The Mazowieckie Provincial Conservator of Monuments Jakub Lewicki spoke again about the planned woonerf on Środkowa Street. In an entry on Facebook, he argues that the entry of the street into the register of monuments “radically changed the legal situation”. In turn, he sends journalists and architects who critically evaluate his decision to training in the field of monument protection.
Reconstruction of the Central one on the section from Kowieńska to Stalowa has been planned for several years. Its present appearance includes scratched elevations, patched roadways and pavements 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 project documentation. According to it, the street was to be transformed into an urban courtyard with a row of trees and benches. The Mazowieckie Provincial Conservator of Monuments gave a positive opinion on the project. However, renewed approval was needed after Central was entered in the register of monuments in August 2020. By the decision of June 11, 2021, MKWZ Jakub Lewicki refused to grant a reconstruction permit.
“The proposed revalorization must preserve and protect the spatial arrangement and must not introduce completely new urban solutions different from the local tradition” – argued Lewicki. He reminded that the following items were entered in the register of monuments: the spatial layout of the street, including the division into the road, sidewalks and green belts, and the layout of the surrounding buildings.
“There is no change in the legal situation”
Jan Kucza-Kuczyński, an architect in the WXCA studio, who runs the project of the Central reconstruction, commented on the matter in “Gazeta Stołeczna”. In his opinion, an entry in the register of monuments cannot 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 Capital City Development Authority appealed against the conservator’s decision. Ultimately, it was revoked by the Deputy Minister of Culture and the General Conservator of Monuments Magdalena Gawin. As reported by “Stołeczna”, the reason was the errors made by the conservator in the administrative proceedings.
“Architects are invited to training”
This week, Jakub Lewicki referred to the allegations in an entry on the MWKZ profile on Facebook. Lewicki recalled that Środkowa Street “was entered in the register of monuments on August 26, 2020 at the request of the Society of Friends of Prague. The entry in the register radically changed the legal situation, changing all previously issued conservation recommendations”.
“Due to the fact that the street is covered by legal protection, it is not possible to transform the elements protected by an entry in the register of monuments. The issued decision is based not only on the merits, but above all on the current legal status” – we read further in the entry. Lewicki assures that the woonerf design changed the street architecture and transformed the elements protected by the entry.
“Journalists are asking for journalistic accuracy in the information provided, and architects who say that an object entered in the register of monuments can be freely transformed, I invite you to a training in the protection of monuments and not to mislead the public” – wrote Lewicki.
The conservator also referred to the issue of revoking his decision by Deputy Minister Gawin. “General Conservator of Monuments, Minister Magdalena Gawin, for formal reasons, referred the decision for re-examination. The substantive argumentation was upheld. One of the formal reasons was the lack of documents confirming the applicant’s right to use the site. After the applicant completes the documents, i.e. the city, the decision will be issued again” – informed Jakub Lewicki.
Main photo source: Na_Prawa Warsaw / Facebook