There was supposed to be calm traffic, greenery and priority for pedestrians. But there will be no changes in the Central. The Masovian Provincial Conservator of Monuments did not agree to the changes that … he had previously approved. The case was described by “Gazeta Stołeczna”.
As we read on Facebook, the conservator, by a decision of June 11, 2021, refused to grant permission for the reconstruction of Środkowa Street in the section from Kowieńska to Stalowa. “MWKZ positively refers to the need to revalorise Środkowa Street, but it did not grant permission, among others, due to the scope of the proposed transformations,” we read in the post published by the conservator on Friday.
At the same time, it reminds that the register of monuments includes: the spatial layout of the street, including the division into the road, pavements and green belts, and the layout of the surrounding buildings. “The proposed revalorization must preserve and protect the spatial arrangement and must not introduce completely new urban solutions different from the local tradition” – he emphasizes.
He accuses “apparent actions”
In the opinion of MKWZ, when revitalizing Środkowa Street, the proper order of works should be followed. “First, tenement houses should be renovated, and then the street. There are practical reasons for this – carrying out earthworks related to the replacement of installations or the foundations of tenement houses will involve the disassembly of the newly renovated street surfaces and sidewalks, and may have a negative impact on the newly planted greenery” – claims. And he further complains: “Restricting the renovation only to the surface is a superficial and apparent action, urgent repairs of tenement houses located there are necessary on Środkowa Street”.
As we read further, MWKZ also hopes that the discussion on the revalorization of the street will be an impulse to talk about how to reduce car traffic, introduce greenery and create a pedestrian and cyclist-friendly space, while preserving and emphasizing the historic value of Środkowa Street.
A refusal stops everything
In 2017, the design by the WXCA architectural studio won a competition announced by the city. In 2018, an agreement was signed for the preparation of project documentation and obtaining the necessary administrative decisions. At this stage, the concept received a positive opinion from both the Masovian Voivodeship Conservator of Monuments and the Capital Conservator of Monuments. However, renewed approval was needed after Central was entered into the register of monuments by the provincial conservator in August 2020. Previously, it was only in the municipal register of monuments.
In an interview with Gazeta Stołeczna, spokeswoman for the Capital City Construction Board, Małgorzata Gajewska, said that the consent of the conservator was the last one needed to apply for a building permit and to announce a tender for a contractor. As she added, the refusal stops everything.
Concrete and asphalt protection?
Jan Kucza-Kuczyński, an architect in the WXCA studio, who is responsible for the project of the reconstruction of the central one, also commented on the matter in “Stołeczna”. In his opinion, the argument that the previous arrangements are invalid is unfounded, because the entry in the register of monuments cannot, in his opinion, be a reason for – as he assessed – such a radical change of position – from positive to completely negative. – Since 2017, the layout of Środkowa Street has been covered by one of the forms of monument protection provided for by the Act, which is the entry in the municipal register of monuments of the Capital City of Warsaw. Of Warsaw. Therefore, we cannot talk about a change in the legal situation that would make the previous arrangements obsolete, he assessed.
The architect also pointed out that the security would be understandable if the roadway had the original layout and street floors preserved. And this is not there. – There is concrete and asphalt. So there remains the trivial geometry of the street, which does not constitute a special historical value, because all streets have it – he said.
He also added that the Masovian Voivodeship Conservator of Monuments had time to change his position when issuing opinions in December 2018, at the negotiation stage. Now, through such a decision, the entire project – and with it several years of work of architects and officials – may end up in the trash. The architect also pointed out that the situation could still be changed by the general conservator of monuments at the Ministry of Culture, National Heritage and Sports, where the appeal was submitted.
Central is a woonerf
Reconstruction of the Central one on the section from Kowieńska to Stalowa has been planned for several years. Its present appearance is scratched facades, patched road and sidewalks in need of renovation. Officials, as part of the Prague revitalization program they decided to turn her into a woonerf. In 2018, an agreement was signed for the preparation of project documentation and obtaining the necessary administrative decisions. The author of the reconstruction project was the WXCA studio. According to the project, Środkowa Street was to be transformed into an urban courtyard with a row of trees and benches.
Gazeta Stołeczna, tvnwarszawa.pl
Main photo source: Na_Prawa Warsaw / Facebook