The Masovian Voivodeship Conservator of Monuments, Jakub Lewicki, decided to enter the historic urban layout and building complex of the Muranów Południowy estate into the register of monuments. He emphasized that the development of the estate constitutes a “city-monument” and a place of remembrance of the tragedy of the Holocaust.
This is a housing estate within the boundaries of the following streets: Aleja “Solidarności”, ul. Generała Władysława Andersa, ul. Nowolipie, ul. Ludwika Zamenhofa, ul. Dzielna, ul. Józefa Bellotti, ul. Wolność, ul. Żytnia, ul. Żelazna (up to the intersection with ul. “Solidarności”) .
The conservator noted that the proceedings covered the urban layout of the Muranów Południowy Housing Estate and the building complex contributing to this layout.
Design by Bohdan Lachert
The estate was built between 1949 and 1956 as the southern part of the then downtown residential district. In 1948, the Workers’ Housing Estates Department (ZOR) entrusted the implementation of the project to prof. arch. Bohdan Lachert. The team of the 11th Workshop of Workers’ Housing Estates – composed of assistants, technicians and students – also participated in the Muranów Południowy project. The work was carried out by Przedsiębiorstwo Budowy Osiedli Robotników (BOR) Muranów. After 1950, construction materials were provided by Kombinat Muranów. The sculptural team was led by the rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Franciszek Strynkiewicz.
– Due to the location of the housing estate under construction, which partly coincides with the area of the Warsaw Ghetto, which was razed to the ground on May 16, 1943, the area was covered with a three-meter layer of rubble. The area designated for new development was a challenge for designers – it did not provide an architectural anchor point, but therefore left room for design freedom. The only reference in planning was the preserved underground infrastructure and the WZ and NS routes under construction. However, the Muranów Południowy housing estate largely recreates the course of the streets of the former Northern district, designated on the basis of the preserved underground infrastructure – explained Jakub Lewicki.
The rubble was used as building material
The conservator noted that the purpose of the housing estate being built was to combine practical and ideological aspects. – Modernist solutions were introduced in architecture and planning. The housing estate was built for 40,000 workers, to a standard that was unavailable to them before the war. Moreover, Muranów, built on the ruins of the ghetto, was intended as a place of memory – a symbolic “monument estate”. The buildings were built on rubble embankments forming terraces. In addition, the rubble was used as construction material, he added.
The Muranów Południowy housing estate was the first housing estate to be built in the Muranów area, and to this day it has retained its original urban layout with clear boundaries. It consists of residential buildings – staircase buildings, point buildings, shopping malls, skyscrapers and public utility buildings. There are 88 staircase buildings in the estate. The point buildings were built in 1949-1950. There are 27 blocks of flats with three and four floors in the estate. The Galeria buildings were built in 1949-1950. In the estate there are 11 blocks of flats built in this variant, in typical and individual designs. The skyscrapers were built between 1953 and 1955. Public buildings were built between the residential buildings: schools, kindergartens, nurseries, and a cinema. These are brick buildings with basements, one- and two-story buildings with a regular plan and richly designed façades.
– The above functional and spatial arrangement of the urban layout of the estate is clear – the original horizontal communication routes have been preserved (only the original route near the Mostowski Palace was secondarily fenced off and transformed into a parking lot). Moreover, the layout of the greenery in the squares, green areas and street lines is fully legible – explained the conservator.
Historical and artistic values
He said that the historical values of the estate in question result from the fact that it was built on the site of the destroyed Warsaw Ghetto. – The new development – buildings made of rubble concrete, built on well-organized heaps of rubble, which were used as the base of slopes and terraced terrain – constitute an “Osiedle-Monument” and a place of remembrance of the tragedy of the Holocaust – he added. He noted that the estate is also a place of everyday life for the new residents.
– The connection with the designer of the project – Bohdan Lachert – and the timelessness of his concept and urban and construction design are also of historical value. Muranów Południowy was an experimental estate and documents the development of Polish architecture in the second half. 20th century – assessed prof. Levitical.
He emphasized that the artistic values of both the urban layout and the construction complex of the Muranów-Południ Housing Estate result from the combination of stylish socialist realism and modernist functionalism. – The estate is characterized by a unique spatial concept of a “garden city”. Modernist elements are manifested in the layout of loose buildings, separated from the streets and supplemented with greenery, designed communication routes and view and composition axes, the intimacy of internal courtyards and internal passages between buildings standing on slopes – Lewicki pointed out. – Moreover, artistic values are represented by stylized, repeatable architectural details and decorations made in the sgraffito technique. The entire construction complex is characterized by stylistic uniformity and repetitive construction consisting of point buildings, staircase buildings and gallery buildings – he added.
He explained that the scientific values result from the fact that during the construction of Muranów, new technologies were implemented, such as rubble concrete blocks, prefabricated sculptural details, wall fluting and new building methods, including the stream method and speed houses. – This pioneering project became a permanent part of the development of architecture in the second half of the 19th century. 20th century and is a testimony, among others, the use of contemporary urban visions and post-war technologies – said the conservator
Main photo source: Artur Węgrzynowicz / tvnwarszawa.pl