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Tracing Praesens : roots and context of Modern Movement in Poland Malczyk, Agata 2002

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T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S Roots and Context of Modern Movement in Poland by AGATA MALCZYK Master of Architecture and Engineering School of Architecture, Warsaw University of Technology, 1994 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ADVANCED STUDIES IN ARCHITECTURE in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES School of Architecture We aje^e^Jthis Thesis ^conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 2002 © Agata Malczyk, 2002 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, 1 agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. 1 further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writ ten permission. Department of ^ S & V ? ^ cCF^ <f\?&rJArV?=CrV( *&*=?-The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date -AgRgf/. £l5~m<Znne? DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT A w 1 i i r T " - ~ * M ^ V * w S * £ •$**--"*'* _s*~>s^4s^/ Figure 1. Side elevation (North) of the house on Katowicka Street rendered from computer model (by the author). Architects Bohdan Lachert and Jozef Szanajca, 1928. During the 1920s and 1930s, in the aftermath of World War 1, Europe had a vivid political, economic and cultural scene. During this period nations were rebuilding their homes and values. This dynamic environment nurtured and accelerated the development of several significant modern movements, events and modes of thought, including the ideas of: Le Corbusier, CIAM, Werkbund, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Constructivism, Suprematism and others. In 1918 Poland reemerged as a sovereign state after 150 years of foreign occupation. Polish artists were able to switch their primary focus from patriotic and nationalistic issues of preserving national culture and identity to more universal and progressive ideas. The first important group of the Polish artistic avant-garde was the Formists. This group became active in Krakow around 1919-1921. By 1924 another influential group, Blok, was officially established. It promoted socially aware, logical and utilitarian art designed for industrial mass production. Artists also called for collaboration with architects. In retrospective, one of the most significant artistic events during this period, but considered marginal at the time, was the formation in Warsaw of the avant-garde group Praesens. The group was launched on the initiative of a young architect, Szymon Syrkus, and included a new generation of architects and artists. Together they began the essential task of solving the social problems of the time, which they believed, could be achieved only as a result of common efforts. Ideologically, the members of Praesens subscribed to the principles embodied in functionalism. The name of the group Praesens (a Latin word similar in meaning to the English "presence") was a manifestation of the arrival of the young artistic avant-garde and its existence ii on the cultural scene. The use of a foreign word also suggested the international interests and character of the group, which was typical for the Modern Movement. Members of Praesens propagated their ideas by projects, lectures and publications. They also introduced the Modern Movement to Poland and contributed to the development of international events. In particular, young Polish architects were actively participating in the early works of CIAM. The progressive architects of Praesens were involved in housing projects. Low-income housing was the primary focus of their efforts, as this was perceived as one of the most immediate social needs. They worked with other organizations established to improve the conditions in workers' housing. WSM (Warsaw Housing Cooperative) and TOR (The Association for Workers' Housing) received in Poland the greatest accolades in this area, as well as international recognition at CIAM meetings. Praesens architects also taught at the Warsaw School of Architecture, where they passed on modernist ideas to a younger generation. Their educational activities were important to the assimilation of the Modern Movement in Poland and are an important link with traditions broken by WW2 and the resulting change in the political situation. Their principles regarding modern design survived decades of neglect and abuse and are currently being harvested by contemporary Polish architects. This study was conducted exclusively using digital tools. Digitally recorded data was processed in image processing software. Drafting, modeling and animation tools were used for the reconstruction and analysis. The final presentation was composed using multimedia software. Extensive application of digital media in this study allows a better comprehension of the subject and demonstrates the significance of the group Praesens. Digital tools facilitate research and analysis. Digital reconstruction of buildings or their fragments enhances the understanding of tradition. Also, because of the dynamic character of the media it is possible to consider and compare different aspects of various projects. Through the interaction with studied buildings an opportunity to break from the linear character of the analytical process is introduced. Finally, the result of the study is a multimedia publication, which allows a multi-faceted presentation, and one that is more engaging for a viewer because of its interactivity and non-linear structure. Three architectural teams distinguished themselves among the members of Praesens, as they strongly marked Polish Modern Architecture with their projects and related professional activities. The teams were formed by: Helena and Szymon Syrkus, Barbara and Stanislaw Brukalski, and Bohdan Lachert and Jozef Szanajca. The subject of this study is narrowed down to the work by these three teams, and selected projects are analyzed in detail. The work of other architects related to Praesens or to the principles of the Modern Movement is also referenced in the CD-ROM presentation. IV Figure 3. Building by Le Corbusier at Werkbund Weissenhof Exhibition in Stuttgart in 1927. v TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstract il Table of Contents vi List of Figures vii Acknowledgements xii List of Files Included on a CD xiii 1. BACKGROUND 1 2. GROUP PRAESENS and Polish Modern Architectural Avant-Garde 13 3. NEW URBAN HABITAT IN POLAND 1918-1939 AND BEYOND 25 4. DIGITAL INTERPRETATIONS AND RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 35 5. CONCLUSIONS 41 Bibliography 45 Appendix 1 List of Projects Hyperlinked on a CD 49 Appendix 2 Biographical Notes of the Group Praesens 53 VI LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1. (Page ii) Side elevation (North) of the house on Katowicka Street rendered from computer model (by the author). Architects Bohdan Lachert and Jozef Szanajca, 1928. Rendering by the author. Figure 2. (Page iii) Warsaw Housing Co-operative block of flats in the Colony 7 by Barbara and Stanislaw Brukalski. Zoliborz district, Warsaw, 1935. Source: Zachwatowicz, J. Polish Architecture. Figure 3. (Page v) Building by Le Corbusier at Werkbund Weissenhof Exhibition in Stuttgart in 1927. Photograph by the author. Figure 4. (Page 2) Submissions for the competition for the League of Nations Palace in Geneva (1927) by Szymon Syrkus and Henryk Oderfeld (bottom), Bohdan Lachert, Jozef Szanajca and Stanislaw Hempel (top). Source: Avant-garde Polonaise/Awangarda Polska. Editions du Moniteur (17 rue d'Uzes 75002 Paris)/Wydawnictwo Interpress Warszawa -1981. Figure 5. (Page 3) Le Corbusier's submission for the League of Nations competition (1927). Source: Giedion, S. Space, Time and Architecture. The Harvard University Press, 1946. Figure 6. (Page 4) Gropius' House at Bauhaus, Dessau. Walter Gropius, 1925-1926. Source: Droste, M. - Bauhaus 1919-1933. Benedikt Taschen, 1993. Figure 7. (Page 6) "Functional Warsaw" scheme, Jan Chmielewski, Szymon Syrkus, 1934. Source: Wislocka, I. - Awangardowa Architektura Polska 1918-1939. (Polish Avant-Garde Architecture 1918-1939) Arkady 1968 Figure 8. (Page 7) Model of the monument to the Third International. Tatlin, 1919-1920. Source: Sharp, D. -A Visual History of Twentieth-Century Architecture. William Heinemann Ltd 1972. Figure 9. (Page 7) Schroder House in Utrecht. G.Rietveld, 1923. Source: Smithson, A. and P. - The Heroic Period of Modern Architecture. Rizzoli International Publications, Inc. 1981. Figure 10. (Page 8) "Alpha" - Architectural sculpture or "Architecton" by K.Malevitch, 1920. Source: Martin, J.H. - Malevitch. Collection du Musee National d'Art Moderne. VII Figure 11. (Page 9) Unistic Composition 11. W. Strzeminski, 1930-1932. Oil on canvas 50x38 cm. Source: Gresty, H.; Lewison, J. - Constructivism in Poland 1923 to 1936. Kettle's Yard Gallery, Edinbourgh. Figure 12. (Page 11) Cover page of Issue 8-9 of the Magazine Blok, November/December 1924. Figure 13. (Page 12) "Spatial Composition" - a sculpture by Katarzyna Kobro, 1929. Source: Gresty, H.; Lewison, J. - Constructivism in Poland 1923 to 1936. Kettle's Yard Gallery, Edinbourgh. Figure 14. (Page 13) Cover page of the first issue of the quarterly magazine Praesens, 1926. Figure 15. (Page 15) Celebration of the opening of the Kazimierz Malevich exhibition at Hotel Polonia in Warsaw, 1926. (Photograph). Source: Wislocka, I. - Awangardowa Architektura Polska 1918-1939. (Polish Avant-Garde Architecture 1918-1939) Arkady 1968. Figure 16. (Page 17) Le Corbusier, S. Giedion, H. Syrkus, C. van Eesteren during CIAM IV on ship Patris II, 1934. Source: Wislocka, I. - Awangardowa Architektura Polska 1918-1939. (Polish Avant-Garde Architecture 1918-1939) Arkady 1968. Figure 17. (Page 19) Rakowiec Estate, Warsaw Housing Cooperative. Helena and Szymon Syrkus, 1930-1936. Contemporary view. Photograph by the author. Figure 18. (Page 21) A proposal for the high-rise residential buildings. Jozef Szanajca, Graduation Project, 1926-1927. Source: Architektura I Budownictwo, 1927 (Architecture and Construction - monthly magazine). Figure 19. (Page 23) Four different types of wood frame buildings proposed for a new neighborhood in Klementynow near Warsaw. Bohdan Lachert, Jozef Szanajca, 1926. Source: Architektura I Budownictwo, 1927 (Architecture and Construction - monthly magazine). Figure 20. (Page 24) Partial model of the House on Katowicka Street. Architects Lachert and Szanajca, 1928. Rendering by the author. VIII Figure 21. (Page 26) TOR Housing Estate in Kolo, Warsaw - a complex of nine mid-rise blocks of flats for workers. Architects Piotrowski, Szulc, Lichtenstein, Brzozowski, 1935. Source: Avant-garde Polonaise/Awangarda Polska. Editions du Moniteur (17 rue d'Uzes 75002 Paris)/Wydawnictwo Interpress Warszawa -1981. Figure 22. (Page 27) Row houses in Journalists' Complex in Zoliborz district of Warsaw. Szanajca, Piotrowski, 1934. Photograph by the author. Figure 23. (Page 28) Extent of destruction in Warsaw during WW2.1945. Source: Jankowski, S., Ciborowski, A. - Warszawa. Interpress 1979. Figure 24. (Page 29) MDM, Warsaw (Marszalkowska Residential District - Marszalkowska Dzielnica Mieszkaniowa), planned and detailed in 1951-1952 in the official style of Socio-Realism. Architects S.Jankowski, J.Knothe, J.Sigalin, Z. Stepinski. Source: Jankowski, S., Ciborowski, A. - Warszawa. Interpress 1979. Figure 25. (Page 30) "Za Zelazna Brama" housing estate in the central Warsaw. Source: Jankowski, S., Ciborowski, A. - Warszawa. Interpress 1979. Figure 26. (Page 31) Infill residential building on Rozana Street, Warsaw. Architects Wojciech Szymborski, Jacek Zielonka, 1998. Photograph by the author. Figure 27. (Page 32) Contemporary residential building on Saska Street in Warsaw inspired by modernist architecture of 1920's and 1930's. Architects Wojciech Szymborski and Jacek Zielonka, 1998. Photograph by the author. Figure 28. (Page 33) Residential complex on Hozjusza Street in Zoliborz district of Warsaw. JEMS Architects (Olgierd Jagiello, Maciej Milobendzki, Jerzy Szczepanik-Dzikowski, Violetta Popiel-Machnicka), 1993-1997. Source: Architectura 7/1997 (Monthly magazine) Figure 29. (Page 34) Sequence of animation images. Residence on Walecznych Street. Architects H.&S.Syrkus, 1936. Rendering by the author. IX Figure 30. (Page 35) Modelling of fragments. Row houses in journalists' complex in Zoliborz district of Warsaw. Architects Szanajca, Piotrowski, 1934. Rendering by the author. Figure 31. (Page 36) Computer model of the House on Niegolewskiego Street. Architects Barbara and Stanislaw Brukalski, 1927. Rendering by the author. Figure 32. (Page 37) Partially rendered partial model of the House on Katowicka Street. Architects B. Lachert and J. Szanajca, 1928. Rendering by the author. Figure 33. (Page 38) Geometrical analysis of the Residence on Walecznych Street by H. & S.Syrkus, 1936. Drawing by the author. Figure 34. (Page 40) CIAM 7, Bergamo, 1949. Standing: Le Corbusier; seated, Helena Syrkus, Sert, Giedion. Source: Mumford, E. - The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960. The MIT Press, 2000. Figure 35. (Page 42) Details of contemporary residential multifamily residential buildings in Warsaw. Photographs by the author. Figure 36. (Page 43) Modeling of fragments. Entry stair, Residence on Walecznych Street. H.& S.Syrkus, 1936. Rendering by the author. Figure 37. (Page 44) Group phtograph, Amsterdam CIRPAC meeting, 1935. Bottom row, from right to left: Vladimir Antolic (Yugoslavia), Van Eesteren, Gropius, Giedion, Helena Syrkus, Ernest Weissmann (Yugoslavia). Source: Mumford, E. - The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960. The MIT Press, 2000. Figure 38. (Page 50) WSM Colony 9, building at 8 Prochnika Street, Warsaw. Architects Barbara and Stanislaw Brukalski, 1938. Photograph by the author. Figure 39. (Page 52) Housing for Government Clerks. Slowackiego Street, Warsaw. Architects Stanislaw Brukalski, Jozef Szanajca, 1935. Source: Avant-garde Polonaise/Awangarda Polska. Editions du Moniteur (17 rue d'Uzes 75002 Paris)/Wydawnictwo Interpress Warszawa -1981. x Figure 40. (Page 55) Photograph of Barbara Brukalska. Source: Architektura 8/2000 (Monthly magazine). Figure 41. (Page 57) Stanislaw Brukalski's Praesens membership ID. 1927. Source: Architektura 8/2000 (Monthly magazine). Figure 42. (Page 60) Photograph of Szymon Syrkus Source: archives. Figure 43. (Page 62) Photograph of Helena Syrkus Source: archives. Figure 44. (Page 64) Photograph of Bohdan Lachert and Jozef Szanajca in 1938. Source: Architectura 4/2000 (Monthly magazine). Figure 45. (Page 68) Photograph of Bohdan Lachert. Source: Architectura 4/2000 (Monthly magazine). XI ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This study was completed using computer resources of the School of Architecture, University of British Columbia. It was also made possible thanks to support of many people. Thanks first of all to Professor Jerzy Wojtowicz. His encouragement, academic and personal guidance and assistance were invaluable. Doctor Sherry McKay provided significant academic and editorial input. Professor Chris Macdonald, Director of the School and Professor Linda Brock, Chair of the MASA Committee were very supportive and understanding. Thanks to my mother and all my friends for the encouragement. Special thanks to all people who helped with research including: architect Baltazar Brukalski, architect Ewa Lachert-Stryjkowska, Professor Stefan Wrona, Professor Lech Klosiewicz and many others. XII List of Files Included on a CD and CD-ROM Presentation Description "Tracing Praesens" CD-ROM includes the followinq files: Tracing.exe Conclusions.dxr Dziennikarska.dxr Dziennikarska_QTVR1 .dxr Dziennikarska_QTVR2.dxr Katowicka_QTVR.dxr Katowicka_Video.dxr Katowicka2.dxr Katowicka3.dxr Niegolewskiegol .dxr Niegolewskiego2.dxr Niegolewskiego3.dxr Projects.dxr Rakowiecka_QTVR.dxr Walecznych_animation1 .dxr Walecznych_animation2.dxr Walecznych_animation3.dxr Walecznych_animation4.dxr Walecznych_Video1 .dxr Walecznych_Video2.dxr bruk_house.cxt icons.cxt katowicka.cxt other_proj.cxt sound.cxt syrkusowie.cxt Macromedia Director Projector - main application to run a Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Movie Macromedia Director Protected Cast Macromedia Director Protected Cast Macromedia Director Protected Cast Macromedia Director Protected Cast Macromedia Director Protected Cast Macromedia Director Protected Cast presentation Sound Folder includes the followinq files: ConcertoNo1_rondo.mp3 MP3 Format Sound ConcertoNo2_romance.mp3 MP3 Format Sound Legenda.mp3 MP3 Format Sound Video Folder includes the followinq files: QuickTime Movie QuickTime Movie XIII Is lot anim 01 .mov szanaja51 .mov video_walecznych1 .mov video 1_kat. mov camera4_2.avi camera5.avi camera6_8.avi camera7.avi QuickTime Movie QuickTime Movie QuickTime Movie QuickTime Movie QuickTime Movie QuickTime Movie QuickTime Movie QuickTime Movie QuickTime Movie QuickTime Movie QuickTime Movie Video Clip Video Clip Video Clip Video Clip "Tracing Praesens" presentation was prepared in Macromedia Director 8.5. The following software was also used: Vectorworks, AutoCAD, Corel Draw Photoshop, Aftereffects FormZ, Maya, Electric Image Flash How to view a presentation Simply open Tracing.exe application to and explore an interactive presentation. XIV tBAGKGRDUND Origin of the Polish artistic avant-garde in the 1920s and 1930s and the formative influence of European modern movements. w w . - M WW1 accelerated the re-evaluation of artistic and social ideas in Europe. As the new world was emerging from the trauma and rubble, there was a growing notion that social changes were necessary. Artists believed in the influ-ence of their work and were positioning them-selves not just as active participants, but also as leaders of the events. Several movements in Europe had a formative impact on Polish modern art during the 1920s, and they influ-enced its further development through the 1930s. Traditionally, the Polish artistic commu-nity had intellectual ties with Western Europe. It was a custom for young people to travel to learn about other countries within Europe, or even take formal education there, and as a result to bring home new ideas from the West. The art, literature and philosophy of these countries were studied with interest and became inspirational to the development of national Polish culture. The close character of the relationship with the Modern Movement in Europe during the T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S B m :i: IIH§ :i(zEz ,« sa «*»•* sssss " I - - - ~ - i ! l , u \*v> « : • ..._ JS. , .—' i -^^—* T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 1920s was reflected in the publications by the Praesens, where projects by Le Corbusier, Gropius, Reitveld, Perret, Stam, Oud, Aalto, Ginsburg and others were discussed.1 Most inspirational for Polish modernists in this period were the following people and move-ments: Figure 4. (Previous page) Submissions for the com-petition for the League of Nations Palace in Geneva (1927) by Szymon Syrkus and Henryk Oderfeld (bottom), Bohdan Lachert, Jozef Szanajca and Stan-islaw Hempel (top). The prize won with these proj-ects by young Praesens members was an invitation from Siegfried Giedion to work with CIAM. 1. The flow of ideas from Communist Russia was tempered at that time because of the political situ-ation. Before WW1 Poland was in colonial depen-dence with Russia. In 1920 there was a war with Figure 5. Le Corbusier's submission for the League of Nations competition (1927) was the first serious challenge to official academicians. The scheme pro-posed a new institutional building, which would bring the principles of modem architecture to public atten-tion and to the commanding heights of world govern-ment. the Bolsheviks, where the Polish Army defeated Red Army in a patriotic effort. Therefore relationships with this country in the 1920s and the 1930s were dis-tant. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S ni" Ideas of Le Corbusier. The Swiss-French architect played an important role in the development of a new socially aware architectural movement and made the greatest impact on the formation of modern architectural thought in Poland. Le Corbusier was a founding member of CIAM, which served him as a platform for further work and elaboration of his ideas, and for advertising them internationally. Le Corbusier's objective was to create a new living space for a "new man" in a world changed dramatically after World War I. His comprehensive approach to the prob-lem of providing a livable space produced several studies on minimal and affordable housing projects as well as plans for whole districts and cities (figure 3). Events in Germany: Bauhaus and Werkbund.1 Due to a favorable polit-ical situation, there was a boom in the construction of housing oriented towards the working classes. Several projects were realized in Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, Dessau and Berlin (W.Gropius2, E.May, B.Taut, Figure 6. Gropius' House at Bauhaus, Dessau. Walter Gropius, 1925-1926. 1. The Werkbund was formed in 1907 by leading German architects and industrialists. Its purpose was to improve the quality of German industrial design in order to compete more advantageously with Eng-lish industrialists, who were both more efficient and more progressive at the time. The Werkbund pro-moted new construction technologies and encour-aged research and experiments in this area. It coordinated events and sponsored large scale coop-erative enterprises. By 1926 it had become the most powerful European influence in modem design. 2. Head of the Bauhaus April 1919 -April 1928 Mies van der Rohe1). During this time a lot of effort was invested in experimental and social housing projects. The objective was to discover the most efficient models of habitation. Attention was focused on plan-ning and minimum living area standards as well as inexpensive and time-effective technologies. The Bauhaus, created in Weimar in 1919, had a strong influence on the artistic and architectural scene in Ger-many and throughout Europe. It developed new ideas for education and advertised unification of fine arts and architecture. It also boosted social awareness and promoted a progressive approach to the planning of housing projects. The introduc-tion of industrial methods of construction (Torten2) and experiments with different technologies (skeleton and frame build-ings) were significant contributions from the Bauhaus to the development of new residential models in Europe (figure 6). One of the most important achievements of the Werkbund was the organization of its second exhibition at Weissenhof in Stutt-gart in 1927. Mies van der Rohe was a planner of this event, which advertised new ideas in the planning and construction of residential projects. The exhibition was also a review of progressive architectural thought in housing and an important state-ment by modernists regarding the current state and the future of architecture. CIAM and Polish participation. Perhaps the most important role of CIAM (Congres Intemationaux d'Architecture Moderne), formed in La Sarraz in early 1928, was that of a forum for sharing ideas. The majority of its participants were young profession-als from European countries. These con-gresses were mainly preoccupied with the practical aspects of modern architec-ture. The subjects included technology and its influence on architecture, living stan-dards, economy of construction, urban-1. Mies van der Rohe was also a director of the Bauhaus since August 1930 until its final closure in July 1933. 2. Dessau-Torten settlement, Walter Gropius 1926-1928. It consisted of terraced row houses. Rigorous rationaliza-tion and assembly line organization of work were applied during construction of the project. A crane was used to place concrete beams on the load-bearing walls perpendicular to the exterior walls. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S Figure 7. "Functional Warsaw" scheme, First pre-sented at CIAM4 in 1933, was a precursory work concerning spatial planning. It went beyond stipu-lated city boundries and regional limits spreading before urban planers much wider mental horizons. Jan Chmieiewski, Szymon Syrkus, final scheme, 1934. n 6 T R A C I N G P R A E S E N B ization, architectural education and the development of co-operation between architects and governments. Active par-ticipation allowed Polish architects an exposure to various movements and approaches and provided a critical perspec-tive on national circumstances (figure 4). Polish Architects also made their contri-bution to the development of international ideas of "new living" in the cities discussed at CIAM. One of the most successful con-gresses took place in Frankfurt in October 1928 - "Die Wohnung fur das Existenzmin-imum". At this congress Poland presented a model example of a national organization regarding public housing (Polish Associa-tion for Housing Reform - Polskie Towar-zystwo Reformy Mieszkaniowej), which worked in close cooperation with a social institution building housing for workers (WSM - Warsaw Housing Cooperative). For a discussion on minimum housing units, which was a main subject of this congress, the Polish group prepared a pre-sentation of several projects from Warsaw, Gdynia and Lodz. Poland also had a strong appearance at the fourth congress, which analyzed functional aspects of the 33 world cities. Among the plans recog-nized as exemplary were the plans for Barcelona and the "Functional Warsaw" scheme ("Warszawa Funkcjonalna" - Jan Chmielewski and Szymon Syrkus, see figure 7). Figure 8. Model of the monument to the Third Inter-national. Tatlin, 1919-1920. De Stijl. One of the most original and artistically coherent movements, its mem-bers included Mondrian, Van Doesburg, Oud, Rietveld. It encompassed art, applied arts (furniture, design...), industrial design and architecture. The influence of De Stijl spread throughout Europe (it had a great impact on the German Bauhaus as well as art and architecture in other countries) (figure 9). * $ Figure 9. Schroder House in Utrecht. Built accord-ing to the Neo-Plastic canon of dynamic architecture liberated from restrictions of load bearing walls and pierced openings. G.Rietveld, 1923. Constructivism. A very dynamic and sig-nificant movement, Constructivism devel-oped in Russia in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution. Its ideas attracted many socially aware artists and architects in Europe, who collaborated with Russian organizations and architects. In the Soviet Union progressive architects worked on plans for whole cities to reflect political and s T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S social changes in the nation. New com-plexes were to provide housing for the masses, facilitate industrial development and transportation (N. Milutin, E.May). In architecture, problems of functionality and artistic expression of industrial and social development were best represented in the works of El Lissitzky, L.W. & A.Wiesninow, K.Mielnikow, M.J.Ginsburg and others (figure 8). Suprematism and Kazimierz Malevich. From 1913, Kazimierz Malevich (a Rus-sian of Polish descent) developed his ideas in painting and sculpture. In 1920 he published his manifesto "From Cubism to Suprematism", where he established his own new and highly abstract rules and philosophy of art. Most famous and inspir-ing for the European avant-garde were his three dimensional compositions "architec-tons" (figure 10). His ideas were known Figure 10. "Alpha"-Architectural sculpture or "Archi-tecton" by K.Malevitch, 1920. in the West, for example they greatly influenced Constructivists and De Stijl. Malevich had a direct connection with the Polish avant-garde as he visited Poland for the opening of the exhibition of his work in Warsaw in 1926. Polish Modern Art in 1920s. Before 1918, when Poland was a disjointed country occupied by foreign forces, its litera-ture and its art were above all nationalistic, exalting the values of the people, culture, mys-ticism and attachment to the land. Prior to WW1 members of the Polish artistic commu-nity were rarely concerned with foreign mod-ernist movements. Some exceptions include interest in German Expressionism and traces of Futurism1 and Cubism2. From 1918 onwards, once Poland was finally reunified, avant-garde movements were able to take shape. The first phase of a Polish art avant-garde was Formizm (Formism), 1919-1921. It was repre-1. Found in Jerzy Jankowski's phonetically spelt poems. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S sented by artists of various attitudes - from Expressionism to Futurism and Cubism - in the journal Formisci (The Formists). The group was centered in Krakow. Its members viewed art as a continuation of certain formal tradi-tions, which was distinct from artistic groups in other countries, who were generally breaking with traditions. Under the influence of Russian Constructivism and Suprematism, young artists became inter-ested in industrial civilization. Blok was the first group of Polish Constructivists. Their pro-gram was first clearly put forth in the catalogue of the Exhibition of New Art held in Vilna in 1923. The show was quite radical; it featured landscape postcards with ironic comments, a collection of foreign books and periodicals on new art as well as abstract and purist works by seven artists, including Szczuka, Strzemin-ski, Stazewski and Zarnower. The postulates published there emphasized the inseparability of art and social issues. The official birth of the group was marked by the publication of the 2. Found in the work of Zbigniew Pronaszko and August Zamoyski in sculpture, and above all of the painter and poet Tytus Czyzewski. first issue of the Blok magazine in March 19241 (figure 12), and by the exhibition in a Warsaw automobile showroom. Visual discipline, strict interdependence of forms, and clarity of the work of art were con-sidered the main virtues to strive towards. Beauty was eliminated as a positive aesthetic category and was replaced by the notion of an organic or logical relationship of shapes and ultimately by the utility of a work of art as a product designed for social consumption. The assigning of such tasks to the new art resulted from an optimistic faith in modern technology and production2. Both formal and ideological principles included in the artistic program of the group were to be carried out through a series of creative activities. Figure 12. Cover page of Issue 8-9 of the Maga-zine Blok, November/December 1924. The maga-zine was the only means of practical expression of the Utopian ideas of Polish constructivists. It was published irregularly in small quantities (500 copies) and distributed in Warsaw only. 1. Eleven issues were published in total between 1924 and 1925. 2. Artists often identified social revolution with artis-tic revolution. Szczuka even called for the employ-ment of artists in the process of industrial production. According to him, artists should use the devices of modem technology to bring out the constructional values of the new materials commonly employed in production, and to create objects that have full practical justification. Like many other artists who professed the death of easel art, he destroyed or dis-carded his youthful paintings and spatial construc-tions. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S l 1 H Blok consolidated itself during the first year, but it was already apparent that there were two incompatible programs, which were to lead to a split a year later. The two theories as put forward by Strzeminski and Szczuka dif-1 2 Figure 13. "Spatial Composition" - a sculpture by Katarzyna Kobro, 1929. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S fered significantly. Although the basic approach was similar, the systems and methods through which the common tasks were to be executed proved to be incompatible. The Utilitarian theory favored by Szczuka required that art be dictated by social needs, whereas Strzem-inski's Unism (figure 11) promoted an autono-mous art which itself dictated the social order. In Unism the fundamental principle of the work of art was its homogeneity. It should be per-ceived as one visual entity with no contrasts. Katarzyna Kobro (figure 13) adapted ideas of Unism to sculpture. Mathematical relations of proportions governed her synthetic composi-tions of planes. Ideas of continual progress and a utilitarian approach stimulated an interest in building and resulted in the concept of the "renewal of archi-tecture". Influenced by Le Corbusier's "Vers une Architecture" (1923) the artists undertook architectural projects in pursuit of the harmony between art and life, and architecture and tech-nology. Subsequently they entered into collab-oration with architects, among whom Szymon Syrkus occupied a prime position. and Polish Modern Architectural Avant-Garde Program statements of the group Praesens emphasized the union of the new architecture with social demands. By way of experiment, the architectonic approach provides new opportunities, not only artistic as it might seem but also social. For architecture changes the social pattern, as the social pattern changes architecture.^ Figure 14. Cover page of the first issue of the quarterly magazine Praesens, 1926. KWARTAL —MODERNISTOW N I K — I sga ISTO I F&a «4 WA R S Z AWA I 1. Syrkus, S. Preliminary of Architecture, editorial article and manifesto of the group published in the first issue of the Praesens magazine. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S The foremost role of the modern architect was to serve society and then the individual. High social awareness among the members of Praesens is demonstrated by their involve-ment in residential projects. Housing was one of the greatest social needs of the time and one where architecture could prominently influ-ence society. The name of the group was also a statement. Praesens is a Latin word, a participle of the verb Praesum and means at hand, present, in person. The Polish avant-garde manifested its arrival and existence on the cultural scene 1. The verb Praesum means to be before, to pre-side over and also to have charge of, to rule, to command. This reveals a hidden message of the group's program and leading role in pursuit of artis-tic and social progress, which Praesens members were undertaking. Praesens can be read however in many different ways. The technique of abbreviating long expres-sions or names and creating new words is common in the German and Russian languages. It was espe-cially and often used in Communist Russia, where Suprematists and Constructivists were European T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S and stated that new ideas were a fact that needed to be fully accounted for and assim-ilatedl. Praesens is pronounced similarly to the English word Presence and this confirms the intended general meaning of the name. It also suggests the international character of a group, which was characteristic for the Modern Movement. The belief held that solu-tions for artistic, architectural and social prob-lems should be found as a result of common efforts by representatives of different countries or in a process of sharing thoughts interna-tionally and analyzing the progress of foreign teams. pioneers in redefining arts, architecture and urban planning. It seemed therefore to be a modern way of communication and a stylish trend. Polish "sens" has a similar meaning to English "sense", therefore "pra-(e)-sens" would suggest the group's preoccupa-tion with substantial or primary issues. Another way of deconstructing the word would be "pra-esens", which could be understood as a deformed Polish "pra-esencja" (where "esencja" means "essence" or fundamental and substantial contents). All the above interpretations are indications of the progressive character of the group and its links with the European avant-garde. The group Praesens, when established in 1926, was to unite artists and architects and had a broad program, including both visual arts and architecture. Szymon Syrkus was a leader of the group. Other founding mem-bers included his younger colleagues from the School of Architecture, architects Szanajca, and Lachert, as well as painters, among them former Blok members, Strzeminski and Zalewski. Helena Syrkus was the secretary of the group. Barbara and Stanislaw Bru-kalski, Lachert and Szanajca's university friends, joined soon afterwards with a few other young architects (Anatolia and Roman Piotrowski, Zygmunt Skibniewski, Stanislaw Hempel, Waclaw Chyrosz, Aleksander Sznio-lis). Figure 15. Celebration of the opening of the Kazimierz Malevich exhibition at Hotel Polonia in Warsaw, 1926. Praesens was a forum for discussion and the exchange of ideas. The goal of the group was the popularization of new trends in architecture and art. One of the tools used in this task was a magazine, Praesens (figure 14), published quarterly1. In the first issue of the magazine, in an introductory article Syrkus, as editor, further defined the program of the group: to unify architecture with industry and to adapt architecture to mass production. He postulated that architecture should be flexible and adjust quickly to changing life conditions (for exam-ple he explained the benefits of a moving par-tition system). It should adapt to the needs of the users and the technological advances in the construction industry. He proposed that architectural spaces themselves should be designed to facilitate everyday tasks and to simplify life, just as the industrial process sim-plifies the production of objects. The Praesens magazine published the work of the members, but also other projects introducing modern architectural solutions. Most articles and proj-ects presented in the magazine dealt with the social aspects of architecture. i & T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S Smaller professional teams formed within the group and they included those of Helena and Szymon Syrkus, Bohdan Lachert and Jozef Szanajca and finally Barbara and Stani-slaw Brukalski2. Members continued to work together on the issues that served their common goal. In September of 1926 they orga-nized an "Exhibition of Modern Architecture" in Warsaw. Related works of non-members were exhibited as well, as Praesens valued every voice supporting their ideas. The group was also among the initiators of the Machine Age Exposition, in New York in 1927. Another important initiative by Praesens was orga-nizing an exhibition in Poland for Kazimierz Malevich. He visited Warsaw in 1926 for the opening of the exhibition (figure 15), which was the starting point of his European tour that aimed at a mass dissemination of his ideas. Malevitch's "architectons" were received with great interest in Poland and he was to estab-lish a special connection with the Polish avant-garde. Members of Praesens attended many CIAM conferences and beginning with CIAM2, par-1. Only two issues of the magazine were published. 2. They joined Praesens in 1929. Figure 16. Le Corbusier, S. Giedion, H. Syrkus, C. van Eesteren during CIAM IV on ship Patris II, 1934. ticipated actively in the works of this organi-zation1. They prepared several speeches and reports and contributed to exhibitions orga-nized by CIAM. Helena and Szymon Syrkus (figure 16) attended the congresses on a regu-lar basis. From 1933 Helena was the secretary of all the pre-war congresses and participated in editing the Charter of Athens (1934). Later, in 1947, she was elected the vice-president of the CIAM Council. Some of the most signifi-cant contributions of the Polish group included presentations on minimum dwelling projects at CIAM2 in Frankfurt and The Functional Warsaw study prepared by S.Syrkus and J.Chmielewski for CIAM4. Participants returned to Poland with information about the Congresses and their ideas. They propagated these ideas through their application in projects, publishing reports and articles, and lectures. The work of Praesens was governed by the main principle of functionalism in architecture, where architectural form is the result of the plan and structure of a building (including 1. Bohdan Lachert, Jozef Szanajca and Szymon Syrkus were invited by Siegfried Giedion to par-ticipate in the works of CIAM as members of the T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S materials and methods used for construction). Members of the group believed in the stan-dardization of construction, as a necessity for economical reasons. Construction of typical units and application of new building technolo-gies resulted in shortened construction time, saved labor and lowered material costs. Units, buildings and housing complexes designed according to contemporary needs and life styles should allow maximum savings of phys-ical effort, space and time. Small units were often necessitated by economic conditions and the goal to provide workers with places at affordable rents. However maximum attention was paid to the efficiency of the units. Planning of kitchens and flexibility of living spaces were the focus of the ongoing efforts. Unit designs included the planning of functional spaces and details of built-in furniture. The modern envi-ronment was to accommodate and stimulate changes in lifestyle, work and leisure. Analysis of publications and projects by Prae-sens reveals some interesting aspects of their Polish avant-garde group. Young architects attracted Giedion's attention with their submissions for the competition for the Palace of League of Nations in 1927. Barbara and Stanislaw Brukalski participated in CIAM4. social philosophy. There was a heavy empha-sis on the planning of kitchens and other utility spaces, which were perceived at the time as women's domain. Despite the modernist desire to revolutionize society, the role of a family, and first of all a woman in the family, was seen in a relatively conservative way. Even when working families were considered (where a woman had a job outside her home), a woman was expected to do most of the household chores. Therefore architects considered func-tional planning critical in easing women's work-load and a means for gaining some leisure time for her. Construction of affordable, small and easily available flats was postulated and the use of standard, prefabricated elements was advised. As previously exemplified by Le Corbusier, space was considered in terms of the relation-ship between residential and green areas. Fur-thermore, painters and sculptors were expected to work in close cooperation with architects, projecting color designs onto large surfaces of buildings, and inserting their compositions into open spaces. Their joint efforts would Figure 17. Preliminary design of the Rakowiec Estate of the Warsaw Housing Cooperative was a collab-orative work by the group Praesens. It was contin-ued by Helena and Szymon Syrkus, 1930-1936. The project, built on an extremely tight budget, provided minimum dwellings for workers and was an experi-ment in standardization. Contemporary view. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S thus result in a complete artistic whole, uniting urban planning, architecture and art. Young members of the group were also involved in design education at the School of Architecture, at the Warsaw University of Tech-nology1. Their publications and activities had a significant impact on the development of progressive methods of architectural educa-tion in Poland. They introduced to students and Polish architects the work of Le Corbusier and his program of modern architecture. They emphasized the importance of the relationship of architectural activities to social problems. The majority of their works consisted of hous-ing projects and studies with a focus on afford-able and social housing. The collaboration between architects and art-ists did not go smoothly. In many cases the Architects had to made difficult decisions to compromise artistic ideas of the projects in order to realize them. It was deemed impos-1. The School of Architecture in Warsaw was founded in 1915. It is located in Warsaw's old downtown area at 55 Koszykowa Street. The Warsaw School of modern architecture, which developed between the wars, may be characterized by its creativity within the T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S sible to use the most modern construction techniques and materials as a result of inves-tors' conservatism and many of the buildings erected did not satisfy the requirements that the group had originally set itself. One of the obstacles was the masonry type of construction used traditionally in Poland, which imposed lim-itations on building form2. Contractors' unwill-ingness to experiment with new techniques and the ready availability of masonry workers made masonry structures prevail in residential buildings. The artists gradually withdrew from the group. They were disappointed with the fact that the artistic program wasn't fully respected and they believed that their contribution to the projects was only marginal. In the 1930s, the group functioned only as a team of architects. The houses produced by the architects from the Praesens group examined in this study possess, in different degrees, several common features that make them relevant today and prove them to be objects worth studying. boundaries of rational design. This tradition contin-ues today and includes a heavy emphasis on prac-tice as a part of the education of young architects, as many of the professors have been, and continue to be, actively engaged in practicing Architecture. 2. Size of openings, spans, overhangs and other ele-ments are limited in this type of construction. Figure 18. A proposal for the high-rise residential buildings. Apartment blocks composed of pairs of par-allel buildings were joined by hanging galleries. Two level units were accessible from exterior walkways. Jozef Szanajca, Graduation Project, 1926-1927. ID T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S Reflecting upon the early examples and models from which many contemporary (i.e. late 1980's - : " - . , L_j -i_ ilSjl W^Z_ "%"'"' and 1990's) buildings originate is a refreshing, learning experience which allows a glance from a different perspective at the common princi-nles nf Hesinn The fnllnwinn features nnalifv them as modernist buildings: | Functional plan J Functional section Because a functional planning of these buildings was strongly emphasized during their design, the interior spaces are well thought out and connected logically to serve well the needs of modern life. Although our standards and expectations have changed dramatically during the last eight decades, the very basic life needs and routines are adequately accommo-dated in these houses. 1 Open spaces J Open plan, horizontal and vertical spatial connections and openness between spaces serving different functions was a 2 2 feature of modern architecture. It is a T R A C I N G P R A E B E N S scheme used commonly by various con-temporary designers. Unconstrained lines of vision and double height spaces remove the feeling of confinement even in rela-tively small spaces. This also allows more flexibility and serves well various every-day and changing needs. Comprehensive design The houses were designed in complete detail. Interior features, millwork and furni-ture were well planned and proportioned for the spaces provided. Most of the details are quite basic and modest, but they are still significant features especially in smaller spaces. It is a reminder of the vast extent of the designer's responsibilities in every housing project. Interior and furniture design The furniture designed for these houses was smaller, lighter and more efficient in the use of material than traditional furni-ture. It complements modern interiors well. It is still comfortable and functional. Its simplicity adds to the quality of grace and Figure 19. Four different types of wood frame build-ings were proposed for a new neighborhood in Klementynow near Warsaw. Each type could be also repeated in a semi-detached or row configuration. This was an experimental project, as light wood-frame structure was not widely known in Poland at that time. Bohdan Lachert, Jozef Szanajca, 1926. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 2 3 timelessness. Furniture often consists of built-in pieces and becomes an insepa-rable element of design, a part of the "machine for living". ] Relationship to the site and urban 1 approach Consistent with the idea that "there is no architecture without urbanism", the houses Z 4 T R A C I N G F R A E S E N S are examples of responsible urban design at a very small scale. A well positioned building related to its site is more comfort-able to live in and complements it's neigh-borhood, regardless of the details of the specific formal approach. Form and artistic influences The vocabulary used in these houses became a part of a common architectural language. The expression of structure and technological detail forms an aesthetic statement at the same time. It is not the decoration, but the building materials, func-tion, massing and the relation of its ele-ments (walls, windows etc.), that decide the character and the quality of the build-ing. Formal and functional consistency The houses are very strong formal state-ments. They are well designed both func-tionally as living units and in terms of their urban scale. This overall design consis-tency and boldness is a lasting quality. Figure 20. Partial model of the House on Katowicka Street. Architects Lachert and Szanaica, 1928. NEW URBAN HABITAT IN POLAND 1 <9 1 B-1 939 AND BEYOND The growing desire to build a New World on the basis of social equality after WW1 was evident in a number of initiatives and approaches in social housing. Most European countries were facing similar problems related to the substan-dard living conditions of the working classes. In Germany and even more so in Poland, which were both strongly affected by the war, the situation was the most severe. International collaboration was perceived as an essential means for finding universal solutions for hous-ing problems. It was best realized by CIAM. At the very first congress in La Sarraz (26-29 June 1928) issues of housing were discussed in the context of urban and rural areas. In Poland an inquiry from 1921 (IGS - The Insti-tute of State Economy - Instytut Gospodarstwa Spolecznego) revealed a dramatic situation in housing conditions among workers. Most of the homes didn't meet the basic requirements of accommodation such as the number of per-sons per room, accessibility of kitchens and bathrooms, heating and natural lighting. The Polish Association for Housing Reform (Polskie Towarzystwo Reformy Mieszkaniowej) was originated in 1929. It conducted several studies on housing typology and efficiency, including large scale planning and construc-tion methods. There was a growing interest in industrial methods of construction and the planning of large-scale complexes. Szymon Syrkus attempted to introduce German con-struction experiments in Poland. He argued T R A C I N G P R A E B E N B that in the planning of new buildings, costs should be balanced with cultural and hygienic necessities and that a habitation of an insuffi-cient area is not functional and therefore more expensive. As in other countries, Polish archi-tects were preoccupied with experiments in new technologies that were less labor-inten-sive (figureJ9) ^International' events like.the exhibitions iri* Stuttgart .(1927) and Wroclaw (1929). were'widely published?inJhe,profes ' ~y i-sional press. Methodology of design, typology, efficiency of typical units and living conditions (space, sun) were all primary issues of discus-sions (figure 18). TOR (The Association for Workers' Housing -Towarzystwo Osiedh Robotniczych), created in '1934, was a government agencyTEven the >nh »^^gfewjft!»sfc»^w the estate in Kolo, Warsaw (figure 21). It also sponsored several studies and competitions, and the winners were young architects such as B. & S. Brukalski and H. & S. Syrkus. Cooperatives were a new form of ownership and organization of housing. The form and comfort of dwellings was tailored according to the financial capabilities of a specific economic group. The general goal was to provide the best living conditions at the lowest price. WSM (Warsaw Housing Cooperative - Warszawska 1. It included WSM Rakowiec by H. & S.Syrkus and consecutive colonies of WSM Zoliborz, where colo-nies 4,7 and 9 were by B. & S. Brukalski. 2. These included Journalists Cooperative in Zoli-borz (with projects by Kazimierz Tolloczko and a team Bohdan Lachert, Roman Piotrowski, Jozef Spoldzielnia Mieszkaniowa) had the largest portfolio of built projects1 and it was oriented towards workers (figure 2). Several smaller cooperatives were aimed at working profes-sionals or middle class government employ-ees2 (figure 22). Unfortunately, except for the many efforts by young architects and social activists, socially oriented housing made up only 5% of the total number of urban habitations built during these years. Figure 22. Row houses in Journalists' Complex in Zoliborz district of Warsaw. Szanajca, Piotrowski, 1934. Szanajca), "Temida" Cooperative for physicians in Lekarska Street (by Piotr Kwiek) and MSW Coopera-tive for government employees in Rakowiecka Street (by Jan Stefanowicz). T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S WW2 brought development in Poland to a sudden halt (figure 23) It caused a total Szymon Syrkus spent part of the war in a con-. centratton"camp' ' i destruction of the Polish economy and a c o k ^ „ , , - 1 . 4 J _ t - > r. j . * ' J V A " ^ " » - iV i S> to WW2 the»difficult situation, in housing. ,\ -^S phanged'for the,worse due to the wide destruc-* * *-t-. tion otWarsaw and*many other-j?olismcitiesi*&C^ Pro-Communist governments used the recon-struction of habitat as a political issue, con-sequently imposing very rigid rules on the planning of individual units, forms of buildings and whole cities. The bureaucratic directives varied over time. In the 1950s they denied modern ideas in favor of a pro-Soviet Socio-Realistic decorative and eclectic style (figure 24). In the 1960s, when the political and social climate changed, modern ideas, including the industrial production of buildings were revis-ited. However, it was politicians rather than architects who made the major planning deci-sions. As a result large complexes were built without regard to scale, the character of their Figure 24. MDM, Warsaw, (Marszalkowska Resi-dential District - Marszalkowska Dzielnica Miesz-kaniowa) was planned and detailed in 1951-1952 in the official style of Socio-Realism. S.Jankowski, J.Knothe, J.Sigalin, 1. Stepinski. sites, or a balance with social services, trans-portation systems and other functions (figure 25). The quality of the units and buildings was compromised, as the pro-Communist govern-ment was primarily interested in the quantity of units provided for socio-political reasons of pro-Communist propaganda as well as to sat-isfy the ever-growing demand. This led to a general denial of modern patterns and ideas within the general public. T R A C I N G F R A E S E N S Therefore the 1960s and 1970s are a dark page in the history of Polish residential architecture. Government corporations controlled the con-r :(Cj) struction of huge complexes of standardized t : ^ ~ l M apartment buildings. Pre-cast concrete panels ^• '^" '•H were a preferred method of construction. Due to economic and time constraints there was little time for proper construction detailing or attention to the quality of execution and coordi-nation with other trades. Community planning was also inadequate. Large districts of Polish cities are a sad testimony to these practices and became ghettos, where the quality of life continues to decline. They proved to be disas-trous to the physical landscape of the cities 3 D T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S and for society. Residents of these places with no identity and no sense of community remain anonymous in their tiny units, which are often substandard relative to their needs. Complexes of pre-cast slab buildings became a mainte-nance nightmare due to technological difficul-ties. They also nourished anti-social behaviors and are vulnerable to more serious social prob-lems. The social beliefs of former Praesens mem-bers induced them to compromise with post war realities in a hope for wider application of their ideas. Helena and Szymon Syrkus even became active members of the Party. Others Figure 25. "la Zelazna Brama" housing estate in the central Warsaw. became disillusioned and the ties between them loosened. All the members of Praesens were teaching at the Warsaw School of Archi-tecture where by educating others, they often escaped from current realities. Even during the period of the denial of modernist ideas they were attempting to convey the main principles of rational design, thereby extending the tradi-tion of functionalism in architecture. Currently, since 1989 modern ideas are being truly rediscovered due to the new conditions of the market economy and a fully democratic government. Formerly suppressed by Socio-Realism and mass production, modern ideas are finally being harvested again. Many young Figure 26. Infill residential building on Rozana Street, Warsaw. Wojciech Szymborski, Jacek Zielonka, 1998. architects find modern language the most nat-ural for the expression of the form of the build-ing (figures 26, 27, 28), because the principles of functionalism are traditionally emphasized in architectural education in Poland. Interest-ingly, the youngest generation, which grew up in the period of the denial of modernism and without deep knowledge of it, intuitively applies with great success the language created by their teachers in 1920s and 1930s. In this partially retrospective approach to design, the sources of inspiration are some of the best T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S examples in 20th century Polish architecture, which have now become canonic. Hundreds of new modern buildings are being constructed in Polish cities, some of them excellent examples of this approach, connecting to a disrupted tra-dition. They are combining formal attitude with high awareness of the site, its surrounding, and social and individual needs. Application of modernist schemes in contempo-rary Polish architecture has a profound reason and goes much further beyond the mere stylis-Figure 27. Contemporary residential building on Saska Street in Warsaw inspired by modernist archi-tecture of 1920's and 1930's. Architects Wojciech Szymborski and Jacek Zielonka, 1998. tic detailing. It is a continuation of rich material and intellectual tradition and this quality distin-guishes many newly completed projects. They fit well in their neighborhoods and comple-ment their immediate surroundings. Because the underlying modernist tradition was influ-encing architecture in Poland throughout 20th century, current projects often seem to be the results of the evolution of their precedents. The most successful of the buildings grow from their sites nurtured by a history of the land and add a layer of complexity to their surround-ing, blending with their neighbors at the same time and becoming inseparable objects in the cityscape. Figure 28. Residential complex on Hozjusza Street in Zoliborz district of Warsaw consists of apartment building and town homes. JEMS Architects (Olgierd Jagiello, Maciej Milobendzki, Jerzy Szczepanik-Dzikowski, Violetta Popiel-Machnicka), 1993-1997. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S Figure 29. Sequence of animation images. Resi-dence on Walecznych Street. Architects H.& S.Syrkus, 1936. 3 4 T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S DIGITAL INTERPRETATIONS AND ESEARGH METHODOLOGY The implementation of digital technology in design or research has a significant impact on its results. Digital tools were applied in all stages of this study including research, analysis and pre-sentation. Interactivity existed on two levels making this study non-linear. First, it occurred during the process of research and analysis, between the author and the studied objects and second it is an essential feature of the final presentation of the material. The study was conducted in three major phases. Phase one consisted of research and analysis of collected materials. In the second Figure 30. Modelling of fragments. Row houses in journalists' complex in Zoliborz district of Warsaw. Architects Szanajca, Piotrowski, 1934. E N S phase, presentation material was prepared. It was finally composed in the digital presenta-tion of the third phase. The result of the pro-cess is interactive media, a form still relatively new for a didactic document. It has to be noted that the final phase of the production of digital presentation requires as much effort as the previous ones. The challenges include the log-ical organization/reorganization of the material, the creation of an interactive graphical inter-face with functioning elements, and the pro-cessing of the relatively large amount of data. 3 6 T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S Figure 31. Computer model of the House on Nie-golewskiego Street by Barbara and Stanislaw Bru-kalski, 1927. At different levels of completeness the model attracts attention to different aspects of the building; structure, formal composition and massing. i T~-The format of the presentation allows to view it linearly or to browse through selected chap-ters and projects. Linear presentation in a traditional way introduces the projects' back-ground and the authors. It continues with the description of the actual projects, starting with the three houses by the Praesens architects, which were analyzed in detail. Other projects are introduced after that chronologically. In a non-linear exploration of the material the chapters can be omitted and the projects can be found and selected from the timeline dia-gram by the date or by the author. Several tools were used during this process. Images and videos were captured with digital cameras; existing drawings and old photo-graphs were scanned and processed in Pho-toShop. Drafting tools (Vectorworks, AutoCAD, Corel Draw) were used for drawing and analyz-ing plans and elevations. Modeling, rendering and animation was completed in FormZ, Maya and Electric Image. The final interactive docu-ment was composed in Director and Flash. Figure 32. Partially rendered partial model of the House on Katowicka Street reveals the composition of interior and structural elements. B. Lachert and J. Szanajca, 1928. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 3 7 The computer reconstruction of fragments enhances understanding of tradition. The process of modeling buildings, or even their pieces, is a learning experience, where we dis-cover and comprehend their structure, inher-ent relationships, proportions and principles of composition (figure 31, 33). This work also 3 S T R A C I N G P R A E B E N S permits us to see buildings from a different perspective and to discover their new dimen-sions. Especially interesting is the role of 3D models. The very nature of most modeling tools - models are built in wire frame and then rendered at a specified level of material realism - reveals a hidden structure in the stud-j j l '-•! , 1 .HUM::.!.. tfZ :~"T i\l » ••' 1 ) i p u r i \ I 'I [ipr^gft mmkh :-.~«Bw vr fl Figure 33. Geometrical analysis of the Residence on Walecznych Street by H. & S.Syrkus, 1936. ied objects (figure 32). Also, as limited graphi-cal material exists for some of the presented projects, digital reconstruction became an irre-placeable tool for their comprehensive repre-sentation. The digital model facilitates the study of var-ious aspects of a project. For example, it is easy to display it with different levels of detail. Portions, systems or elements of the building can be separated and studied, and the sculp-tural values are more clearly viewed. There-fore, a vocabulary of architectural objects can be more easily and precisely defined. The re-creation of drawings and the building of models convey us back in time where we can simulate or try to understand the design processes of the past. Buildings located on tight urban sites can usually be seen only from a limited per-spective. The digital rebuilding of these struc-tures lets us see them with designer's eyes. For example the side elevation of the house on Katowicka Street, blocked by neighboring buildings, can be fully appreciated only when reconstructed (figurel). The computer models provide us with the advantage of viewing them dynamically and of examining them more comprehensively. Such examination reveals and confirms that the orig-inal architectural ideas represent still powerful formal statements and great aesthetic values. We can better understand the architects' inten-tions or perhaps discover new unintentional, unexpected and fascinating aspects of their projects. Various aspects of models can be compared this way and the most essential spatial or formal relationships extracted. The projects and design ideas can be better under-stood and evaluated, and this permits greater learning opportunities. Through this method it is possible to switch between scales of viewing - between overall form and a specific aspect of a detail and to provide opportunities to shift attention from one detail of the project to another, as well as to modify the approach during the actual analysis. T R A C I N G P R A E B E N S Figure 34. CIAM 7, Bergamo, 1949. Standing: Le Corbusier; seated, Helena Syrkus, Serf, Giedion 4 D T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S The Polish avant-garde of the 1920s and 1930s actively participated in the early stages of the international Modern Movement, which was most clearly manifested in their work with CIAM. Polish modernists in this period cre-ated unique work, which contributed to the development of new ideas internationally and was seminal for a European architectural tradi-tion. In Poland this culture was suddenly dis-rupted by the war and post war conditions, but decades later it is being rediscovered, over and over again, because it has a profound rationale. The immediate continuation and critique of the modernist tradition was undertaken by members of a subsequent generation, which DNCLU DN included Jerzy Soltan, and other members of Team 10. Jerzy Soltan worked with Le Cor-busier in his Paris studio, where he helped develop the Modulor. He contributed to the development of architectural thought through his teachings, projects and writings. He also participated in the post war CIAM meetings. The work by him and other Team 10 members is yet to be recognized internationally and propagated. Modernist ideas left a permanent mark on Polish architecture and their influence contin-ues today. Functionalism became a feature of architecture in Poland and governed even during the periods of changing aesthetics, poli-tics and ideologies. This was possible partially T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S because the members of the early avant-garde continued to teach at the Warsaw School of Architecture. Today the School remains an important center of architectural thought and education. The modern idea of functionalism is ever present in its didactic approach and this constitutes a link with the pre-war avant-garde traditions. This link was never fully broken and the ideas of functionalism continued to influence younger generations of architects. At present, as Poland enjoys once again fully democratic conditions, modern ideas become more pronounced in architectural design as many young architects rediscover and are inspired by the pioneering examples of Polish contemporary architecture of the 1920s and 1930s. The modern avant-garde was deeply involved in social issues. Social content is visible in most of the projects from this period. This also became a lasting influence, as social aware-ness spread in general through the architectural profession. The contemporary understanding of the creative role of an architect working for the benefit of the whole society originated from modernist ideas. Digital tools bring unique qualities to research and architectural work. Implementing new 4 2 T R A C I N G P R A E B E N B Figure 35. Details of contemporary residential multi-family residential buildings in Warsaw. media is important in understanding the sub-ject of study, as they allow a different approach in research and wider analysis. Therefore they bring a better understanding of tradition and present findings in a form that is more influ-ential and easier to comprehend. Especially powerful are interactive presentations, where a user can choose the sequence of exploring the document and view it dynamically. In this study digital tools facilitated separation of formal aspects of projects and the analysis of their functional character. The final presentation on a CD-ROM is written in a flexible format that can be viewed linearly or explored in a non-linear way by the user. Several housing projects are presented and referred to in this study. Some of them are large complexes and were a product of the united efforts by many individuals and organi-zations. A detailed examination is conducted on a selected few, smaller buildings. They are the most interesting objects for the contempo-rary viewer, as they represent and contain the complexity of formal, spatial, ideological and technological issues of their time. These proj-Figure 36. Modeling of fragments. Entry stair, Resi-dence on Walecznych Street. H.& S.Syrkus, 1936. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 4 3 ects were houses designed for clients, or as the architects' own residences. Therefore the authors enjoyed the greatest freedom in this work and were able to exercise their cre-ative skills and incorporate the most innovative ideas. These buildings were the laboratories for conducting architectural experiments and testing details and technologies, some of which were incorporated later into larger complexes. , . V Further itinust be.noted thatsome;of these. \U <? * ,' U buildings' are\ mdnumentsjof modernfpVlishj/^s architecture and are referred to quite often in various publications. There are however no in-depth studies of these buildings and more extensive analyses of them are yet to come. "Tracing Praesens" CD-ROM presents impor-tant achievements of the Polish modernists of the 1920s and the 1930s. They are located in time and in relation to the events in Europe ,during that period to illustrate their significance ; ^fo'fjiothjP^lisK-and Eurqp'ean^mpdern culture 'Cfheiriradition infelatf l c-Jitinui/s i~ J i , ) 4 4 Figure 37. Group phtograph, Amsterdam CIRPAC meeting, 1935. Bottom row, from right to left: Vladimir Antolic (Yugoslavia), Van Eesteren, Gropius, Giedion, Helena Syrkus, Ernest Weissmann (Yugoslavia). T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 1. Drosdte, M. - Bauhaus. Benedikt Taschen 1993. 2. Engelmann, C; Schadlich, Ch - Die Bau-hausbauten in Dessau. Berlin 1991. 3. Frampton, K. - Modern Architecture, A Critical History. Oxford University Press, 1980. 4. Giedion, S. - Space, Time and Architec-ture. The Harvard University Press, 1946. 5. Gresty, H.; Lewison, J. - Constructivism in Poland 1923 to 1936. Kettle's Yard Gal-lery, Edinbourgh. 6. Jencks, C. - Le Corbusier and the tragic viewof Architecture. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1974. IBLSDGRAPHY 7. Johnson, P. - Mies van der Rohe. The Museum of Modern Art 1978. 8. Le Corbusier et Pierre Jeanneret - Ouvre Complete de 1910-1929. 9. Marston Fitch, J. - Walter Gropius. New York, 1960. 10. Miller Lane, B. - Architecture and Politics in Germany, 1918-1945. Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts -1968. 11. Mumford, E. - The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960. The MIT Press, 2000. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 12. Pommer, R.;Christian F.Otto- Weissenhof 1927 and the Modern Movement in Archi-tecture. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago & London, 1991. 13. Probst, H.; Schadlich, C - Walter Gropius. Berlin 1986. 14. Sharp, D. - A Visual History of Twentieth-Century Architecture. William Heinemann Ltd 1972. 15. Smithson, A. and P. - The Heroic Period of Modern Architecture. Rizzoli International Publications, Inc. 1981. 16. Syrkus, S. - Informacje o IV Miedzynar-odowym Kongresie Architektury Nowocz-esnej (Information About 4th International Congress of Modern Architecture)- bro-chure. 17. Syrkus, H. - Ku idei osiedia spolecznego (Towards the Idea of Social Neighborhood) -Warszawa1976. 18. Syrkus, H - Spoleczne cele urbanizacji. (Social Ideas ofilrbanism) PWN, Warszwa 1984. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 19. Westphal, U. - The Bauhaus. London 1990. 20. Wislocka, I. - Awangardowa Architektura Polska 1918-1939. (Polish Avant-Garde Architecture 1918-1939) Arkady 1968. 21. Wojtowicz, J and Fawcett, W. - Architec-ture: Formal Approach. Academy Editions, London 1986. 22. Yorke, F.R.S. ; Gibberd, F. - The Modern Flat. London, The Architectural Press, 1948. 23. Zevi, B. - The Modern Language of Archi-tecture. Douglas & Mclntyre Ltd. Vancou-ver 1978. 24. Architektura i Budownictwo (Architecture and Construction) - volumes 1925/26, 1929, 1930, 1927, 1931 (monthly maga-zine). 25. Avant-garde Polonaise/Awangarda Polska. Editions du Moniteur (17 rue d'Uzes 75002 Paris)/Wydawnictwo Interpress Warszawa -1981. 26. Bohdan Lachert, Jozef Szanajca. Architek-tura. Muzeum Architektury we Wroclawiu -Listopad 1980. (Exhibition catalogue.) 27. De Stijl - the formative years. The MIT Press, 1986. 28. Dom, Osiedle, Mieszkanie. (House, Neigh-borhood, Dwelling) No.10,11/1936 (Monthly magazine). 29. PAN - Komitet Architektury I Urbanistyki. Studia i materialy do teorii i historii Archi-tektury i Urbanistyki. (Polish Academy of Science - Committee for Architecture and Urbanism. Studies and sources for the theory and history of Architecture and Urbanism). Tom XVI - Architektura dawna a wspolc-zesnosc. (Volume XVI - Ancient architec-ture versus presence; page 103, an article by Helena Syrkus) Tom VIII - Polska nowatorska mysl archi-tektoniczna w latach 1918-1939 (Volume VIII - Polish progressive architectural ideas in 1918-1939) Tom XVII - Architektura I Urbanistyka w Polsce w latach 1918-1978. (Volume XVII - Architecture and Urbanism in Poland 1918-1978). T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S t a W<' 4 7 APPENDICES A P P E N D I X 1 | List of Projects Hyperlinked on a ( :D A P P E N D I X 2 | Biographical Notes of the Group Praesens 4 8 T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S Page 49 Page 53 PROJECTS PRESENTED IN DETAIL House on Katowicka Street; Bohdan Lachert and Jozef Szanajca,1928. Innovative in its form and structure (a system of perpendicular load bearing walls allowed the application of continu-ous ribbon windows on the elevations), the house received a lot of attention even during construction. Currently it is on the list of heritage buildings. It consists of three three-level town homes whose inte-rior living spaces are designed for max-imum openness and are interconnected vertically. APPENDIX 1 List of Projects Hyperlinked on a CD I Residence on Niegolewskiego Street; [J Barbara and Stanislaw Brukalski, 1927-1928. The Architects' own residence and studio was inspired by the ideas of Neo-Plasti-cism, paintings by Mondrian and the work of De Stijl. In its detail the house bears some resemblance to the Residence in Utrecht by G.T.Rietveld (1924). It is, how-ever, more innovative spatially with its open living space, studio overlooking the double height space above the entrance hall and the strong, unifying vertical ele-ment of a spiral staircase. The residence was planned on three levels, where a large T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 5 D portion of the third level was devoted to a rooftop garden. Since 1973 it has been t on the list of heritage buildings. | Residence on Walecznych Street; Helena and Szymon Syrkus, 1936. This strictly functional house was one in a series of testing grounds for developing efficient residential spaces. The issues of function, necessity, comfort and luxury of every day living were the main design objectives of this project. Figure 38. WSM Colony 9, building at 8 Prochnik Street, Warsaw. Barbara and Stanislaw Brukalsk 1938. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S OTHER PROJECTS I Submission for Housing Competition and Expo in Lwow, Bohdan Lachert and Jozef Szanajca, 1926. 1 Proposals for affordable wood frame houses, Bohdan Lachert and Jozef Szanajca, 1926. B Thesis project by Jozef Szanajca, 1927. I WSM Colony IV Barbara and Stanislaw Brukalski.1927. I Szyller Residence in Saska Kempa dis-trict of Warsaw, Bohdan Lachert and Jozef Szanajca, 1928. 1 Row houses in the Journalist Estate. Kazimierz Tolloczko, 1928-1930. I WSM Colony VII. Barbara and Stanislaw Brukalski, 1930-1934. 8 WSM Rakowiec. Helena and Szymon Syrkus, 1931-1936. I Residence in Pinsk. Helena and Szymon Syrkus, 1926. 0 Residence in Milanowek. Helena and Szymon Syrkus, 1926. 1 MSW Housing on Rakowiecka Street. J. Stefanowicz, 1931. B Temida Housing Cooperative, Piotr Kwiek, 1933. 8 Town-homes on Dziennikarska Street. J. Szanajca, B. Lachert, J Reda, R. Piotrowski, 1934. B TOR Estate in Kolo (district of Warsaw), R.Piotrowski, K.Lichtenstein, Z.Szulc, A.Brzozowski, 1935. B Building on Slowackiego Street, Stanislaw Brukalski, Jozef Szanajca, 1935. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 5 i ££0 Apartments on Jaworzynska Street. Helena and Szymon Syrkus, 1937. Apartments on Wiejska Street. Waclaw Weker, 1935-1938. WSM Colony IX. Barbara and Stanislaw Brukalski 1938. Apartments on Al. Przyjaciol, Juliusz Zurawski, 1938. Apartments on Walecznych Street; Helena and Szymon Syrkus, 1937. Figure 39. Housing for Government Clerks. Slowackiego Street, Warsaw. Stanislaw Brukal-ski, JozefSzanajca, 1935. 5 2 T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S APPENDIX 2 Biographical Notes of the Group Praesens 3 Brukalski, Barbara and Stanislaw Their private house was completed in 1929 at 5 Niegolewskiego Street, Warsaw, Zoliborz. It is one of the most interesting examples of Polish Modern Architecture and is currently on the list of heritage buildings (since 1973). Consecutive WSM colonies in Zoliborz are their greatest professional achievement. These housing complexes and especially unit lay-outs are proof of their leadership in architec-ture of the second Polish Republic. They were designing in compliance with Polish capabili-ties (economic), traditions and habits but also according to world trends. Their designs were comprehensive; they knew the meaning of every day convenience and reasonable com-fort. The Brukalski also designed furniture and inte-riors. In 1937 they received a commission for interiors of Polish Ocean Liners. Stanislaw Bru-kalski, working with a brilliant artist on interi-ors of the Polish transatlantic liners "Batory" and "Pilsudski", produced remarkable designs. They participated in competitions for residen-tial and public interiors. Stanislaw and Barbara met at the Warsaw School of Architecture. They usually worked on the projects together. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 5 3 1925 - they won competition for the 4th WSM Colony in Warsaw (workers' housing). It resulted in the beginning of their common architectural practice. The economic values of their projects were considered one of the most important criteria for the jury. WSM's objective was to contest the problem of home-lessness. The Brukalski couple won the com-petition because of their innovative approach reducing the cost of construction (for example they were using a floor to floor height - 270cm as opposed to traditional height of 360cm; they also discarded all decoration- not necessarily because they didn't like it, but as an offensive element of a building at a time of dire social needs and difficulties). Architectural tradition in the Brukalski family is passed on from generation to generation and continues today. Work: 1927 - design and construction of WSM Colony IV in Zoliborz, Warsaw (as a result of a WSM invited competition). T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 1928-1939 - WSM Colony IV, VII and IX. 1927-1938 - interiors for Ocean Liners -"Batory", "Pilsudski", "Sobieski". 1929- Brukalski Residence on Niegolewskiego Street, Warsaw (Golden Medal at Paris Exhibition in 1937). 1927-1939 - several awards in competitions for housing complexes, residential build-ings and interiors. Construction of sev-eral residential buildings, retail interiors and commercial pavilions. 1945-1960 - WSM Colony XI, XII, XIII in Zoli-borz 1946-1955 - restoration and expansion of resi-dential colony in New Town in Warsaw. Publications: 1934 - paper for CIAM congress in Athens "Social principles for design of housing complexes (published in Poland by the Ministry of Restoration in 1948) Barbara Brukalska 1899 -1980 Attracted to nature and landscape she first studied agriculture in Pulawy (didn't finish) as her parents owned large properties in this region. 1934 - graduated from the School of Architec-ture - Warsaw Technical University. Individual work: 1948 -1951 - interiors for ten historic buildings in Old Town Square in Warsaw. From 1949 - restoration and new churches in Jezysk, Ostroleka, Izabelin. 1950-1964 - restoration of the historical build-ing "Under the Eagles" (including interi-ors) - a branch of The National Bank of Poland - Jasna Street, Warsaw). 1959 - housing complex WSM Okecie II 1964 - design and construction of interiors for the Parliament Building in Warsaw. Urban planning of new colonies WSM-West in Warsaw. Figure 40. Barbara Brukalska Teaching: 1946-48 - associate professor at the School of Architecture. She specialized in housing. In her studio at the School she worked with students on small housing projects. Since 1948 - Professor - Department of Archi-tectural Design and Composition 1965 - Professor - Department of Housing Competitions: 1937 - three awards (I, II and III) for residential interiors for the International Exhibition in Paris. 1962 - 1st award (and construction) of the "Rodz. Matysiakow" House for Seniors. In her professional practice she paid a lot of attention to the design of functional units. A kitchen, as a heart of the house always received the closest attention: Architects should cover in their design a wide range of scales from urban planning to unit planning and even furniture lay-outs. Every effort afforded in unit planning and ergonomic studies will pay back hun-5 6 T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S cfrecf times. Rational and functional plan-ning of kitchens is critical for women's work, the amount of free time they can afford and lifestyle of the whole family. Barbara Brukalska was very active politically and stood behind her democratic ideas even in the difficult late 1930s when extreme right wing groups and parties had growing popularity. To her, work and involvement in social housing projects didn't contain much political meaning. She considered it her professional mission and social obligation. e z A ^ p j ? i s i C ^ * M b D E ^ i ^ < ^ \ ^ M: O D'-'-Ei^ R; N<E? I Redakoja I wydawcy ozasopisma PRAESENS stwlerdzaja. nlnlejszem ±e p an Stanis law .Bru-kalski Jest statym wsp6tpraoowniklem wymie nlonego ozasopisma Wsxystkie wtadze ~* * proszone sa, o udzlelane mu wszelklej pomocy I utatwlen przy wykonywanlu przezen obowlazkow zawodowych V Le Redaction et les Edlteurs du perlodique PRAESENS certlflent que r /% Stanis law Brufcalgki ^ est re"daoteur du perlodique susdenom-* me Toutes les autorltes sont prices de blen voulolr lul prefer aide et-de lul faclllter I aoaompllssement de see de-voirs professionnels Za wydawcow Redaktor naozelny Redaoteur en ohef F/gure 4 1 Stanislaw Brukalski's Praesens member-ship ID. 1927. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 5 7 Stanislaw Brukalski 1894 -1967 Born in Warsaw, where he also attended high Z~] school. - ^ 1916 - started School of Architecture in Milan (his high school diploma was not allow-ing him an entrance to the University in Russia - which was occupying Poland). 1917 - joined Polish Army - Legions. He was seriously wounded; awarded a "Cross of Independence". Later captured and spent the rest of the WW1 in a concentration camp. 1927 - graduated from the School of Architec-ture - The Warsaw Technical University. After graduation worked as an assistant Professor. 1929 - abandoned his university career and devoted himself to architectural practice. Individual work: 1934-1935 - house for the employees of The Warsaw Technical University on Tarc-zynska Street in Warsaw. 1937 (with Bohdan Pniewski)- Polish Pavilion 5 B T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S for International Exhibition in Paris. 1936-1938 - building for the Ministry of Defense on Rakowiecka Street. 1945-1960 - restoration and addition to Rac-zynski Palace on Krakowskie Przedmi-escie Street, Warsaw - conversion to the Fine Arts School. 1949-1960 - residential buildings on Nowotki Street in Warsaw. 1952-56 - Community Center and Theatre for WSM in Zoliborz. ("Social House" and "Komedia Theatre") Publications: Several articles on housing in "Architektura and Budownictwo" magazine. Teaching: 1945-1948 - Associate Professor at The School of Architecture, The Warsaw Technical University. 1948 - Professor - Department of Architectural Design and Composition 1958-1960 - Dean of The School of Architec-ture in Warsaw. Syrkus, Helena and Szymon Participated in a wide range of political, social and professional activities. They were mem-bers of CIAM. They represented Poland at Con-gresses and prepared presentations. Helena was the vice president of CIAM in 1947. They were both members of the Party after the War. Helena was a leader of the organization at the School of Architecture, where she was teaching. For them, WSM activities had a more political (than social) meaning - for which they were sometimes criticized by colleagues (Bar-bara Brukalska). One of their major projects was the Warsaw Building Cooperative's Rakowiec Housing Estate, launched by Praesens (a pioneer attempt in collective work). They exercised extreme care in the design of residential units. They were satisfied with a unit plan only if it was possible to have six different furniture layouts for it. They demon-strated keen attention to detail. The result of this work were economical but also surpris-ingly functional and comfortable units (given the very tight area and budget constraints). They had a well-earned respect for their resi-dential work. Active educators. During the war they taught secret classes for architectural students. Work: Till 1939 - Residential buildings in steel frame in Skolimow and concrete frame in Saska Kepa, on Niepodleglosci Avenue, on Jaworzynska Street, on Zlota Street. Convalescent houses in Konstancin and Srodborow. Dairy factory Colony II and III for WSM in Rakowiec, Warsaw. 1947-1950 - Residential complex in Kolo, Warsaw Residential complex "Praga 1" Community house in Rakowiec, Warsaw School on Filtrowa Street, Warsaw T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 1954-1960 Projects for typical buildings and units - for industrially manufactured pre-cast panel buildings Publications: 1930 - "About a simultaneous action theatre" 1931 - "Industrial production of living units" 1933 - participated in editing of the Charter of Athens, CIAM 1935 - "De I'architecture et de la production des habitations ouvrieres" 1938-"10 years of CIAM" 1940 - "Social services in a residential com-plex" 1947 - "Construction of the WSM Colony II in Kolo, Warsaw" 1956-"Habitation 1945-1955" in UIA Congress Catalogue, Hague 1937 & 1941- articles in "Gli elementi dell'architettura Funzionale" T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S Szymon Syrkus 1893-1964 Architect and town-planner. Born in Warsaw, April 1893; died there June 8, 1964. Studies: In Vienna, Gratz, Dorpat, Moscow, and School of Fine Arts in Krakow - archi-tecture, painting and sculpture. 1922 - graduated from the School of Architec-ture, Warsaw Technical University Figure 42. Szymon Syrkus 1922-1924 - apprenticeship in Berlin and Paris (Academie des Beaux Arts) 1924-joined Blok. Collaborated with Szczuka and Zarnower on many of the designs for the apartment build-ings presented at the first International Exhibi-tion of Modern Architecture in Warsaw, 1926. In 1926 he was one of the founding members of the group Praesens, a leader of the group and an initiator of the Praesens journal. The program of the group was formulated in Syrkus' editorial the "Preliminary of Architecture" in the first issue. It professed a close link between architecture and industry as the only truly 20th-century solution to the problem of the future development of architecture. From 1928 to 1957 he was on the CIRPAC Executive Board. In 1927, he participated in the International Theatre Exhibition in New York. He designed the Simultaneous Theatre With A. Pronaszko, S. Zaleski and H. Syrkus. The idea consisted of a huge stage apparatus able to produce simultaneous effects. It was never executed but it was one of the most radi-cal proposals for theatre architecture and can be compared with Walter Gropius' design for the Total Theatre. During the WW2 Szymon Syrkus was a direc-tor of a secret studio conducting planning studies for Warsaw. These studies looked to the future and included concepts for post-war Warsaw. Later arrested, S.Syrkus spent the war in a concentration camp. His most interesting commissions include Old People's Home (in collaboration with Henryk Oderfeld), 1925; Fertilizer Pavilion at the Uni-versal National Exhibition in Poznan, 1929; private residences and apartment buildings, housing estates in and near Warsaw. He was also a prolific writer. Individual Work: Till 1928 - Seniors Housing on Gorczewska Street, Warsaw Building for Social Security office in Brzesc on Bug (1st award in a competi-tion and construction) T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 1929 - pavilion at national exhibition in Poznan Project for a Simultaneous Action The-atre (with Andrzej Pronaszko) 1932 - 1st Award in a competition for a Conva-lescent House for Teachers. Publications: 1934 - "Functional Warsaw" with Jan Chmielewski Articles in professional magazines in Poland and abroad Teaching The School of Architecture, The Warsaw Tech-nical University Appointed as a Professor on the basis of his achievements in architectural practice and research before the war. In 1950's he was crit-icized for his modernist opinions and image. To comply with the requirements of the social-realism he looked for inspiration in the early Greek architecture. In his teaching he united architectural and urban issues. T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S Helena Syrkus 1900-1982 Born in Warsaw, May 14,1900. She died there, November 20,1982. Studies: 1918-1925 - The School of Architec-ture, The Warsaw Technical University and Department of Philosophy, Univer-sity of Warsaw 1926 - member of Preasens group and its sec-retary. 1929 - became a member of the Polish CIAM section (till 1957). Starting 1933, the year of the Athens Con-gress, she was the secretary of all the pre-war congresses. 1948-1957 - member of the Executive Com-mittee of UIA, UIA representative at UNESCO 1947 - at the Congress in Bridgewater, was elected a Vice-President of the CIAM Council alongside Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius. As an architect, she experimented with new systems (steel framework or course walls). In October 1939, she organized the PAU (Architectural and Town-Planning Studio). The Studio produced numerous designs and stud-ies, which were used in the first plans for the rebuilding of Warsaw after the War. Major Work: Experimental theatre in the district of Zoliborz in Warsaw, 1932-34; private residences, hous-ing estates. Publications: 1936 - "Les logements et les cites ouvrieres en Pologne" in Le livre du V-e Conges CIAM 1949 - "Social housing in a district, town and region" Teaching: At the School of Architecture, Warsaw Techni-cal University. Till 1952 - assistant to Prof. Szymon Syrkus. Since 1955 till 1970s - Professor in the studio of Residential Architecture Since 1964 - head of the studio of Residential Architecture T R A C I N G P R A E B E N S Bohdan Lachert and Jozef E3EZI Szanajca They met as students at the School of Archi-tecture in Warsaw. Became friends and col-laborators. From 1926 to 1939 they ran an architectural studio. Lachert and Szanajca's characteristic feature was their experimental attitude towards the use of new building meth-ods and new materials. Results of that, among other things, can be seen in a building at 9/13 Katowicka Street, where a functional system of three-level townhouses has a superb facing and a horizontal arrangement of windows. North unit of the building on Katowicka was the original Lachert's house (sold in 1988). Their joint oeuvre includes a design for the School of Political Science (a competition entry) - strikingly innovative, it was never exe-cuted. Lachert, Szanajca and Niemojewski won six first prizes in the competition "Affordable House", Lvov. They proposed remarkably suc-cessful solutions within the framework of the functional system for terraced houses, semi-figure 44. Bohdan Lachert and Jozef Szanajca in 1938. detached houses and blocks of flats. Lachert and Szanajca distinguished themselves again as the authors of a design for the League of Nations Palace in Geneva (1927). This gained them international recognition of their work and an invitation to CIAM. The Lachert family had a very close relation-ship with Jozef Szanajca, who took part in all important family events. He was also Rudof s godfather. Bohdan carved a bust of Jozef, which can be seen in Jozef Szanajca Street in Warsaw. Other architects and artists were common guests at Lachert's home. Among them were the Brukalski family and the Syrkus family. They always had long vivid discussions on artistic subjects. Work: 1925-1939 1 st Award in a competition for the entrance to horseracing grounds in Mokotow, Warsaw. 1st Award in a competition for a residence 10 awards (with Lech Niemojewski) at the "Affordable House" exhibition 1st Award in a competition for Students' Housing (with W. Winkler) 1st Award (with W. Winkler) in a competition for a Ministry of Post and Telecommuni-cation building in Warsaw. 1st Award (with W. Winkler) in a competition for a housing complex for the army offi-cers in Krakow. 1st Award (with W. Winkler) in a competi-tion for residences for the army officers in Bielsko. Bohdan Lachert's house on Katowicka Street in Warsaw, 1928; The Centra Cement Pavilion at the Univer-sal National Exhibition in Poznan 1929; T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 6 5 Jozef Szanajca 1902-1939 Born in Lublin, March 17, 1902; killed in Plazewo near Tomaszow Lubelski, September 24,1939. 1920-1927 - Studied at the School of Architec-ture, Warsaw Technical University. He was among the most dynamic represen-tatives of the generation of young architects active after World War I, who in the mid-twen-ties, were anxious to introduce functionalism to Polish architecture. He was one of the found-ers of the group Praesens, with which he par-ticipated in several exhibitions: 1926, Warsaw - 1st International Exhibition of Modern Architecture; 1927, New York - The Machine Age Exposi-tion; 1928, Vilno 1928, Cracow 1928, Paris - Salon d'Automne; T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 1929, The Universal National Exhibition in Poznan In 1931 he organized the Polish section at an exhibition of cities and homes in Berlin In 1937 he was co-organizer of the Polish Economy Pavilion, L'Art et Technique, Paris and was awarded the Grand Prix. During the seventeen years of his work, he pro-duced almost one hundred and fifty designs, often with Bohdan Lachert, as well as with Lech Niemojewski, Barbara and Stanislaw Bru-kalski, Stanislaw Hempel and Jan Reda. He won twenty-five prizes in various architectural competitions. His most interesting works, which follow the premises of functional architecture, include: Buildings for ZUS (Social Insurance Institu-tion) in the district of Zoliborz in Warsaw; ZUS convalescent homes in Tuszynek and Kurek, 1937-38 Bohdan Lachert 1900-1986 Born in Moscow, June 13,1900. He died in Warsaw in 1986. 1926 - graduated from the School of Architec-ture - Warsaw Technical University. 1926 - one of the founding members of the group Praesens (with Jozef Szanajca, Szymon Syrkus and others). Introduced to Praesens by Syrkus, with whom he entered into collaboration soon after grad-uation. His father worked for a big company with a head office in Moscow. The family lived in Moscow where 5 children were born: Bohdan was the oldest one, and then there was Maria, Zygmunt, Czeslaw and Anna. Children spent their summer holidays on a farm in Polish Ciechanki. In 1918 the family moved (or escaped) from Moscow to Poland. Bohdan Lachert believed in the potential of architectural profession. It's under his influence that his two sons became architects. After the war, Bohdan Lachert designed a prom-inent housing complex in Muranow, Warsaw. His idea was to create a monument of the War and the Warsaw Ghetto. His project was mod-ified to large extent though (for political rea-sons) and Bohdan quit his job (even though he was a member of the Party at that point). Bohdan's political opinions stayed on the left side till the end of his life. In architecture he was a follower of Le Corbusier. He believed in good architecture for common people. For his 80-th birthday he received a special award from SARP (The Association of Polish Architects). Lachert on architecture: In the thirties, the architects, appreci-ating the importance of utilitarian prob-lems, undertook creative work, which demanded that all the respective utilitar-ian functions of the buildings should be T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S evident in both their exterior and interior appearance. This trend, known as Func-tionalism, was, unfortunately interpreted falsely as one rejecting all of the exces-sive decoration and shaping of a work of art based on artistic prerequisites (...). The difficulties in the re-creating of an architectural design, that is, of an archi-tectural work of art, can in reality, be by-passed if its author gives up all the unconventional features of his work, which are not accepted with univocal acclaim. Such resignation is either a forced act or constitutes a safeguarding decision made in the anticipation that such a forced act may occur. The resig-nation of an architect and the giving up of the attitude of an artist, should result in his withdrawing from creative work (...) An architect's imagination, active while he is engaged in his creative work, does not function on the principle of a program: the pictures projected by his imagination whirl in the atmosphere of the under-taken subject matter and are directed by T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S his professional ability and aesthetic sen-sitivity. (...) An architect should possess not the intention of re-creation of his pri-mary vision but also, or rather, he should be aware of the necessity to be subject to the self-generating consequences, that is, he should rather work as a teacher, so to speak, influencing the develop-ment of his pupil's personality without having, however, the possibility of shap-ing it entirely at his will. (...) The emo-tional experiences of the architect are one of the main stimuli to undertake work Figure 45. Bohdan Lachert in the field of architecture, often surpass-ing in intention the potential of the archi-tect's own physical resources. Work: 1925-1939 Convalescent home for tuberculosis patients (for National Retirement Fund) in Warsaw. Three Schools of Commerce in Vilno School in Sulejowek Hotels in Skolimow and Kamienna Gora Residential buildings in Gdynia, Warsaw, Komorow and Wesola. Post office building in Stanislawow. After 1945 Restoration of PKO building on Mars-zalkowska Street in Warsaw. Post office building on Zygmuntowska Street in Warsaw. Cemetery of Soviet Soldiers in Warsaw "Muranow" residential district in Warsaw. After 1964 Residential complex in Pulawy. Teaching: 1926 Began to lecture at the School of Architecture, Warsaw Technical Univer-sity 1929-1937 - instructor of architecture at the Department of Civil Engineering-Warsaw Technical University. 1940-1944 - lectures at the (underground) City School of Building Technology 1945-1948- associate professor at the School of Architecture - studio for design of industrial buildingsl 948-1960 - professor at the School of Architecture - studio for design of industrial buildings 1960 - till 1980s head of the studio for design of Residential Complexes 1950-1954 - dean of the School of Architec-ture T R A C I N G P R A E S E N S 


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