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Facelift planned for two Warsaw streets
Sokolska for living and working


Is it a square – or is it a palimpsest?

Anna Pakulniewicz 14 December 2018

Anna Pakulniewicz


+48 22 356 25 07

Ania covers the Baltic states’ real estate markets, architecture and urban planning in Warsaw as well as interior design. She is also the co-founder of Eurobuild TV. Among others, she has been employed by TVN CNBC, PAP Insider, WBJ (The Observer), Poland Monthly and IMM. She graduated from the Warsaw School of Economics, majoring in international relations. She has also completed postgraduate studies in macroeconomic analysis. In addition to this, she studied Lithuanian philology

Is it a square – or is it a palimpsest?
The re-design is by Zygmunt Borawski, Srdjan Zlokapa and Martin Marker Larsen of A-A Collective
POLAND The architectural competition for the concept for pl. Centralny square (part of pl. Defilad) in Warsaw has been won by A-A Collective.

“The greenery, new buildings and the attractive cultural programme that is planned for it will fulfil an important social function, making the centre of the city more attractive. This is reflected in A-A Collective’s design. It will involve the creation of a unique palimpsest, by imprinting the history of Warsaw symbolically into the surface of the square with the paving and greenery,” explains Marlena Happach, the official city architect and the director of Warsaw’s architectural and spatial planning Department.

The design is the work of Zygmunt Borawski, Srdjan Zlokapa and Martin Marker Larsen of A-A Collective. “We don’t want to create another stone desert. We believe that concerts, manifestations, fairs, city games, performances should be held in a space that combines elements of the park and the square. In the summer the square will act as a vast area for fun and relaxation. In the winter the appearance of the park will soften the frozen landscape of the capital with the use of evergreen plants,” explain the architects.

A 140 sqm pond is to be created at the entrance to the square from ul. Marszałkowska, close to the planned Museum of Modern Art. The pond will take the form of one of the historic courtyards of the tenement houses that once stood on the site and will be covered with white marble. The concept is for an asymmetrical layout of pavements and greenery to create a ‘phantom map’ of the quarter as it once was. The surfaces of the pavements will resemble those of the streets that formerly ran through the square, while the lawns will have the same outlines as pre-war tenements that stood on the site but were destroyed either during the Second World War or after it to make way for the construction of the Palace of Culture and Science. A floor layer reflecting the layout of the square in 1825 is to be created out of white granite cubes, while the pre-war system of roads and courtyards will be represented by lanes and squares made of stone cubes. A lane of red baked bricks is to be added to make the boundary of the Warsaw ghetto more visible.

The stone tribune (dais) that dominates this part of the square will be dismantled for the duration of the entire project for sandblasting work, while the steps leading up to it will be moved 20m closer to the Palace of Culture due to the changes to the “topography of the square”, which currently has an uneven level with differences of more than 2m.

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