Special Interest Tour
We’ve selected what we feel are the key projects in contemporary architecture created by Polish and foreign architects. We cover the best examples of office buildings, cultural & sport centres, shopping malls as well as unique housing areas across Poland. All study visits are prepared a la carte and leaded by most educated guides in the subject of architecture. We will start our trip through Polish buildings designs, in the capital of Poland, Warsaw. The National Stadium is one of five venues built especially for the 14th UEFA European Championship which was co-hosted with Ukraine. It is the largest stadium in Poland and won the World Stadium Award 2012 from the World Stadium Congress. It was designed by a group of architects including Von Gerkan Marg and Partners, JSK Architects and Schlaich Bergermann and Partners. Another highlight is Zlota 44, an impressive 192m high tower, designed by Studio Daniel Libeskind - a luxury apartment building in the very heart of Warsaw. Dubbed the “Glass Wing” because of its sweeping glass facade and bending walls, Zlota 44 will bring life and brightness to the city centre. Its spectacular form, environmentally friendly technology and ultra-modern architecture will make it one of the most innovative and ground-breaking projects ever offered in Poland.
Urban project called Miasteczko Wilanow, located across the Royal Palace and its surrounding formal gardens, is the most distinguished area in Warsaw. The community architectural concept respects the historical environment and refers to 18th century prime residential neighbourhoods in Paris and London. Thanks to the green plazas, fountains, water canals, parks and gardens, the area constitute a friendly, walking neighbourhood. One of Warsaw’s most exciting public buildings was completed at the beginning of 2013. It is the building of Museum of the History of Polish Jews, designed by Finnish architect Rainer Mahlamäki. One-third of the building area is occupied by the core exhibition. The remainder comprises temporary exhibition areas, a multi-purpose auditorium which can host conferences, film screenings, concerts, plays etc., an Education Centre, two screening rooms, a restaurant and a café. In 2008, the award-winning design Lahdelma & Mahlamäki won the Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award for this project. In 2013, the building was awarded Eurobuild Awards for Best Architectural Design of the Year (Poland). In 2014 the museum building was awarded the 2013 Association of Polish Architects (SARP) and Association award for the best architectural building built with public funds.
With only one hour transfer from Warsaw, we will head for the city of Lodz to visit the Manufaktura Culture Trade Entertainment Centre. It is one of the largest commercial centres in Poland and in Europe. It is situated in the heart of Lodz. Its location is significant as it is here where Izrael Poznanski, one of the most famous 19th century entrepreneurs of Lodz, established one of the largest textile factories. Since 1971, the whole complex with its adjacent palace has been registered on the list of the city's most valuable industrial monuments. By mixing the old post-industrial architecture with a modern design, the post-industrial architectural complex has been revitalised to become one of the city's major attractions.
Two most significant architectural projects in Cracow, which are still to be mentioned, are Malopolska Garden Arts and ICE Congress Centre. Design of the Malopolska Garden of Arts – awarded the 2012 Professor Janusz Bogdanowski prize for best architecture in Cracow. The building has been realised according to a competition winning design. It is no coincidence that the building was raised in the vicinity of Karmelicka – a street popular with students and locals alike – opposite the building of the public library, with the aim of ensuring its smooth inclusion into the “bloodstream” of the city. Commenting on the 2007 verdict announcing the winning design of ICE Congress Centre, the president of the jury in the international architectural competition, Luxemburg architect Bohdan Paczowski, admitted that the choice between the works selected for the final round reflected the traditional division into the partisans of the romantic and classicist tendencies in art, and that it was finally the champions of the romantic current who determined the selection of the best design.
Continue our trip for Gdansk, we have chosen to visit Polish Solidarity Centre opened in 2014. The main idea for the design was to concretise solidarity: to allow architecture to give a material form to the human spirit of a community which was such an important pre-condition for the creation of the new Poland. The building consists of a number of volumes which, while they may be unremarkable individually, when placed together – shoulder to shoulder – acquire both power and expression. The building volumes seek support in each other and together create an impression of the great strength and expressiveness. After two decades of effort and hard work, the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre has finally opened its doors to audience also in 2014. The author of the design is Italian architect Renato Rizzi, awarded a special prize at the international competition announced in 2004. It is considered to be one of the most modern theatre building in Poland. The most spectacular effect causes the foldable theatre roof which makes an open-air show possible. Hence the idea of flexible space, composed of revolving platforms, which, as needed, can be transformed into a box-set (by hiding the Shakespearean stage and fixing seats on its site) or into a central “theatre-in-the-round”. The adaptable space is, like the Elizabethan stage, “transparent”, totally absorbed by the theatre world, totally subordinate to its structure. Gardens alike: designed at the six-metre-high elevation in front of the theatre are planned to allow spectators to admire the old town of Gdansk, to be the auditorium of “the theatre of the city”. The Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre has been designed as the multifunctional space. Apart from the performances organised by an impresario theatre, it will hold non-theatrical events (concerts, exhibitions, workshops, conferences etc.).