Nine Polish projects nominated for world’s most prestigious architectural awards
Regarded as one of the most prestigious architectural competitions in the world, nine Polish projects have been nominated for the latest edition of the Mies van der Rohe Award.
Selected as part of a longlist of 362, the Polish projects vary in size and style and will be hoping to make the cut for the final shortlist when it is announced in January. The ultimate winners will then be announced in April.
Arguably, none are more high profile than Browary Warszawskie, a mixed-use development that has helped reenergise Warsaw’s Wola district.
Whereas its immediate surroundings had already come to be considered the capital’s new financial heart, Browary Warszawaskie has been widely credited with adding a more three-dimensional angle to the district through its commercial, leisure, social and residential facilities.
Designed by JEMS Architecki, and officially opened in 2021, the development saw the sensitive restoration of a historic brewery complex, as well as the addition of several new buildings designed to seamlessly absorb into the fabric of the area.
Particularly known as a food and drink hub, elements of the ambitious investment include 19th century cellars revived as a food hall, the capital’s first woonerf, green public spaces and a copper-coloured, mesh-clad luxury apartment block.
This, though, is one of three Warsaw projects to make the first call of candidates. Also included on the list is a school for Ukrainian children in the myhive Mokotów Two office building.
Created pro bono in just two-months, its creation has been cited elsewhere as a paean to teamwork – involving 52 companies and 200 volunteers, a school for 300 children was built on a vacant floor of an office structure.
Designed by xystudio, the 1,200 sq/m space features cheerful colour schemes, relaxation zones and other elements purposefully added to help reduce trauma.
Elsewhere in Warsaw, the National Library will also be hoping to make the cut after its impressive modernisation.
Making use of raw materials such as copper, steel, wood and stone, other features of this revamped modernist landmark include four internal gardens that have been redesigned to each tout a different style that changes with the seasons.
Of Poland’s other major cities, Gdańsk is also represented via the inclusion of the LPP campus. Designed by JEMS Architecki, the five-building complex boasts a green square and industrial-style buildings defined by their raw concrete and glazed fronts.
According to the architects, all has been created to “support the creativity and exchange of ideas by the young staff.”
However, it is not just on the big conurbations that the spotlight has fallen. In Jastrzębie-Zdrój, a futuristic concert hall that “reorganises and tidies up existing space, and gives it a multi-threaded character” has been called out for a design that “shines” and “neutralises the volume of the facility” though its reflective façade.
Above all, hope the architects, it is a building that will stand the test of time and prove resistant to vandalism.
In Łowicz, meanwhile, a housing estate born from the government’s affordable housing plan is also seeking wider glory. Containing 97 low-cost units, the turnkey apartments have been surrounded by recreational areas and include full-disabled access and an overall aesthetic that subtly brings to mind the modernist and Socialist Realist styles of the 20th century.
Equally public-minded has been the extensive modernisation of the market in Błonie. Spanning an area of 6,000 sq/m, the project has seen the introduction of futuristic roofed stands replacing the grotty old ones as well as irrigation systems, rain gardens and covered seating areas to encourage visitors on non-trading days.
Then, there is the footbridge in Dobczyce. Connecting a dam reservoir with the Castle Hill, it was built with the enjoyment of both walkers and cyclists in mind.
In justifying the decision to include it on their longlist, the Mies van der Ruhe website states: “The design sought a language which combines the fragility of surrounding nature, rough sandstone and silt mixed with greenery, with the massive concrete dam and a vast lake behind.
Away from public projects, the Miedzianka Shaft is Poland’s final entry. The work of KWK Promes, this single family home has been split into three modules housing a bookstore, a home and a creative ‘work house’ for visiting artists.
Set in an area that became synonymous with post-war uranium mining, the shaft was designed to reference this history whilst simultaneously minimising the human footprint on this area of outstanding beauty.