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ⓘ Architecture of Warsaw. The architecture of Warsaw has influenced and reflected the history of Polish architecture. The city of Warsaw features prominent buildi ..




Architecture of Warsaw
                                     

ⓘ Architecture of Warsaw

The architecture of Warsaw has influenced and reflected the history of Polish architecture. The city of Warsaw features prominent buildings in a variety of styles by many important architects. Warsaws palaces, churches and mansions display a richness of color and architectural details. Buildings are representatives of nearly every European architectural style and historical period. The city has wonderful examples of architecture from the gothic, renaissance, baroque and neoclassical periods, all of which are located within easy walking distance of the town centre.

                                     

1. Architecture by style

Gothic architecture is represented in the majestic churches but also at the burgher houses and fortifications. The most significant buildings are St. Johns Cathedral 14th century, the temple is a typical example of the so-called Masovian gothic style, St. Marys Church 1411, a town house of Burbach family 14th century, Gunpowder Tower after 1379 and the Royal Castle Curia Maior 1407–1410. The most notable examples of Renaissance architecture in the city are the house of Baryczko merchant family 1562, building called "The Negro" early 17th century and Salwator tenement 1632. The most interesting examples of mannerist architecture are the Royal Castle 1596–1619 and the Jesuit Church 1609–1626 at Old Town. Among the first structures of the early baroque the most important are St. Hyacinths Church 1603–1639 and Zygmunts Column 1644.

Building activity occurred in numerous noble palaces and churches during the later decades of the 17th century. One of the best examples of this architecture are Krasinski Palace 1677–1683, Wilanow Palace 1677–1696 and St. Kazimierz Church 1688–1692. The unique character of Warsaw Baroque, which gradually influenced the architecture of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a mixture of local traditions with Western European patterns. Late Baroque architecture with palaces merging Polish mansions of the aristocracy with side towers, Italian suburban villa and a French palace entre cour et jardin between court and garden with two oblong wings on each side of the cour dhonneur, funeral chapels, modelled after Sigismunds Chapel and attached to the church as well as Greek-cross plan churches, are present in Warsaw. The style was largely shaped by one individual Tylman Gamerski, showing Italian and Dutch influences. The most impressive examples of rococo architecture are Czapski Palace 1712–1721, Palace of the Four Winds 1730s and Visitationist Church façade 1728–1761.

The neoclassical architecture in Warsaw can be described by the simplicity of the geometrical forms teamed with a great inspiration from the Roman period. The first stage, called the Stanislavian style, followed by an almost complete inhibition and a period known as the Congress Kingdom classicism. The palladian patterns were independently interpreted by Szymon Bogumil Zug, who followed an influence of radical French classicism. A palladian by influence was also Piotr Aigner - author of the facade of St. Annes Church in Warsaw 1786–1788 and St. Alexander Church 1818–1826. Palladian ideas were implemented in a popular type of a palace with a pillared portico. Some of the best examples of the neoclassical style are the Palace on the Water rebuilt 1775–1795, Krolikarnia 1782–1786, Carmelite Church façade 1761–1783 and Evangelical Holy Trinity Church 1777–1782. The economic growth during the first years of Congress Poland caused a rapid rise architecture. The Neoclassical revival affected all aspects of architecture, the most notable are the Great Theater 1825–1833 and buildings located at Bank Square 1825–1828.

Exceptional examples of the bourgeois architecture of the later periods were not restored by the communist authorities after the war like mentioned Kronenberg Palace and Insurance Company Rosja building or they were rebuilt in socialist realism style like Warsaw Philharmony edifice originally inspired by Palais Garnier in Paris. Despite that the Warsaw University of Technology building 1899–1902 is the most interesting of the late 19th-century architecture. Lot of the 19th-century buildings is restored in Praga Vistula’s right bank, though they are in a pretty bad condition. Warsaw’s municipal government authorities have decided to rebuild the Saxon Palace and the Bruhl Palace, the most distinctive buildings in prewar Warsaw.

After the Warsaw area enlargement in 1916, an occasion was aroused to build new estates. Yet in 20s and 30s new workers and villas estates came into existence. Thanks of this the villas estate was built in Saska Kepa. Most prewar building at this district was not destroyed during war. Nowadays still exists many examples of houses from interwar period, designed by notable architects, like Bohdan Pniewski, Bohdan Lachert, Jozef Szanajca, Lucjan Korngold or Szymon and Helena Syrkus. The workers estates were Ochota and Rakowiec, Kolo north-western part of Wola, Grochow the centre of Praga Poludnie, Zoliborz. The villas estates – Higher Mokotow there lived President Starzynski, Czerniakow north of Wilanow, Saska Kepa between Poniatowski and Lazienkowski bridges as well as Zoliborz. The Zoliborz estate more accurately – the Old Zoliborz, i.e. the part of district around the Wilson Square is an interesting example of an estate, where four groups of society lived next to each other: workers Zoliborz Spoldzielczy, i.e. collective – the workers part was a housing association, writers and periodists Zoliborz Dziennikarski – periodical, state clerks Zoliborz Urzedniczy – clerical and army officers Zoliborz Oficerski.

Notable examples of contemporary architecture include the Palace of Culture and Science 1952–1955, a Soc-realist skyscraper located in the city centre, and the Constitution Square with its monumental Socialist realism architecture MDM estate. The central part of the right-bank east Praga borough it is a place where very run-down houses stand right next to modern apartment buildings and shopping malls.

Like in all former communist countries, there are also several blockhouse estates in Warsaw. They were built between 1960 and 1985, mainly in the areas incorporated in 1951. The greatest are: Ursynow-Natolin, Brodno, Wawrzyszew close to the Steel Industry, Bemowo, Goclaw at the right bank, between Lazienkowski and Siekierkowski bridges, Stegny north-west of Wilanow, Tarchomin north of Torunska Road.

Modern architecture in Warsaw is represented by the Metropolitan Office Building at Pilsudski Square by Lord Foster, Warsaw University Library BUW by Marek Budzynski and Zbigniew Badowski, featuring a garden on its roof and view of the Vistula River, Rondo 1 office building by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Golden Terraces, consisting of seven overlapping domes retail and business centre and skyscraper Zlota 44 by Daniel Libeskind.

It has been said that Warsaw, together with Frankfurt, London, Paris, Moscow, Istanbul and Rotterdam is one of the tallest cities in Europe. Warsaw is ranked as 48th in the List of cities with the most skyscrapers around the world. It is also ranked as 78th in The Worlds List of cities with the most buildings taller than 100m with a number of 16. Of the 20 buildings in Poland which are 100-meters high or above, 16 are situated in Warsaw of which the second one is Sky Tower in Wroclaw. The tallest structure, the centrally located Palace of Culture and Science, is the European Unions seventh-tallest building: 230.7 metres 756.9 ft with the TV-tower, 188 metres 616.8 ft to the roof. The first skyscrapers in Poland were also built in Warsaw. The first was the building of the Polish Telegraph Company 1908 – so-called PASTa – 51 metres 167 ft, probably the highest building in the Russian Empire at that time. The second was the building of the Insurance Company Prudential 1934 – 66 metres 217 ft. Up to date, apart from the Palace of Culture and Science, the highest buildings in Warsaw are: Warsaw Trade Tower 1999, 208 metres 682 ft), InterContinental Warszawa 2003, 164 metres 538 ft) Rondo 1 2006, 159 metres 522 ft), Warsaw Financial Center 1999, 144 metres 472 ft).

                                     
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