The vote has already been cast