Postmodern Architecture in Socialist Poland: Transformation, Symbolic Form and National Identity
Postmodern Architecture in Socialist Poland: Transformation, Symbolic Form and National Identity

Postmodern Architecture in Socialist Poland: Transformation, Symbolic Form and National Identity

by Florian Urban


View All Available Formats & Editions
Usually ships within 1 week


Garish churches, gabled panel blocks, neo-historical tenements-this book is about these and other architectural oddities that emerged in Poland between 1975 and 1989, a period characterised by the decline of the authoritarian socialist regime and waves of political protest. During that period, committed architects defied repressive politics and persistent shortages, and designed houses and churches which adapted eclectic historical forms and geometric volumes, and were based on traditional typologies. Postmodern Architecture in Socialist Poland argues that this new architecture marked the beginning of socio-political transformation and at the same time showed postmodernism's reconciliatory potential. In light of massive historical ruptures and wartime destruction, these buildings successfully responded to the contradictory desires for historical continuity and acknowledgment of rupture and loss. Next to international ideas, the architects took up domestic traditions, such as the ideas of the Polish school of historic conservation and long-standing national-patriotic narratives. They thus contributed to the creation of a built environment and intellectual climate that have been influential to date. This book will be of great interest to students and scholars interested in postmodern architecture and urban design, as well as in the socio-cultural background and transformative potential of architecture under socialism.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780367860738
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Publication date: 12/14/2020
Series: Architext
Pages: 226
Product dimensions: 6.88(w) x 9.69(h) x (d)

About the Author

Florian Urban is Professor of Architectural History and Head of History of Architectural and Urban Studies at the Glasgow School of Art. He was born and raised in Munich, Germany, and holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of the Arts in Berlin, an MA in urban planning from UCLA, and a PhD in history and theory of architecture from MIT. He is the author, among others, of Neo-historical East Berlin: Architecture and Urban Design in the Germany Democratic Republic 1970-1990 (2009), Tower and Slab: Histories of Global Mass Housing (Routledge, 2012), and The New Tenement: Architecture in the Inner City since 1970 (Routledge 2018). In 2018-19 he was a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Postmodern architecture across the Iron Curtain 1

Architectural innovation under a weakening authoritarian regime 6

Private houses and small cooperatives 9

Sacred architecture and the influence of the Catholic Church 12

Methodology 18

Literature 19

Chapter structure 21

1 Architectural Debates in Late Socialist Poland 25

Poland around 1980 25

International postmodernism and the Polish discourse 27

The Polish school of historic conservation 36

In search for truth 39

Expressing national identity 41

The post-functionalist city 43

2 Churches, Semiotics, and Patriotism 47

The Ascension Church in Warsaw-Ursynów 47

A house of prayer in a socialist complex 50

Semiotics and patriotism 55

Resourcing "outside the plan" 60

Tazienkowska Street Church, Warsaw 62

Immaculate Heart of Mary in Sródborów near Warsaw 65

Our Lady Revealing the Miraculous Medal, Zakopane 68

Our Lady Queen of Poland, Glogów 71

St Jadwiga, Krakow 73

Seminary of the Resurrectionist Congregation, Kraków 76

The postmodern church and the functionalist block 81

3 Bottom-Up Village Churches 83

Neo-historicism in the countryside 83

St Lucia in Rembertów: pastiche deconstructivism 85

St Michael the Archangel in Kamion: neo-historicism as criminal offence 95

St Francis of/Assist in Mierzowice: a neo-medieval "decorated shed" 101

Church building and disobedience 105

Traditional and forward-looking 107

4 Postmodern Mass Housing Complexes 109

Humanising the housing complex 109

Tódz-Radogoszcz-East and the spirit of structuralism 112

Tódz-Rojna and the customised panel house 126

Poznah-Rózany Potok and the revised modernist city extension 127

Kraków-Na Skarpie and the international context 135

Postmodern mass housing 137

5 Postmodernism from the Spirit of Historic Conservation: The New Old Town of Elblag 139

A postmodern old town 139

Rebuilding through the backdoor 142

The unrealised neo-historical panel plan 145

Elblag Old Town and the Nikolaiviertel in East Berlin 150

Postmodernism from the spirit of historic conservation 152

Momentum at the national level 158

Fledgling market capitalism 160

The realised house-by-house design 162

Completing the old town of Gdansk 170

Postmodern reconciliation 173

6 The Urban Context 176

Warsaw infills 177

The Ursynów Arcades in Warsaw 182

Socialist gentrification in Wroclaw 188

"Tooth fillings" in tódz 193

Historical pastiche in Kraków 195

Medieval gables in Upper Silesia 197

New urbanism in Zielone Wzgórza near Poznan 201

Conclusion 206

Bridging contradictory desires 206

Beyond compliance and dissidence 207

Increasing individual agency 209

National narratives 209

Symbolic representation of community 210

Urban regeneration 211

Postmodernism across the Eastern Bloc 212

Postmodern architecture, international exchange, and fluid meaning 213

Pronunciation of Polish names 214

Index of Buildings 215

Index of Architects 220

Index of Subjects 223

Customer Reviews