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Warsaw. Changes in the square by Zodiac. Less concrete, more greenery

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A tin fence was placed in front of the Zodiac. The surroundings of the pavilion will undergo changes again. Officials noticed that the granite pan with a trace of greenery and a failed sprinkler did not meet the needs of Warsaw residents. – The current form of the square has not met expectations – admits the head of the Architecture Office at the town hall. There will be more trees and bushes.

In recent days, the building was covered with a tin fence, which was first noticed by “Gazeta Stołeczna”. Behind the fence there is an excavator that has piled up quite a high pile of earth. Work is ongoing, although the Warsaw Zodiac Architecture Pavilion, as the reconstructed building was officially called, was put into use relatively recently – in 2018. The rebuilt building itself aroused universal admiration, but the square in front of it, tightly paved with granite slabs, was astonishing. Architects talked about the “white sheet” effect, officials drew attention to vertical vegetation planted in something like flower pots pushed against the wall of Pizza Hut. They argued that in such a busy place the greenery would be trampled. The lesson from the Wiecha passage, which was concreted several years earlier, has clearly not been learned.

Even though the city hall bombards journalists with information about the progress of the investment in the New Center of Warsaw, this change is taking place quietly.

– The current form of the square has not met expectations. Today, our priority is to adapt to climatic challenges and reduce the heat island, which is why we decided to change the square. An opportunity for this was the necessary renovation of the underground parts of the square, carried out by the contractor under the warranty – admits Bartosz Rozbiewski, acting director of the Office of Architecture and Spatial Planning, quoted in the message sent in response to our questions.

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The fence on the square in front of the Zodiac pavilion tvnwarszawa.pl

Islands of greenery and the use of rainwater

As the city hall explains, the first stage of the square is related to renovation necessary under the warranty. Next, it is planned to implement the project of the RS Architecture Landscape studio, which also designed the transformation of Chmielna Street and the area of ​​Złota and Zgoda streets. The transfer of funds for this purpose must first be approved by the Warsaw Council.

According to the project, a significant part of the square will be paved. “There will be islands of greenery as micro-ecosystems with rainwater retention, shading in the summer and cooling thanks to the water evaporated from the surface of the leaves. These will also be habitats for birds and insects. The selection of plants will strengthen the so-called natural services, and the expenditure related to maintenance and care will be minimized. The storage and use of rainwater will be particularly important,” the city hall describes.

At the same time, he emphasizes that the square is to retain its current functions: exhibition, recreation and communication. There will be more seats and tables, and bicycle racks.

34 new trees will grow on the square, including birches and hornbeams. All elements removed from the square are to be reused. The changes are to correspond to the effects works currently being carried out on Chmielnaand later in the area of ​​the streets Złota and Zgoda.

The Zodiac Pavilion has been welcoming visitors since 1968

The first Zodiac was put into use in 1968 and since then it has been part of the Eastern Wall of Marszałkowska Street, i.e. the pedestrian shopping arcade located at the back of the Centrum Department Stores. It was designed by prof. Jan Bogusławski and Bohdan Gniewiewski. Originally a cafe, in the 1990s there was a second-hand clothes store there. Then it stood abandoned for a long time.

The new Zodiac opened at the end of November 2018. Apart from the general idea, what has survived from the old building is the neon sign and fragments of the mosaic (it decorates the staircase). The pavilion covers three levels. There is a lecture space on level -1, and an exhibition space on the ground floor. On the first floor, there is a multifunctional room for about 75 people (the town hall often organizes meetings with journalists here). There is also a smaller meeting room for about 10 people, as well as a spacious terrace.

In 2021, defective glass in the pavilion was replaced under warranty.

tvnwarszawa.pl, “Gazeta Stołeczna”

Main photo source: tvnwarszawa.pl

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