Klaustoon: Pimp my Warsaw

“Pimp My Warsaw” (cartoon by Klaus)

Old Warsaw. (europeantours.eu

Old Warsaw. (europeantours.eu

Warsaw today. (regent-holidays.co.uk)

Warsaw today. (regent-holidays.co.uk)

It looks like Warsaw, which during Poland’s communist era restored the beauty of central Warsaw after the wreckage left by the Nazis, is selling itself the rope with which to hang itself. Is this what Poland jettisoned communism for? At least Stalin gifted Warsaw the elegant tower that looks, in its massing at least, like Providence’s Industrial Trust (“Superman”) Building.

While obviously they are two different things, I am of Prince Charles’s view – expressed with regard to London – that Poland’s architects are trying to match the accomplishments of the SS and the Wehrmacht. Warsaw’s modernists and capitalists (often the same these days) are willing to destroy the city on behalf of their bottom lines. Is this the free market?

I don’t think so. It’s the free market kidnapped by pirates. Poland is now a democracy, though, so in some degree it owns the situation it has permitted.

The Klaustoon “Pimp My Warsaw” says it all. (Click to enlarge.)

About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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7 Responses to Klaustoon: Pimp my Warsaw

  1. Anonymous says:

    History
    http://info-poland.buffalo.edu/classroom/longhist5.html
    Warsaw per-war

    Warsaw Uprising (1944)

    Like

  2. Anonymous says:

    “At least Stalin gifted Warsaw the elegant tower that looks, in its massing at least, like Providence’s Industrial Trust (“Superman”) Building.”
    This is a Russian fist thrust into the Polish capital.

    Like

  3. Kate says:

    “The Klaustoon “Pimp My Warsaw” says it all.”

    Not really…No historical buildings were destroyed to build the skyscrapers. And Warsaw isn’t exactly known for wooden or Orthodox-Christian religious architecture depicted on the cartoon.

    PKiN isn’t one of a kind either:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/rbth/features/8859560/Seven-Sisters-skyscrapers.html

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    • Jan says:

      Yeah, this entry just seems ignorant. Does the author know about it’s almost complete wartime destruction? Warsaw’s surviving tenements are undergoing a wave of restoration, the reconstructed Old Town is doing well. There is a proposition to rebuild the Saxon Palace. There is no London-esque scuppering of old architecture. Warsaw still suffers from swathes of empty space (particularly around the palace) and stopgap architecture from the 70s/90s of dubious quality. I’ll say this again: this entry seems ignorant as regards Warsaw’s situation. Is the complaint here that 18th century style buildings are not being built anymore?

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    • Jan and Kate – Whatever Klaus’s toon may say about whether old Warsaw buildings were scuppered to build the glitzy garbage he criticizes, that is beside the point. Their ugliness is not open to question. I stand by my opinion that Warsaw has missed a great opportunity to build on (or rebuild) its historic beauty.

      Like

  4. Lewis Dana says:

    The photo sure demonstrates some colossally bland examples of current commercial building practice.
    Build it, rent it, move on.
    But in no way will I go along with the adjective “elegant” for that mindless aggregation of columns, pediments, spires and gewgaws that Stalin foisted on his subjects as approved Soviet chic.
    I am sure that close examination of that heap of knee-jerk features would reveal a kitchen sink worked into the design somewhere.
    In the Breznev era we stayed in the Leningradskaya hotel in Moscow, another example of this mindless architecture with which Stalin’s builders littered the landscape.

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    • It is elegant, but it is triply elegant (to be conservative) compared with the towers that have arisen nearby. Perhaps its elevators don’t work, like those of the main tourist hotel my parents stayed in around the time you probably visited. Maybe it was the same hotel. But gift of Stalin or not, the Warsaw building puts to shame almost everything built since – here, there, almost everywhere.

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