Palace of Culture - some love it, others hate it
The Statue of Liberty watches over New York, in Paris, the Eiffel Tower reigns, and in London - Big Ben is closely watching the Thames run. Any major metropolis - be it an administrative capital, whether a significant trade or cultural center - it has its own architectural symbol. Sublime, characterful, postcard, evoking obvious associations. Warsaw can also boast of such a high level, majestic monument. Only that, that in Polish, performed in the capital city, it does not evoke obvious associations, but serious controversy.
From Russia with love
It started with a promise, which - to the horror of the inhabitants of Warsaw - Józef Stalin decided to do (surprisingly!) fulfill. The Soviet leader declared at the end of World War II, that he will make every effort, to help Poles rebuild the capital, which has been ruined by military actions. First there were Finnish houses - rickety structures, which from the depths of the USSR came in 1945 years to Poland and which (according to critics) they were to endure no more than ten years. Located in the Jazdów estate, the charming "chałupinki" have been preserved - in the number of just over twenty - to this day. Another gift from the "Soviet brothers" showed a similar longevity - definitely less discreet than Finnish houses, exceptionally solemn, firmly (for those times) missed.
W 1951 year, when Warsaw was rising from the rubble, and its inhabitants crowded in pimps, cellars and cramped studios, Stalin decided to make Poles happy with a palace designed in Moscow, a socialist realist note. The responsibility for the construction of the fabric was to be borne by Soviet architects led by Lw Rudniewski.
Sickle and hammer specialists went to the capital, to establish the details of a sublime realization. Torpedoing the proposals of the Polish side, they decided to build the future palace not on the vast one, the Prague shore, but in the very center of the city - that is, in the most representative area, built up with densely historic tenement houses, which miraculously survived during the war raids and which had to give way to the Soviet architectural thought.
The dream of a drunk confectioner
The Palace of Culture and Science was to be a fusion of socialist realist and typically Polish aesthetics, historical architectural details. Although at first glance it is difficult to find native accents in the soaring fabric - one has to admit, that the Soviet architects made every effort, to smuggle as much as possible into the structure, acceptable to Stalin, Polish details. The Congress Hall is built in the shape of the Krakow Barbican, and at the top of the tower we can find - if we squint a bit - an attic designed in the shape of renaissance patterns.
Approx 3,5 a thousand workers for whom they were built (existing until today) the housing estate "Przyjaźń" in Jelonki. Work lasted from 2 May 1952 do 22 July (what a coincidence!) 1955 year. In a truly express pace, the piling on 237 meters and housed up to 3288 of rooms, construction - a symbol of Polish-Soviet friendship, called by Warsaw residents "the dream of a drunk confectioner".
Palace of Controversy and Niesnasek Palace of Culture and Science
Soaring, The structure resembling a lump of two-story cake aroused numerous controversies from the very beginning. Officials and supporters of the Soviet jurisdiction were - of course - delighted. Varsovians were less flattering about the Palace, which - remembering the pre-war appearance of the historic center - not very loud, but they blatantly criticized the new symbol of the capital.
The historic center is hidden in the shadow of the high, socialist realist building, which had nothing to do with the character of this unique area. The palace was different and in style, and sizes from survivors, historic tenement houses, which made up the greatest, somewhat sentimental evidence of this, that Warsaw is able to survive even the biggest thunderbolts. The socialist realist edifice prided itself in spite of the dissatisfaction of the capital's inhabitants, and he didn't care, what Warsaw residents think about him.
New York City has the Statue of Liberty, Paris - The Eiffel Tower, and the proud Big Ben counts down the hours of London's life. Each one, The major metropolis has its own architectural symbol: characteristic, postcard, well-liked. Also by suicides…
A series of suicide jumps from the observation deck located at 30. floor of the Palace began in 1956 year. A Frenchman and seven Poles took their own lives, throwing up 114. meter construction. The tragic wave was ended by the installation of dense bars surrounding the terrace.
Revitalization or rehabilitation?
After the fall of communism, the discussion about the sense of the existence of the Palace of Culture and Science flared up again, which - on the one hand - has grown into the topography of Warsaw, on the other hand, it was an infamous memento of times that did not favor freedom. Passed on in 1955 year by Józef Cyrankiewicz for the "hands of the whole society" building, just, had bad associations.
As far as the inhabitants of Warsaw were still torn, some of the renowned architects decided to make a decisive volta. Palace - recently criticized for its confectionery, a bit grotesque shape - began to be appreciated by eminent specialists. Well, it's hard to disagree with the assessment, that the monumental block is a showcase of the city - preserved on postcards, film frames or in verses of poems. The palace is also a historical structure - an ideal representative of the socialist realist style, one of the few, actively used buildings of this type.
The argument about the utilitarian nature of the building turned out to be the most crucial. The palace is not "only" a tourist attraction and (including the height of the spire) the tallest building in Poland, but also the Radio and Television Broadcasting Center. Its demolition - which was proposed by the more fierce antagonists of the structure - would cost a fortune and result in considerable complications. The Palace of Culture and Science had to (and must) stay in place. However, there are no obstacles, to change the character of the building and break with its inglorious pedigree.
On New Year's Eve 2000 years on 42. On the second floor, the Millennium Clock - the second was unveiled, the largest, in Europe. The building is also constantly revitalized (not to say - rehabilitated): due to the illumination, the building sparkles with fairy-tale colors at night, and the inscription "Palace of Culture and Science im. Józef Stalin "is tightly covered.
However, numerous attempts to disenchant the Palace of Culture and Science will not change the shape of the fabric. The Palace of Culture and Science - accompanied by protests - stayed in 2007 officially entered on the list of monuments, therefore it cannot be rebuilt. Some people enjoy it, it saddens others. And the Palace as it stood, it still stands. And it works perfectly as a showcase of the city, movie hero, poems and songs or a landmark used even by the fiercest antifans of this characteristic, yet controversial building.