Nowa Huta is among the most interesting registers of change and progress which occurred in post-war Poland. A new district built from scratch in a historical city, a supply base for one of the largest industrial plants in a war-devastated country, or a key propaganda project of a young communist state – these are just a few ways to describe the place. One of the most long-lasting aspects of the location is its layout and the architectural projects carried out there. At the same time, Nowa Huta is a mirror reflecting a range of processes typical of whole post-war Europe. Construction of new cities, and the related new wave of urbanisation and industrialisation became the key instruments of economic reconstruction of the states in the entire continent after 1945. They were also employed in the propaganda contest between conflicted political blocs positioned on the opposite sides of the Iron Curtain.1 During the Cold War rivalry when military confrontation was avoided the authorities here and there sought a mandate to pursue their policies by focusing on the quality of life of citizens, and economic growth prospects. Instruments used in this race included new technologies and ideas which determined the discourse of post-war reconstruction. Instruments used in this race included new technologies and ideas which determined the discourse of post-war reconstruction.2

Two workers steer a concrete block fed from above by a crane, a few others watch it.
A crane hands over a concrete block and several workers are watching it.

The urban planning and architecture of Nowa Huta offer a chance to capture all those phenomena, and to relate trajectories of their development in Poland, and the remaining part of the Eastern Bloc. Helpful in the search and analysis of this content are the various cultural context that have accumulated in relation to Nowa Huta. Even when it was being constructed, it gave rise to numerous socialist realist works. About Nowa Huta songs were composed, pictures were painted, and poems were written. After the death of Joseph Stalin, it was Nowa Huta which sparked the first pieces critical of the political system.[1] The making of the model socialist city was scrupulously recorded, and popularised in newsreels and photo-reportages. A prominent role in documenting the visual aspect of the district was performed by Henryk Makarewicz and Wiktor Pental, photojournalists and cinematographers responsible for the PKF newsreels , who photographed the spatial expansion, and the everyday in Nowa Huta.[2] Their black-and-white photographs form part of the history of post-war reportage, predominantly dedicated to processes related to reconstruction and daily life of people living in cities that were rebuilt, or built from scratch. Makarewicz and Pental’s pictures evoke images that belong to the visual story of the modern world, from London to Moscow.

The photos depicting children drawing with chalk by the Swedish Block bring to mind Nigel Henderson’s pictures taken in Bethnal Green, London, soon after the war.[1] Abstracts shots from the construction site trigger associations with Aleksandr Rodchenko’s innovative images of urban space from the set showing life in the Soviet Union in the interval between the world wars.[2] Misty production halls in the steelworks cut through by sharp rays of light recall the pictures of industrial cities and plants in America taken after the war by Andreas Feininger.[3] Within the context of the art and photography of the period, Henryk Makarewicz and Wiktor Pental’s images universalise the landscape of Nowa Huta, and situate its history in the broader frame of reference of places that witnessed the post-war development of Poland and Europe.

Top shot of broken railway tracks, chaos all around

They also provide an intriguing account of the history of architecture. Taken in the early 1950s from scaffolding, ubiquitous in Plac Centralny, they express the optimism and hope felt by builders of various industrial cities across the Eastern Bloc. They demonstrate that traditional building methods were still commonly used in this part of Europe, and reveal a characteristic urban model adopted in Central Europe straight from the Soviet Union. Similar pictures had been produced before the war in construction sites of new districts in Moscow, built after the approval of a new urban plan for the city in 1935. The photographs taken by Henryk Makarewicz and Wiktor Pental a few years later not far away, at the construction site of the Handlowe estate, represent the moment of a technological breakthrough in post-war architecture when reinforced concrete and prefabrication came into regular use. For the attempt at incorporating the growth of Nowa Huta into major trends of post-war architecture, the photographs by the two Kraków-based documentarists may prove very useful. Their cameras allow us to see phenomena occurring in various places, and contexts. We watch them in the narrow stretch of land of the former village of Mogiła, and several other agricultural communities which for ages had provided food supplies for Kraków, and after the war became the location of an urban and social utopia.[1] The enthusiasm for reconstructing the country, and building a new city is particularly striking.

A group of tourists is examining the tapestries on the walls of a spacious room.

Year Zero

The year 1945, and the period that followed the end of the Second World War, constituted a turning point in European history. The continent which had decided the fate of the world, divided and ruled over almost the entire globe for a whole century, fell into ruin. There were almost exclusively losers: Germany lost a substantial part of its territory, and was to remain in two pieces for years to come; Great Britain and France inevitably lost their status as colonial powers; Poland’s border were relocated, and the country suffered heavy material losses and casualties. In psychological terms, the end of the war brought a strange mixture of trauma, fear, and humiliation for many people in Europe.9 But a general feeling prevailed that as peace was established after years of bombing, hunger, and destruction it was time to set about building the world anew. There was a helluva lot to do. Only in Great Britain, bombings which went on since 1940 wiped out or damaged even four million buildings.10 Some German cities, e.g. Dresden, were turned to ruin by 80%. The situation in Poland was even more dramatic, which was symbolised by the tragedy of Warsaw. In Roberto Rossellini’s film Germany, Year Zero, made three years after the war, we see a twelve-year-old boy wandering in the ruins of a city. The world he had known, the city, the family, social ties, had disintegrated. Although the film depicted Berlin, and the atmosphere of failure that pervaded the city, it actually demonstrated a bigger problem which was faced in many other places on the continent. Upon the ruins of the old world, a new generation was to build a new Europe from scratch.11

Top view of the transport locomotive, industrial chaos all around.

Aside from reconstruction, frequent demands and, as a result, symbols of the breakthrough was the need to create a new, more egalitarian social system which – for instance, in Great Britain with its Labour government after 1945 – was supposed to provide all with equal access to education and health services. Similar changes were soon introduced in most Western states for fear of a communist revolution. The need to restructure the exiting system was most strongly articulated by communists who were seizing power after the war in states liberated by Red Army. This practically meant complete subjection of these states to the Soviet Union, a totalitarian dictatorship, police terror, and tremendous propagandist pressure clearing the way for a new ideology. One of its significant elements was the will to form a new man, following the Soviet experience.12 In Poland, a rather poorly urbanised country before the war, the post-war reconstruction also involved a massive transfer of rural population to cities. Investment in heavy industry, and related urbanisation were both instruments of creating military advantage to the West, as well as a trigger for social change. When in 1944 Red Army crosses the line on the river Bug, and made it possible for structures of the new power to be established in Poland, among the challenges faces by Polish communists was mobilising at least some support from the society.13 One of the tools of attaining this objective was the reconstruction of destroyed cities, and the construction of new ones.

Workers work with shovels in the trench, over them is a dump truck.

Warsaw, whose demolition was described by new Polish authorities as a natural consequence of the doings of the previous system, became in the first months after the war the subject matter of debate in urban planning devoted to directions of the reconstruction. Some planners believed that the ruins of the Old Town should be kept as a remembrance of the past, while others wanted to restore the place to its former shape. All participants, however, seemed to share an aversion to the chaotic developments of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.14 Architecture from the period of the industrial revolution, as well as the system of values and social relations it was associated with, was considered a serious historical mistake. This kind of evaluation was common, and most importantly, they did not necessarily imply a positive attitude to the new system.

Pedestrian traffic on the promenade of the central square, next to the monumental arcades. Shot after the rain, against the sun.

Like London or Le Havre, post-war Warsaw was to be rebuilt as a modern city with modernist living units replacing quarters densely filled with tenement houses. As a result, all residents would have similar access to greenery, sunlight, and fresh air. The modernist paradigm in the discussion on the reconstruction of Warsaw was fully expressed right after the war, for instances in plans devised by Maciej Nowicki.15 The first estates constructed after the war, designed by Szymon and Helena Syrkus for the cooperative Warszawska Spółdzielnia Mieszkaniowa, constituted a huge step towards meeting the demands of modernist urban planning.16 Independent units of reinforced concrete with flat roofs, freely positioned in green spaces, were the ideal sought by the designers, who had spared no effort before the war to promote the ideas of the Athens Charter. Now, despite the destruction and tragedies brought by the war, the time seemed right for their concepts and demands.

A number of cars are waiting at the taxi stand, monumental architecture in the background.

Wind from the East

Meanwhile, it was in 1949 that a major change was introduced to architecture in Poland as well as in other countries of the Eastern Block. As soon as the power of the communist government was secured, the Opposition neutralised, the underground eliminated, the Church subjected to a growing pressure, and the economy and trade fully controlled by state administration, the next step to be taken towards assuming absolute power over the country was a struggle for symbolic dominance over Polish society. This aim was pursued in a number of parallel ways. On the one hand, fear was instilled be means of terror, mass surveillance, repressions, and arrests. On the other hand, there was also encouragement given through consistent construction of the myth of political power which rebuilt the state, and improved the living standard by allowing the transfer of masses from the countryside to the city. The battle for souls was to take place in new cities constructed by key industrial investments, it was here that Poles liberated or separated from the values ensuing from rural life, capable of reading and writing, assertive towards traditional religiousness, and trusting the Party whatever it undertook.

A top view of the tangle of pipelines, with a diesel locomotive passing between them.

In 1949, the emerging paths of relations and communication between the authorities and the masses received a new vocabulary and form of socialist realism. The specific structure of totalitarian art and communication form arrived in Poland, as well as in East Germany, Czechoslovakia, or Hungary, from the Soviet Union. Socialist realism rejected on principle abstraction, and modernism seeing them as a manifestation of corrupt sensibility, a product of bourgeois and capitalist social and economic relations.17 Everything progressive became backward and empty, everything traditional and undemanding became the modern form of commination in the political system which stemmed from Marxism. The reversed logic generated a peculiar sort of art based on age-old established canons, but it introduced new mass heroes, and a new political context. In visual arts it referred to academism, in architecture it adopted solutions used in historicism. The new type of protagonists appeared, battle scenes were still popular, along with works praising the heroism of everyday labour, the toil of workers and farmers carving the foundations for the wealth of an egalitarian society.

Perspective of the roof of the building covered with antennas, in the background a skyscraper.

Soldiers who laid down their lives for the country on the fronts of the Second World War, miners and steelworkers who were the avant-garde of industrial economy and the working class, farmers providing food for the cities, and intellectuals – mostly technologists constituted the new pantheon of heroes in painting, literature, and film. The situation was similar for sculpture, freestanding or complementing new architectural works. In the work of Aleksandr Deineka, a classic painter of the Soviet period of socialist realism, the main motif is the human body, frequently naked and sinewy.18 Its beauty expresses optimism and hope. It tends to be accompanied by a machine, a train running in the background or in its immediate surroundings, there may be an aeroplane nearby, or a bicycle. These symbols of modernity depict motion, dynamism, and a new era when human genius faces possibilities unknown before, and crosses all borders. The body is usually a component of a bigger picture, an element in a collective, seemingly autonomous but its strength comes from being a functioning part of a group. This suggestive ideological construction shows the relationship between the man and modernity in a simple and visually attractive way. There is no need to refer to abstraction, realism is once again a language of sufficient capacity.

A shot of a construction crane hidden among the clouds of smoke from factory chimneys.

Great Moscow

This new peculiar code of visual communication resulted from the changes that were occurring in the Soviet Union after the first unsuccessful economic experiments initiated by Joseph Stalin.19 After the Great Famine, and in the light of an ever growing migration of rural population to industrial cities, expanding within the framework of the Five-Year Plan, searching for a new basis for legitimisation the dictator resorted to terror.20 Massive propaganda became part of the apparatus of violence, rejecting the heretofore preferred language of constructivism, employing old artistic forms, and placing the figure of the leader in the centre of attention.21 This was how a few years before the outbreak of the Second World War socialist realism as a total structure, and a universal language emerged in culture of the greatest state in the world. Even before the war, this new phenomenon completely transformed Soviet architecture.

Pedestrian traffic in front of monumental residential buildings covered with scaffolding.

Initiated by Stalin at the turn of the 1920s and 30s, the process of industrialisation of the Soviet Union led to one of the greatest and fastest migrations of population from the country to urban areas so far. Soon urban planning and construction works were commenced to build new districts or cities to accommodate people working in new plants. One of the fastest growing centres was Moscow.22 When in 1935 new landscape plans were being prepared for Moscow, their authors decided to use a greater reservoir of new forms referring to tradition than ever before. The design produced by Vladimir Semyonov and Sergej Tchernysev opened a new chapter in the history of Russian urban planning.23 It presumed that Moscow with its population of two million would soon have five million residents.24 In terms of structure, it disregarded constructivist ideas including radical projects from the 1920s, and reinstated many elements of urban planning from the tsarist era, combining them with numerous modernist solutions regarding transport and new methods of locating blocks. Already at the beginning of the 20th century Semyonov was one of the first Russian promoters of the idea of garden city.25 In the 1930s he suggested that Moscow should be surrounded by a ring of greenery, and new districts should appear behind it. In his project he also formulated a set of rules which gave shape to socialist realist urban planning, e.g. they consistently featured wide boulevards running for several kilometres, which made communication easier, and separated districts. Moscow was to be circled by a few new ring roads connected to the centre by broad arteries.

The bricklayers rest during construction on the first floor of the building. Between them, at the level of the pavement, a beer booth is visible.

The plan abandoned the principle of linear city, and referred to classical solutions of Russian urban planning. A similar approach had been adopted before in Magnitogorsk, a new steelworks city meant to be one of the most important examples of industrialisation and the related new wave of urbanisation to prevail in the Soviet Union. Initially, a linear city running along the railway was planned. Political changes that happened in the country in the early 1930s resulted in the bold vision being dropped, and replaced by one relating to the layout of Sankt Petersburg developed since the 18th century. In this design, streets which radiated from the central square were unite, and to create a structure connecting particular residential estates. Classic reminiscences were accompanied by numerous new solutions, which were tested a the same time in cities across Western Europe, and the USA.

A perspective from a height on the infrastructure of the combine.

The plan for Moscow elevated the ideas to a higher level, multiplied then, and turned into a rule governing the development of the country’s capital. It presumed new means of transport, mostly the first metro line (1930-1935), and a channel uniting Moscow with the Volga, the main route for shipping raw materials and goods between the south and the north of the European Russia. A change of approach to spatial divisions was a significant component of the plan. Instead of traditional blocks with tenement houses and annexes, ca. 100×150 m, much bigger units were designed, large quarters of an area five or even ten times bigger. A block with high buildings providing its contour was supposed to form a self-efficient unity, with greenery and service, e.g. schools, surgeries, and shops, in the middle. The idea brought to mind the concept of neighbourhood unit, the urban concept devised in in the USA, the 1920s, by Clarence Perry.26 The form, however, was different, more monumental, and extremely ornamental. The vision also included large majestic buildings serving a variety of functions, both residential and public. One of the first new type multi-family buildings in Moscow was a self-efficient giant, the so-called House on the Embankment designed by Boris Iofan, reminiscent of some apartment buildings in the biggest cities in the US. The stone elevation and historicising decorations were similar. But the message conveyed by the ornaments and significant plastic aspects was different.27

67/5000 Rear shot of children walking along a park alley with a baby elephant.

Ideas introduced to Soviet construction for good with the urban plan for Moscow in the following years, found a reflection in the architecture and urban planning of other important cities, e.g. Minsk or Kiev, before the outbreak of the Second World War. Before 1941, individual public building were erected in this way, or first projects of new residential estates were started. This is extremely well demonstrated by the work of Josef Langbard,28 an architect who designed several large pubic buildings constructed in Minsk in the 1930s, e.g. the Government Building finished in 1934, the Byelorussian Theatre of Opera and Ballet in 1935-1938, or the Byelorussian Academy of Science, built one year later.29

The attack on the Soviet Union launched by the Third Reich in 1941, and the destruction of many cities in the western part of the state meant that after the war, when reconstruction works began, Russian urban planners and architects were faced with the task of radically remodelling large urban centres. The bombing of Minsk on 24th June wiped out even 85% of the buildings.30 What had been a provincial town before the war became a regional metropolis full of monumental socialist realist architecture. In terms of integrity and impetus, the centre of Minsk counts among the most interesting examples of the trend. It should be stressed that, unlike in Warsaw as it was stated before, the reconstruction of the historical sectors was not a priority. What was important was the demonstration of Soviet planners’ ambition to build major cities. Centres of reconstructed cities were to inspire awe. Apart from the central sector of Minsk, this is very well exemplified by Khreshchatyk in Kiev. Already in 1944, soon after liberating the city from German rule, an urban planning contest was held, won by Aleksey Tacyi. Eventually, his drawings as well as those by other contestants were partially used in designs supervised by Aleksandr Vlasov, and carried out by Anatoliy Dobrowolski, Viktor Yelizarov and Malinowski, amongst others.31 The post-war reconstruction of Ukraine’s capital enabled the centre of the city to be organised around a homogenous and architecturally monumental complex. Aside from Khreshchatyk, adjoining Maidan Nezalezhnosti with identical buildings flanking the exits of several radiating roads deserves attention. Counterbalance and closure for this arrangement is provided by the monument building of Hotel Ukraine, situated at the opposite side. Completed in 1961, it constituted the final elements of the whole project.32

The man in the coat stands in front of the monumental entrance to the building.

Minsk and Kiev are only two spectacular examples of Soviet urban planning in the Stalin era. In those days, socialist realism affected to some degree most big cities of the empire. In Baltic states it was to lay a strong emphasis on the return of rebellious republics to the home country. Soon after the war, the new concept was adopted in Vilnius when new monumental buildings were constructed on the embankment of the Viliya. The city suffering from stagnation in the days of the Second Polish Republic, with few huge investments, became the capital city of Lithuania once again. Its Soviet character was stressed an extensive reconstruction of the rims of the very centre.33 Similar urban and architectural methods can be found in Riga with its typical Stalin-era high-rise building erected in the 1950s, and in Tallinn. Industrial schemes were developed after the war in each of those places, and, if necessary, reconstruction projects were launched.

Young people dressed in uniforms march forward, holding flags in their hands.


The story of the Estonian port of Sillamäe seems particularly interesting; it was heavily destroyed when the Nazis were withdrawing in 1944, and rebuilt later on as a model industrial city.34 There was a factory processing uranium ores there right after the war. With a population of 10,000 the town was rather small, but its urban layout was monumental with its central road running towards the sea. The development has characteristic classicistic divisions combined with details echoing local folklore.

Top view of the foundation reinforcement.

Modern and National

The biggest urban development in the Soviet Union was endlessly expanding Moscow. Having suffered from destruction brought about by war, soon after its end the metropolis saw implementation of many visionary projects devised one decade earlier. That was when the first high-rise buildings were constructed in Moscow. When plans for Moscow were being drawn in 1934, a competition for the Palace of the Soviets was staged; the orthodox Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, demolished at the beginning of the decade, was to be replaced by the biggest building in the world. The winner of the competition Boris Iofan, educated in Rome before the First World War, came up with a design of a more than 400m high structure, a tower of increasing setbacks and monumental articulation, with a gigantic statue of Vladimir Lenin on top. The onset of the war precluded the construction of what was to be the highest building in the world.35

Top view of a series of transport steam locomotives.
Top view of a series of transport steam locomotives.
Top view of a series of transport steam locomotives.
Top view of a series of transport steam locomotives.
Top view of a series of transport steam locomotives.
Top view of a series of transport steam locomotives.

Once the war was over, such plans could at last be implemented. In the early 1950s, the capital of the Soviet Union was given the Seven Sisters, skyscrapers which formed a unique crown around the city. Their characteristic setback-based composition and a spire modelled on the Admiralty building in Sankt Petersburg defines the new standard of city space in the Eastern Bloc.36 The tallest structure in the group was the 241m-high Lomonosov State University, designed by Lev Rudnev, and built in 1949-1953. It was some distance away from the centre of Moscow, on the other bank of the river. The abundance of greenspace around it, and a large forecourt added to the majestic appearance of the building. The context for it was provided by consecutive “Stalin’s sisters,” designed by the most significant architects in the Soviet Union, mostly those whose careers began after the Revolution. Arkady Mordvinov and Vyacheslav Oltarzhevsky created the monumental Hotel Ukraine (1947-1957), Dmitry Chechulin and Andrei Rostkovsky built the Kotelnicheskaya Embankment Building (1947-1952), Alexey Dushkin conceived the so-called Red Gate, the building housing the Ministry of Construction of Heavy Industry (1947-1953), Michael Posohin and Ashot Mndoyants designed the Kudrinskaya Square Building (1950-1954). The building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was designed by Vladimir Gelfreykh and Adolf Minkus (1948-1953), and the Leningradskaya Hotel by Leonid Poljakov (1949-1954)37.

Most of those people belonged to the group of the most influential and award-winning architects from the 1930s; they were involved in designing buildings for the government and armed forces, e.g. Lev Rudnev, the prestigious All-Russia Exhibition Centre (VDNKh), e.g. Vyacheslav Oltarzhevsky, or performed major public functions, e.g. Dmitry Chechulin, the Chief Architect of Moscow after the war. The last also worked on a project for another Stalinist skyscraper supposed to be located where the Palace of the Soviets had been planned in the 1930s.38 Constantly delayed, the construction of the building that was to be the tallest in the world never began.

The perspective of the monumental interior of the restaurant, tables in the background and individual customers.

Similar buildings were to be erected in other important centres of the empire and its satellite states, including Kiev, Riga, Prague, and Warsaw. They were to share a common feature – their decoration was supposed to relate to local culture and the history of a given region. The search for a national style has been present in European architecture since romanticism. In Central and Eastern Europe the question grew important when modern nations were beginning to take shape, community myths were being created, and historical events and heroes meant to evoke pride defined. Socialist realism perfectly fitted local cultural discourses.39 The example of the All-Russia Exhibition Centre (VDNKh), built in the 1930s, seems particularly representative here.40 To house exhibitions pavilions dedicated to particular nations of the Soviet Union were constructed. Their monumental designs were similar, but their decorations differed, allegedly originating in local culture or its interpretation made by Russian ethnographers and historians. The Ukrainian Pavilion was dominated by motifs related to folk art, while the Uzbek one boated ornaments inspired by palaces and mosques of Samarkand or Bukhara. Apparent variegation of these buildings, all in fact similar to one another, strengthened the imperial nature of the development by demonstrating that the first communist state in the world is consistent with a universal idea able to contain all nations and cultures.

Delagats in coats visit the factory hall.

When the Second World War was over, and the reconstruction and expansion of towns and cities began in the Eastern Bloc, the ideas of Soviet urban planning and architecture became even more powerful affecting numerous vast developments which were very distant from one another in geographical and cultural terms. In these new contexts and places, socialist realism also played the role of a link between local culture and the idea coming from the centre of the empire. In Czechoslovakian architecture and culture, the new trend appropriated some forms of the Czech Renaissance. Many constructions of the 1950s echo the sgraffiti and characteristic cornice of the Szwarcenberg Palace, built in the 16th century in Hradčany, e.g. the monumental gateway to the residential compound of Poruba, built in 1952-1954 in Ostrava to a design by Evžen Šteflíček.41 The estate is made up of similar and rather inconspicuous residential buildings. They provide a background for the semi-circular landmark complex of buildings and the entrance to the estate.

A group of children between the head of the bus and the cistern in front of it.

It is noteworthy that the idea of creating a palace for the people is evident in many urban projects of socialist realism. Already from the days of Saint-Simon and the idea of phalanstère devised by Charles Fourier, the ideal living environment for workers was associated with an independent development surrounded by greenery, with many elements bringing to mind Baroque palaces. The Poruba Gate is perfect exemplification of this principle, the idea of a palace made by Czechoslovakia for its citizens with technological support from the Soviet Union. Not far from Ostrava, there is another instance of this type of historical search – the mining town of Havířov. The landmark feature of this industrial district is the cultural centre. The sgraffito decorations and the cornice are more references to the Renaissance style of Hradčany.42 The architecture of the town which was built near Cieszyn – a town cut through by the border – is different from Silesian historical buildings, but the intention behind it was to emphasise Czechoslovakia’s entitlement to those regions.

Top view of the ditches for the foundations of the block, finished residential buildings in the background.

In Hungarian culture and architecture socialist realism played a still different role: it was supposed to promote rejection of the Habsburg legacy. Unlike Czechoslovakia, Hungary suffered heavily during the war which also caused widespread damage to numerous cities, including Budapest. The aesthetics of socialist realism left a mark on reconstruction works which soon abandoned modernist models. In the process of rebuilding the Royal Palace in Buda, neo-baroque ornaments from the days of Franz Joseph I were replaced with new classicistic details relating to the era of progress enjoyed by Hungary after the Napoleonic Wars. The Enlightenment-based history of the country, associated in architectural terms with the cathedral in Esztergom or Eger, was rendered amongst others into the shape of the palace dome (1961). The author of the project, Lajos Hidasi decidedly departed from the previous form. Similar solutions can be found in other parts of the palace, reconstructed to a design by László Gerő.43 The new style served as a scalpel giving form to a new collective identity.

It could also be a useful tool for erasing what was shameful or difficult, shifting the political failure of both world wars into oblivion, and promoted creation of a new progressive narrative of the past of the Hungarian nation in which the Habsburgs stood was humiliation and trauma. Already at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries Hungarian territories were fairly well urbanised. Soon after the Second World War, the pressure to develop new urban centres was not very strong here. In this context Sztálinváros was an exception, a new town which, similarly to Nowa Huta or expanded Ostrava, was to become the new steel core of the now communist state. The construction of Sztálinváros (renamed as Dunaújváros in 1961) commenced in 1950, and it only took six years to build a steelmaking combine and an urban development for more than 25,000 residents.44

Several men in coats are standing by the wall of the monumental building, more are walking in front of it, bricks in the foreground.

The urban agenda for the new city was drawn up by a group headed by Tibor Weiner. Its shape was clearly inspired by ideas adopted in the Soviet Union. In the central part of the district there is a broad boulevard with vast quarters of buildings running along it. The architecture of Dunaújváros is dominated by monumental sctructures accentuated with classicistic decorations. They are consistent aesthetically with methods adopted in the process of reconstruction of historical buildings in Budapest. The city was meant to be the perfect embodiment of new progressive Hungary.

A man in the middle of a factory hall where the sun shines through fireflies.

A similar intention can be found behind the architecture of East Germany where the monumental nature of socialist realism veiled the overwhelming buildings erected in the Third Reich. In this outmost sector of the empire the new style was seen as an instrument of direct confrontation with the West.45 Began in the early 1950s, the reconstruction of the eastern side of Berlin was supposed to be evidence of the fact that Germany could only be rebuilt and its society liberated from Nazism by means of collaboration with the progressive forces of the nations of the Soviet Union. 

Built to a design made by Hermann Henselmann’s team the Stalinallee complex in Berlin reflected the monumental urban complexes of Moscow, while applied decorations alluded to Prussian classicism.46 Similar aesthetic solutions were adopted in the German city dedicated to Stalin – Stalinstadt, built in the 1950s on the Oder, by the mouth of the channel connecting the river with the Spree and Berlin. In the de-Stalinisation period of the following decade its name was changed to Eisenhüttenstadt. Just like Poruba in Ostrava, Sztálinváros, and Nowa Huta, the new German city was created within the framework of steel industry development in East Germany. When the new German state was established in the Soviet occupational zone, it suffered for a long time from shortages caused by insufficient industrial and food production. Before and during the war, a lot of goods was transported from other parts of the country, including coal and steel which came from the Ruhr or Silesia. The new state of affairs resulted in these two regions being incorporated into other states; new foundations of East German economy needed to be invented, and constructed from scratch. Eisenhüttenstadt was to solve this problem as the key heavy industry centre in the German Democratic Republic, ensuring its economic independence.

A view from a height of a meadow cut by pavements with benches.
Wzdłuż chodnika przy bloku mieszkalnym w szeregu maszeruje wycieczka szkolna.

The steelmaking combine provided the reason for building the city designed by a team led by Kurt Walter Leucht. It was yet another city following the models used before in the Soviet Union.47 It once again featured vast quarters, surrounded by long blocks. In a city situated not that far away from Berlin, architectural designs displayed references to Prussian classicism. Like in Hungary, the period after the Napoleonic Wars, associated with abolishment of the feudal system, cultural, scientific, and economic development in Prussia, was to constitute a secure point of reference for the creation of a new identity of communist East Germany.

View of the excavated road in the perspective of which residential buildings are visible.

In the debate on the national aspect of German socialist realism it tended to be stressed that Germany became a state very late, and that the union resulted in the horror of two world wars; new buildings in East Germany were constructed with the aim to highlight the differences between particular regions. While in Berlin socialist realism evoked the times of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Rostock on the Baltic Sea recalled late medieval tradition of Hanseatic cities.48 The development of the latter was related to the fact that all big German ports were outside of the German Democratic Republic and this kind of infrastructure required investing. Designed by Paul Schmitthenner and his team, and built in the 1950s, the monumental buildings along Lange Street mostly refer to Gothic tradition, and feature brick elevations.

The family uses a simple harvester to collect hay from the meadow onto a cart drawn by a horse. In the background, a chimney and factory buildings.

Unlike in Germany, in Poland, which had been shifted westwards, socialist realism was meant to build a unity of regions and places that – like Szczecin or Rzeszów – had once belonged to different countries. In Szczecin, unlike in nearby Rostock, it was not the days of the Hanseatic League that socialist realism was supposed to be based on, but the homogenous character of Polish architecture of the time, or the Renaissance – e.g. the Ducal Castle reconstructed to the design by Stanisław Latour, and local rulers of the House of Griffins, forcefully incorporated into Polish history.49

A view of the excavated street, monumental residential buildings in the background.

The Warsaw Dream

The political context of construction in the discussed period found its reflection in numerous developments in Poland. The biggest and most important of them is the centre of Warsaw; soon after the reconstruction of historical fragments of the city, new districts were built around them. There was a heated debate in the years immediately after the war devoted to the methodology of reconstructing Warsaw. One of the earliest projects, devised by Maciej Nowicki, reveals its author’s fascination with modernist ideas. His designs show Warsaw as a city of modernist tower blocks, and bold innovatory constructions.50 Political changes that occurred after the war soon rendered this sort of vision unimplementable.

The Warsaw Reconstruction Office, a major state company accountable for the reconstruction scheme for the capital city, decided to rebuilt the basic layout of previous urban composition while transforming the scale of buildings.51 The head of the Office was Roman Piotrowski, before the war a modernist linked to the housing cooperative Waszawska Spółdzielnia Mieszkaniowa. When the war over, his political and connections at the highest level of state hierarchy he was entrusted with the task of carrying out the biggest ever urban project in Poland.52 His team featured young people who had just embarked on their careers before the war. Józef Sigalin, Jan Knothe, Zygmunt Stępiński, Stanisław Jankowski were the key figures in the grand urban operation of reconstructing the capital. Supervised by Piotrowski, they prepared a scheme that was implemented from 1947 on. The metropolitan district nearby the intersection of Aleje Jerozolimskie and Marszałkowska Street represented its core. Aside from a new train station and road junction, the plan also included construction of the first high-rose buildings in Poland in this section of the city.53

Top view over buildings plunged in fog through the construction crane structure.

This vision was meant to become reality within several years. For the generation they came from modernism constituted the obvious point of reference, functional architecture fulfilling human needs. They saw the nineteenth-century buildings found in Warsaw before the war as a great urban mistake. Piotrowski’s collaborators were in with a chance of correcting what they believed a historical error, and a product of capitalist economic relations. The introduction of the doctrine of socialist realism into Polish architecture in 1949 rectified their ideas.54 Back in 1947, as architectural contests for some buildings in Warsaw were run, modernist aesthetics – usually bold and radical in form, played a significant role. However, few designs were eventually put into practice. An exceptional indication of what Warsaw could have looked like had socialist realism not triumphed, is the department store Dom Towarowy “Smyk,” built from 1948-1951 in Aleje Jerozolimskie to a modernist design by Zbigniew Ihnatowicz and Jerzy Romański.55 Resting on reinforced concrete poles, the structure with its oval sides and glazed elevations is crowned with terrace and receding uppermost storey.

A shot against the light shows bricklayers putting up a building wall.

The buildings, the construction of which started before the new doctrine became valid, was distinctly different from the buildings that grew around later on. The political changes that came in December 1948 related to the establishment of the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR), and the introduction of socialist realism doctrine to Polish culture in the following months, meant that a series of big enterprises carried out in the centre of Warsaw was evidently affected by this aesthetics. In the process of reconstruction of the Old and New Town the aim was to recreate age-old architectural forms, while in the city centre with buildings dating mainly from the second half of the 19th century or later, it was decided that the contours of demolished quarters should be retained, but the scale enlarged. New buildings in the centre tended to be taller than the ones they replaced. Their decorations were homogenous, and elevations harmoniously composed. Annexes, substandard housing with no access to light or fresh air typical of the 19th century, were abandoned.

The women sit in a row under the hair dryers.

In a prestigious photo book dedicated to the Marszałkowska Dzielnica Mieszkaniowa estate, published in 1955 to celebrate the completion of the construction of this development two urban plans for Warsaw – pre- and post-war – were presented.56 The original ones shows a striking density of buildings on the outline of quarters, then filled in with annexes. The later one contains a surprising number of empty spaces within the blocks, offering residents the possibility of staying in touch with nature, and leaving enough room for creation of social infrastructure, such as schools or surgeries. Aside from the brutal political context that surrounded its emergence, the socialist realist reconstruction of Warsaw improved the quality of public space in the city.

The women sit in a row under the hair dryers.

The quality of new architecture was high here. In the first half of the 1950s, the team at the Warsaw Reconstruction Office effected construction of many housing compounds in the centre of Warsaw of high architectural standards and unique ornamentation. The spatial arrangement of the MDM estate with vast Plac Konstytucji taking up the southern sector of the centre is among the most important. As Marszałkowska Street extended the development was completed with the buildings in Plac Zbawiciela. Interestingly, different compounds were different in character. On the MDM estate or in Plac Zbawiciela classic motifs are dominating, white baroque elements were applied in nearby Aleja Wyzwolenia, including gambrel rooves.57 Mariensztat (1948-1949), a district situated not far from the Old Town, has Renaissance decorations.58

Top view of the square filled with prefabricated panels.

Contrary to popular belief, socialist realism in architecture is not monotonous, and its variegation occurs at several levels. Already the urban design of the time can be surprising. And so can architecture with its very rich and variegated detail. Designs for housing compounds in the central part of Warsaw were of the highest architectural quality, and of a scale that was exceptional in Poland. It was here, too, that large public buildings were constructed to house ministries and other central offices, which put an even greater emphasis on the monumental nature of new architecture, and formed a basically coherent unity with new residential estates. The ultimate appearance of this fraction of the city was influenced by several spectacular structures.

A group of tourists is examining the tapestries on the walls of a spacious room.

The most important of them, a category by itself, is the Palace of Culture and Science. Devised by Lev Rudnev and his team, it changed the panorama of the city for ever.59 Apart from its political character, the modernising dimension of the structure needs to be stressed. Such large and tall buildings had never been built in Poland before. Even the biggest structures in terms of volume from the interwar period such as, for instance, the Voivodeship Office or the Silesian Parliament in Katowice were incomparable smaller than the Palace in Warsaw. Its construction required many innovatory technological solutions; the height of cranes was unprecedented, the scale of the mechanical ventilation system was massive, and high-speed lifts had never been installed before. The Palace provided a strong impulse towards construction on a different scale, taking advantage of new technologies. Its reception, however, was affected by the rich and interesting, though politically direct, decorations. The attitude of many Poles to the Palace of Culture and Science was largely connected with their attitude to the system. On the one hand, it was undeniably overwhelming in terms of scale and technology, on the other its ideological character provoke aversion. The ambivalence was increased by its function; the building houses numerous institutions and organisation of social importance, dedicated to culture, education, or sport. From this perspective, the critical reception of the building did not exclude acceptance, and inclusion of the Palace into the mental map of Warsaw rebuilt from ruins.60

Parents with children in front of an unplastered apartment block.

The dissonance and emotions triggered by the building meant that other structures constructed in that period in the same political spirit failed to spark off such reactions, and remained to some degree in its shadow. There are several such objects in the centre of Warsaw. The Ministry of Finance in Świętokrzyska Street is a most interesting example of a socialist realist monument. Built in 1950-1956 to a design by Stanisław Bieńkuński and Stanisław Rychłowski, it is one of the largest public buildings in the capital.61 Due to its composition the scale does not make it stand out, but rather merge into the cityscape. The longitudinal building was situated transversely to the street, with its main elevation moved backwards and two side guardhouses in front of it, surrounding the large square. Moving the elevation backwards weakens the impression of vastness, while highlighting the majestic nature of the composition. Its baroque and palace-like nature strengthens the axis running to the other side of Świętokrzyska Street. Here, along Kubusia Puchatka Street, a rather small housing compound was built with a characteristic building with dominating Town Hall Tower.62

A shot of a snow-covered pavement where children are dragging a sledge.

The entire complex may call up associations with baroque palace complexes, magnates’ mansions like the palaces in Białystok or Wilanów, modelled upon the Versailles. Numerous buildings of this type were built at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries in Warsaw. The urban planning of a feudal latifundium provided a model for an important institution in a state on its way to communism. The paradox of this symbolism is another layer at which the meaning of socialist realism urban planning and architecture in Poland should be read. At the other end of the city centre, Śródmieście, in Wspólna Street, there is another socialist realist building constructed for state administration – the Ministry of Agriculture.63 Designed by Jerzy Grabowski, Stanisław Jankowski and Jan Knothe, it was built from 1951 to 1955; its longitudinal composition constitutes the frontage facing the street. The key element here is the openwork colonnade positioned above the ground floor in the central part of the elevation. It gives the object a monumental character, and demonstrates a very different approach to the composition of a public building.

View of the plant's smokestack chimneys.

Some of the big and symbolic socialist realist buildings in Warsaw display surprisingly numerous references to modernist forms. Located in Aleje Jerozolimskie, the edifice that housed the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party was designed by three Warsaw-based architects: Wacław Kłyszewski, Jerzy Mokrzyński and Eugeniusz Wierzbicki.64 They had created their first projects, which showed fascination with modernity, before the war, and the new conditions and aesthetics of the post-war world proved a favourable environment. Nevertheless, their plans adopted many elements typical of modernism. In the 1947 contest for the Central Committee, the threesome submitted a square plan with two sides elevated, and resting on poles above the ground. Windows in the whole building – the side facing street, and the one facing the courtyard – had identical shapes, fitted in elevation of white stone. Had it not been for the stone in which many subtle decorations were executed, the building would not be much different from most office buildings built at the time across Europe.65

View from height to pedestrian traffic on the city square.

The three architects who designed the Central Committee met at the Warsaw Reconstruction Office, and that is where there cooperation started. They were also associated with the university, collaborating with Bohdan Pniewski, one of the most important architects in pre-war Warsaw, and Poland.66 Connected with the Sanation movement in the 1930s, the architect established close contact with many representatives of the new communist authorities.67 As a result, he was able to receive numerous prestigious commissions. It was Pniewski who took up the challenge of constructing the Grand Theatre–National Opera, one of the biggest buildings of the type across the globe. The remains of the historical building erected by Antonio Corazzi in the first halt of the 19th century provided the entrance to the new much bigger structure. The design, which won the competition in 1951, was revised several times, and the construction that began two years later continued until 1965. Pniewski and his team chose the classicistic style for the theatre, akin to the original building.68 Because of its dimensions and technological sophistication, similarly to the Palace of Culture and Science, the building represented a unique encounter of socialist realist historicism and modernity.

View from height to pedestrian traffic on the city square.

The relationship was even more evident in an earlier project of the architect, the reconstruction of the Sejm building, carried out in 1948-1952. Aside from recreating the pre-war Session Hall of the Polish Parliament, Pniewski considerably expanded the office section of the building.69 His design departed from symmetry or a monumental entrance hall. The vestibule is accessible from the street running between two longitudinal pavilions housing offices. They are connected by three corridors on the first floor. This kind of spatial composition in a public building may bring to mind the Bauhaus building in Dessau, with a corridor as one of its crucial elements. In the building constructed in Warsaw twenty-five years later, a similar solution was put side by side with rich historicising decoration. Instead of concrete, steel, and glass, Pniewski used white stone, and Roman grotesques. His interior design is particular intriguing with elegant and discrete details drawing boldly from the past.

View from height to pedestrian traffic on the city square.

The Sejm was designed by a pre-war modernist who decided to collaborate, and was able to do that, with the communist authorities in Poland. At the same time, several other architects were working Warsaw who had influenced the appearance of the city and Polish architecture before 1939. In the post-war period, Bohdan Lachert and Stanisław Brukalski, known previously for uncompromising and avant-garde designs, were behind the construction of one of the biggest socialist realist residential estates in Warsaw, in Muranów where the ghetto was located during the war.70

View from height to pedestrian traffic on the city square.

The architects involved in the reconstruction of Warsaw, and creating buildings in the style of socialist realism came from different generations. What they shared was not only the workplace, but also the experience they gained while studying at the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw Polytechnic.71 Before the war, this progressive school had become the main nursery of designers at home, and kept promoting modernist ideas for years. The need to return to classical forms, historical decorations, or erecting monumental structures, ran counter to their earlier professional practices. At the same time, they wished like so many other people to take part in rebuilding the country, its infrastructure, and hinterland. This extremely complex situation combined with huge challenges that they faced resulted in a variety of formal and architectural solutions adopted in their designs. Socialist realism was meant to be homogenous, but it was in fact variegated, marked by explorations and experiences of very diverse creators, many of whom were totally divorced from the political system introduced in Poland after the war in terms of political beliefs, and life stories. In many cases, the necessity to use the language of socialist realism provoked resistance, and led to personal trauma. Yet they had to comply with it, if they wanted to keep designing and rebuilding the state, socialist realism was the only available way to do that.

A night perspective of the street, photographed from the center of tram tracks, with apartment blocks on the sides.

A notable example is the story of Oskar Hansen, who enrolled in the Polytechnic right after the war. In 1948, he left for Paris, where he continued his education and worked in Le Corbusier’s studio. When he returned to Poland two years later, he found it difficult to accommodate to the new aesthetic doctrine introduced while he had been away. In 1952, his modernist design prepared for the contest for the new townhall in Nowy Świat Street in Warsaw as greeted with outrage. The young architect was forced to defend his work and approach before peer tribunal. He eventually obtained a position at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw.72 The number of similar dramatic stories involving Polish designers remains unknown.

The perspective of a block of flats, tall chimneys in the background. Shot made of height.

At the Foot of the Wawel Hill

Some architects managed to find their own way at the time, and left a unique mark in the space of Polish cities and towns; one of them was Tadeusz Ptaszycki from the Warsaw circles. A promising athlete before the war, he graduated in 1936 and founded an architecture studio together with his wife Anna in Warsaw.73 By 1939, he was recognisable in the construction sector in the capital. After the war, which he spent in prison-of-war camps, Ptaszycki arrived in Wrocław where he managed the first stage of reconstruction of the city, and participated in the organisation of the Recovered Territories Exhibition in 1948.74 His career as architecture speeded up thanks to his friend Marian Spychalski, a left-wing architect before the war, and one of the main figures of the Gwardia Ludowa [People’s Guard] from the war on, a member of the State National Council, and later the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party.75 After the war ended, Spychalski became the head of the city council, and supervised the foundation and activity of the Warsaw Reconstruction Office. Until the autumn of 1949 when he was accused of right-wing and nationalist inclinations, he was amongst the most important figures in the state, and could directly affect decisions related to the reconstruction of the capital. In 1949, he served as the Reconstruction Minister for a few months, and then as the Construction Minister. Before he was arrested, and fell victim to Stalin’s purge, Marian Spychalski had profound influence on how the reconstruction was carried out, on the development of architecture and urban planning in the whole country. It was in the discussed period that final decisions were taken, and preparations for the construction of a new district in Kraków made – the district of Nowa Huta.

View of the plant's smokestack chimneys.

One of the legends about the beginnings of Nowa Huta was it that Marian Spychalski who came up with the idea that Tadeusz Ptaszycki should be sent to Kraków on a mission involving forming a team of designers, and get down to building a model socialist city. Nowa Huta was to act as a support area for the new steelmaking combine, the biggest plant of this type built in post-war Poland. Lack of steel was the Achilles heel of Polish industry and economy before the outbreak of the Second World War. After the war, the defeat of Polish armed forced in the 1939 September Campaign was blamed on the unavailability of steel. After 1945, as the Cold War began, and Poland entered into in a military alliance with the Soviet Union, mass production of steel became a necessity. Technological support was offered by the USSR within the framework of fraternal assistance; the Soviet Union received help from the United States during the war, which included both military equipment, and data covering whole technological processes.76 In such indirect way, technologies exploited in the US in the interval between the two world wars became the driving force behind industry in communist Poland, as well as in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and East Germany.

Top view of steam locomotive.

The new steelworks was initially to produce circa 1.5 million tons of steel per year.77 Compared with the Czechoslovakian, Hungarian, or German places mentioned before, Nowa Huta was different in terms of scale.78 The new factory also required accommodation for almost 100,000 new residents. At the beginning of the 20th century, Kraków had a small area of 5.5 square kilometres, and its population amounted to nearly 100,000 people.79 Expanding its boundaries from 1910 to 1915, and rapid population growth in the interwar period resulted in more than 250,000 people living in the city in the final years before the war.80 Despite the extermination which claimed the lives of almost the quarter of Kraków’s pre-war population, mainly Jews, the number of residents began to grow fast even before the end of the war, amounting to 300,000. Academic traditions were still strong in Kraków, and the pre-war social fabric had largely remained intact. This peculiar resistance of the city to drastic changes, including the reality in which everything around atrophied, was eventually one of the reasons why Kraków was subjected to the great industrial experiment.

Visible the first storey of the building made of prefabricated panels, construction cranes around.

For the new authorities, Kraków was a risky and dangerous city, as the 1946 referendum demonstrated, revealing hostility or at least untruthfulness of its residents towards the system established by communists.81 When a location was sought for one of the largest and most prestigious industrial enterprises in communist Poland, the outskirts of Kraków were chosen. Dozens of new residents, mostly from overpopulated and backward mountainous regions, came to live in the new district. They were to set the model of new man, the representative of the new world, and to change “bourgeois” and “clerical” Kraków for ever.82 At first, several locations were taken into account, but it was finally the terrain between Mogiła and Branice – two villages near Kraków, dating from the Middle Ages, situated on the left bank of the river, about ten kilometres from the city centre, that was selected. The area, which had been providing Kraków with agricultural products, mostly fruit and vegetables, for ages, was to undergo total transformation, firstly turning into a giant construction site, and then into the steelworks. From the beginning, there was also a large railway junction allowing coal from Upper Silesia, and iron ores from Kryvyi Rih in Ukraine to reach the combine.83

A crowd of people relaxing by the pool, in the background someone jumps into the water from a low springboard.

We Are Building A New City

The construction of the combine was supervised by Soviet experts, while building the city and connecting it to Kraków was a task delegated to local designers. In 1949, the Workers’ Estate Office was established in Kraków, a state company that transformed afterwards into the biggest architecture studio in the city. The new state company was eventually called “Miastoprojekt,” and Tadeusz Ptaszycki appointed as its director. The charismatic architect, who was forty at the time, enjoyed fame as a co-author behind the success of the Recovered Territories Exhibition, and the reconstruction of Wrocław. He was also received support from Marian Spychalski. In a short time, he managed to form a large team of mostly very young architects. There were a few veterans, e.g. Fryderyk Tadanier, who had been active in Kraków before the war.84 Most of them were recent graduates from the new Faculty of Architecture, founded in 1945 in the Academy of Mining. There were only two schools educating architects in Poland before the war, in Warsaw and Lviv. The shifting of borders that happened after the war, as well as the critical need for reconstruction resulted in the emergence of several new architecture schools when WWII was over. The one in Kraków was founded on the initiative of Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz, one of the most important figures in architecture in Kraków and the while country, a long-time conservation officer at Wawel.85 In the interwar period, he built numerous public buildings in Kraków, many of which bore heavy symbolic load. After the war, the school constituted his last grand work. More than 300 people enrolled in the first year. They were mostly students who had began to study in Lviv or in other construction colleges before or during the war. Now they could finally finish their studies, and take part in the reconstruction. 

A crowd of people relaxing by the pool, in the background someone jumps into the water from a low springboard.

Many of these first students were the future builders of Nowa Huta, including Zbigniew Salawa, Bolesław Skrzybalski, Adam Fołtyn, Tadeusz Rembiesa, Janina Lenczewska, Tadeusz Janowski, and Andrzej Uniejewski. Among those who began to study during the occupation at the Lviv school were Janusz and Marta Ingarden, and Stanisław Juchnowicz.86 They were the ones – led by Tadeusz Ptaszycki – who took up the challenge of designing the city. The first section of Nowa Huta was built on the western side of the combine, north of the village of Mogiła. A spot several hundred metres away from the village cemetery was chosen to be the first market square of Nowa Huta – Plac Pocztowy. It was here, on 23rd June 1949, that the first buildings were constructed, today within the Wanda estate.

Row of benches along the pedestrian passage by the strett, block of flats in the background.

The original compound was fairly small, with two-storey blocks with high tiled rooves. A majority of these buildings has two staircases, each leading to three flats on every floor. There are no balconies here, the decoration is modest, reduced to cornices. This type of building was designed soon after the war by Warsaw-based architect Franciszek Adamski, and was used in many places across the state during reconstruction.87 Its construction and technology was very simple, even primitive, but it had one important virtue: it could be built anywhere, in every environment, using basic materials. After the war, the problem faced by construction industry in Poland and other European countries were deficiencies in steel. This state of affairs would be changed once the combine in Kraków began production. Increasing availability of this material would gradually transform the image of Nowa Huta. Consecutive estates constructed in the district represented ever higher levels of technological advancement, resulting from applying prefabrication techniques. Prefabricated lintels were used first, then prefabricated ceilings. The elements of this kind were becoming greater and heavier, requiring cranes, concrete mixers, and other machines on construction sites. Nowa Huta was a training ground for new technological changes occurring in Polish construction after the war.

48/5000 The motorcyclist drives into a mud ditch with onlookers in the background.

An analysis of Nowa Huta’s development in terms of technological sophistication shows yet another aspect of socialist realism, an architectural trend that frequently used monumentalism and decoration to mask the lack of modern technical solutions and building materials. The new district of Kraków uncovers the process of changes happening in this regard in post-war Poland. The oldest parts of Nowa Huta, the Willowe and Wandy estates in the east, are made up chiefly of buildings designed by Franciszek Adamski.

A group of people in everyday clothes is building a brick wall on the ground floor level.
Perspektywa plątaniny torów kolejowych prowadzących do hali fabrycznej.

Newer parts of the development represent a different standard. Buildings constructed after 1951 along today’s Aleja Solidarności as part of the Stalowe or Szkolne estate are much higher, up to seven floors.88 They have distinct quoins and rich decoration, including cornices, bossages, and pilasters. Buildings were arranged as closed compounds, entered through ornamental gateways reminiscent of Renaissance architecture. In the period in question flat roofs began to be used.89 Prefabricated elements of reinforced concrete speeded up the process of construction, while decreasing the amount of wood which was also hardly available.

65/5000 Pedestrian and motorbike traffic on the street, low blocks on both sides.

Supplementary buildings, including schools and nurseries, appeared within the compounds, in courtyards. They tended to have one or two floors, and were similar in form to surrounding buildings. Small towers reaching one metre above the ground were also found in courtyards. They were exits from shelters, always present in basements. In terms of decoration, modern forms were favoured, mostly Renaissance ones. The designers who had studied in Kraków got their education in the exceptional interiors of the Wawel castle. And it was from that place that their knowledge of the 16th-c Polish architecture came from. Some buildings in Nowa Huta have attics, jambs, and other details spotted in the historical houses in Kraków. It should also be stressed that in the early 1950s Polish architectural journals published numerous articles on the history of early modern architecture. This rather winding way allowed discussion of the history of Italian construction and art. Special editions of several classic treatises on architecture were publish, including works by Vitruvius, Palladio, Vignola, and Alberti.90 Polish architects were relatively well prepared for recreating historical forms in new designs.

A night view from the window of the snow-covered yard between the blocks, a figure in a coat in the center.

These skills are perfectly exemplified by the space of Plac Centralny, and the buildings of the estates Centrum A, Centrum B, Centrum C, and Centrum D. In 1950 Tadeusz Ptaszycki’s team decided on the forms of the district. The plan for Nowa Huta referred to the layout of Baroque cities, employed in urban planning of socialist realism. The principle here is that several broad boulevards radiate from a central square, forming a seemingly symmetrical arrangement. Such structures had been known in European urban planning at least from the reconstruction of Rome by Sixtus V in the baroque, and the construction of Piazza del Popolo. The development served as a model for the Versailles a few decades later. The plan of the palace of the King of France provided a reference point for countless residential and urban developments in the baroque. Among the best known and most spectacular of them is the plan of Sankt Petersburg, the point of departure for many urban projects in the Soviet Union, including Magnitogorsk. This last city – a model industrial centre constituted a prototype for consecutive ones, and one of the most faithful realisations of this kind is Nowa Huta.91

A group of riders wearing motorcycle clothing awaits the guidelines of the rally organizers.

The main axis of the development runs from the north to the south. To the south, the district is limited by a historical route connecting Kraków with the village of Mogiła, and continuing along the Vistula to the town of Sandomierz. The road and the axis of the plan is linked by two additional transverse streets, one in the western part heading towards the village of Bieńczyce, and the still operating airport in Czyżyny, while the other in the eastern part led directly to the gate of the combine. South of the development there was empty space adjoining a tall escarpment of the Vistula proglacial valley. Below, there had been breeding ponds belonging to the nearby Cistercian monastery from the Middle Ages, later on turned in pastures. Designs for Nowa Huta presumed covering the meadow with water once more, and the new reservoir would serve as catchment for rainwater from the district, as well as recreational area. West of the reservoir, a stadium and sports centre was to be constructed. One of the development’s landmarks, a monumental theatre, was supposed to be built on the axis, directly by the escarpment. The ground plan of the building was nearly square, with a colonnade and a dome, and was to be connected with the bottom of the escarpment by representative steps. Water would reflect the whole composition. From a greater distance, a reflection of the whole city would be seen.

Top view of the playground in front of the kindergarten building.

Representative space leading to the main junction in Nowa Huta – Plac Centralny – would be situated to the north of the theatre. The theatre, and the surrounding area were never made. What was made was a roundabout, and monumental residential buildings adjoining it. Providing the spectacular scenery of Plac Centralny, the buildings constitute the tallest residential section of Nowa Huta. Designs of those five-storey blocks were drawn up by a team headed by Janusz Ingarden, one of the closest collaborators of Tadeusz Ptaszycki.92 They stood out for their rich neo-Renaissance decorations. Their ground floors were preceded by stone-clad arcades, and the upper floors were receding, and closed with attics. Despite the relatively small scale, the used decorations and characteristic arrangement in four polygonal compounds form a composition of a unambiguously monumental nature. This strong tenor is amplified by the longitudinal space of Aleja Róż, to the north of Plac Centralny, a boulevard constituting the main representative and recreational area in Nowa Huta.

A horse-drawn postal cart goes along the building., passers around.

It was here that Vladimir Lenin’s statue by Marian Konieczny was placed. The symbolic nature of Nowa Huta was related to the leader of the revolution, who had lived in Kraków from 1912 t0 1914 in many ways.93 These two years spend by Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov and Nadezhda Krupskaya on the Vistula resulted in the fact that after 1945 communist symbols in Kraków were linked to him and his life, unlike in other places where they tended to refer to Joseph Stalin. The realist statue of Lenin, created more than twenty years after the construction of the combine and the city started, was one of the last symbols of this kind in Nowa Huta, and in the valley Aleja Róż.94

Rear shot of pedestrians walking along a wide sidewalk.

The long space of the valley represented extension of the axis, and connection between the main junction and the square behind the street on which the town hall was to be located. Along Aleja Róż, there were taller six-storey residential buildings with simplified version of neo-Renaissance decorations typical of Nowa Huta. In the section closing the space to the north, corner buildings had two additional storeys, forming urban wings of sorts, and a closure of the square. Behind this the town hall was planned. In a competition, a design by Tadeusz Janowski inspired by the Town Hall in Zamość won the first prize. A four-storey building with a square ground plan was to be crowned with an attic, and a high tower with a spire.95

A man in work clothes and a beret protrudes in a monumental manner above the prefabricated panels gathered in front of the apartment block.

The terrain behind the town hall was assigned to more estates. These, however, were supposed to get lower, and gradually transform into greenery that would open the whole space. This plan was largely put into practice. In the context or urban progress in Poland where historical events frequently broke its continuity and evolution, Nowa Huta is quite exceptional, a nearly completed project coherently tackling the problem of housing and functioning of a population of almost 100,000. The city would eventually become full of green, and offer relatively high living standards, public space, and ready access to services. In Poland this is a most singular case, one of few exceptions.

53/5000 Pedestrian traffic in front of an unplastered apartment block.

Compared with Other Cities

Aside from Nowa Huta, there was only one other place in Poland where big urban development was successfully made real from scratch. In 1950, construction of a town called Nowe Tychy, north of Katowice, was embarked on.96 The first part of the new town, Osiedle A, was devised by Tadeusz Teodorowicz-Todorowski who came to Upper Silesia from Lviv. One year later, a contest for the next part Osiedle B was won by Kazimierz Wejchert and Hanna Adamczewska-Wejchert, who dedicated the rest of their lives to development of the town. Like Tadeusz Ptaszycki, they had studied at the Warsaw Polytechnic. From that moment on, their lives were connected with Nowe Tychy, and they designed consecutive fragments of the town, which has grown into a city with a population of more than 130,000.

Widok z okna bloku mieszkalnego na ruch uliczny.

The urban planning in Nowe Tychy follows the pattern typical of the period of socialist realism, just like in the case of Nowa Huta. In the oldest part of the city – the estates Osiedle A and Osiedle B built from 1950 to 1959 – there are large quarters, with mostly three or four-storey buildings on along the outlines. Unlike Nowa Huta, or the districts in Warsaw, the development is not unmonumental by design. Smaller buildings and the bending of some of the main streets create an almost intimate impression. This feeling was strengthened by consistent use of hipped roofs. All these methods make the buildings constructed in Nowe Tychy in the 1950s evoke associations with garden cities today, even though there were not original, and related to Soviet urban planning which adapted Clarence Perry’s idea of neighbourhood unit.

Widok z okna bloku mieszkalnego na ruch uliczny.

This is particularly obvious in the Osiedle B estate, and Baczyński square there, the largest public space in the oldest part of Nowe Tychy. No colonnades, dividing some elevations into segments, and replacing a rectangular plan of the square with an irregular trapezium render the place quite unique. In Poland, similarly subtle solutions would be hard to find, and one of the few examples is Mariensztat in Warsaw. The urban planning of socialist realism found expression in a monumental scale, which was partly contrary to the Polish tradition of urban planning which had produced several outstanding developments in the interval between the wars.

Workers carry out the finishing works along the street with shovels.

For the 1950s, it was the period preceding the outbreak of the Second World War that was the most interesting and significant, when Poland launched the most ambitious programme of the Central Industrial Region (COP). Intending to stimulate arms industry, the interbellum Polish state invested from 1937 on in expanding industrial plants in the region stretching between Radom, Przemyśl, and Tarnów. New plants required new towns or districts. This is how such towns and cities as Pionki, Skarżysko-Kamienną, Starachowice, Ostrowiec Świętokrzyski, Kielce, Dębicę, Mielec, Tarnów, or Krosno increased in size.97 Special in this group was Stalowa Wola, a town built from scratch in the fork of two rivers: the Vistula and the San, for the benefit of the first steelworks in Poland. The construction of so-called Southern Workshops in Stalowa Wola began in 1938 and took one year. The steelworks started to operate in June 1939, shortly before the outbreak of the war. At the same time a town was built, inhabited by several thousand people before the war.

Pedestrian traffic on a snowy street, monumental apartment blocks in the background.

The oldest part of Stalowa Wola provides a most intriguing instance of a modern industrial town. Unlike the socialist realist projects discussed above, the design of the town was inspired by Western European models, chiefly German. It was drawn up by young graduates from the Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw Polytechnic, Bronisław Rudziński and Stefania Skibniewska.98 The key components they came up with for Stalowa Wola are broad arteries allowing easy transport, determining regular and spacious quarters, also letting greenery into the city. One and multi-family houses were spaced along these roads. It is modernist two-storey buildings with flat roofs and large windows, erected shortly before the way, that are most interesting. They were positioned at an angle to the streets, rather than along the outlines of quarters which was typical of Soviet urban concepts. Instead of a quarter, we see independent housing units, reflecting ideas, popular at the time, promoted by the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM), the main international environment of urban planners and architects striving towards radical transformation and modernisation of cities.99 The Faculty of Architecture at the Warsaw Polytechnic, since the 1920s fascinated with modernism emerging in Europe, was the key institution for the development of such ideas in Poland. It was thus not incidental that its graduates who took up the challenge of buildings COP towns and cities employed new concepts and methods in constructing housing environment.

A view from above on the roof of a low, long block and several dozen wooden barracks.

The original modernist layout of Stalowa Wola became obscured after the Second World War. The output of the steelworks was increased in the first post-war decade, and the population grew four times, amounting to nearly 20,000. For the extension, Stefania Skibniewska prepared new urban plans, applying ideas typical of socialist realist urban planning. New quarters with characteristic buildings placed along the outline emerged. Behind the modernist buildings in today’s Popiełuszki Street new blocks were placed in transverse position forming small quasi-quarters. New buildings also appeared at the corners of the quarters, and in squares. Stalowa Wola was thus related to other urban projects being implemented at the same time across the country. Like in the case of Nowe Tychy, though for very different reasons, the layout of the town does not seem monumental.

A view of the building barracks from above, in the foreground a pear with concrete hanging from a crane.

Several other urban arrangements of the interwar period were expanded in a similar way. Mościce is a most interesting example; its construction began in the late 1920s to the west of Tarnów. The new compound was built to accompany a new nitrogen plant manufacturing, amongst others, chemical fertilisers of strategic significance for the economy of an agricultural state. The layout of Mościce, with a majority of buildings designed in the studio of Warsaw-based architect Konrad Kłos, was based on the concept of garden city, popular at the time.100 Long multi-storeyed buildings were surrounded by gardens. In the 1950s new buildings were added in Mościce, consistent with urban and architectural models of socialist realism. Along Kasztanowa Street, behind existing buildings, small quasi-quarters emerged after the war with mostly three-storeyed multi-family houses.

Winter view of two wooden construction cranes.

The examples of Stalowa Wola and Mościce demonstrate how interwar urban planning was adapted to new needs. Both towns, as well as Nowe Tychy built after the war, provide an intriguing background for Nowa Huta, highlighting the urban idea behind it. It turned possible to combine monumental main squares, axes, and arteries with particular estates in a scale that was acceptable, and accessible to general public. The strength of this development lies in its diversity, with outstanding public buildings frequently located among smaller ones. In Nowa Huta, we find several very interesting architectural works constructed in the spirit of socialist realism.

A young woman and a man in festive costumes hand over carnations to a policeman who is leaning towards them from the booth.

New Monuments

In 1954, steel production was started. Shortly afterwards a few public objects were completed, the construction of which began in the early 1950s. Two monumental buildings of the Administration Centre of the Lenin Steelworks occupied an essential role in the composition of the district. An architectural contest for them was announced in 1951, and the main prize was won by the team headed by Janusz and Marta Ingarden and Janusz Ballenstedt.101 They designed two buildings of outstanding scale in the next four years, which constituted the gate to the combine. Thousands of workers passed the buildings every day. Both were of square section, and had spacious inner courtyards. Spiral staircases were situated in the corners. And so were small avants-coprs with decorated windows. Articulation and rich ornamentation recalled evoked associations with Renaissance palaces. They were soon nicknamed Doges’ Palaces, an ironic reference to the shape of the seat of authorities in modern Venice. The “Z” building is on the northern side of this exceptional development, and it fulfilled representative function. The “S” buildings was an office block for the technical staff employed in the plant. The buildings were joined by a special underground corridor, which also led to additional headquarters. Neo-Renaissance attics and historicising interiors and furniture by Marian Sigmund merged into a while with the terror of the Cold War.

View of the construction site from above, apartment blocks in the background.

Another public building significant for life in the district was the vast complex of the Stefan Żeromski Hospital. Located by the escarpment on the eastern side of the development, it was the biggest compound of that kind in Kraków when it was built. The hospital had a vast palace-like layout, with a number of medical pavilions placed along a single axis.102 Another problem related to the development of the district was cultural infrastructure. It became particularly urgent after 1954 and the publication of the well-publicised Poem for Adults by Adam Ważyk. Originally committed to the progress of communism, and an advocate of socialist realism, the poet was among the first people in Poland to speak against the system. In the poem, which was published one year after Stalin’s death, he launched an attack on one of the most important symbols of post-war Poland: Nowa Huta. Poem for Adults shed light on violence, prostitution, alcoholism, and dreadful living conditions among the builders of this prestigious construction of the new state.103 In the period in question, numerous people involved in the creation of the district were still living in hostels, frequently overcrowded and below standard. They were waiting to be assigned a flat in one of the new buildings. Before they could move to a new place, they vegetated in barracks; one of the best-known was nicknamed “Mexico.” It was here that Ryszard Kapuściński gathered materials for his first reportages, describing living conditions of the builders of Nowa Huta, interviewing bricklayers, but also prostitutes who worked here.104

Winter view of two wooden construction cranes.

After Stalin’s death, cracks soon appeared on the myth of the ideal city. In an attempt to camouflage them, construction of first cultural buildings was speeded up. On the western side of the district, works on the “Świt” cinema, designed by Andrzej Uniejewski, were finished in 1953. In the new circumstances, a very similar building housing the “Światowid” cinema was erected on the other side, near the escarpment shortly afterwards. Both of square section, vertical articulation, and preceded by a colonnade, they were the first buildings of the kid in the district. They were also the first cinemas in Kraków that were so large, and built from scratch.105 In the period in question, the development of Nowa Huta was taking place to the west of the axis. It was here on the Teatralne estate that the first theatrical building in Nowa Huta emerged. The Teatr Kameralny, eventually renamed as Teatr Ludowy, was designed by Janusz and Marta Ingarden and Jan Dąbrowski. Constructed in 1955, it is the only public building of such standard in the district, and aside from the Administration Centre it is the most interesting example of socialist realism in Kraków.106

57/5000 Workers in working clothes are laying paving slabs.

Within the context of Nowa Huta architecture there several personalities in the circles involved in the construction of the district that deserve closer attention. Bolesław Skrzybalski was Tadeusz Ptaszycki’s right-hand man, and the creator of many buildings. Another major designer accountable for some of the most prestigious structures was Janusz Ingarden. When the construction commenced, he was only twenty-five years old, like many of his colleagues. He was the son of the famous philosopher, one of the crucial interpreters of Martin Heidegger’s thought, and one of the main phenomenologists in Poland. His architectural career began during the Second World War in Lviv. When the city was taken over by Nazis, the technical school in Lviv continued to educate mostly Ukrainian youth, but it also admitted Poles. Janusz Ingarden, his future wide Marta, and Stanisław Juchnowicz were amongst its students after 1941. Having graduated, they moved to Kraków, and from the late 1940s on took part in devising designs for Nowa Huta. Although Janusz Ingarden came from a family that was very far from accepting the new system, he and his wife decided to commit themselves to the reconstruction of the country, and the creation of Nowa Huta.107

40/5000 Night view of the traffic from above.

Many people who witnessed the process of carrying out the project claim that Tadeusz Ptaszycki managed to form a team that worked independently from the political state of affairs, and that included many former soldiers of the Home Army. This kind of account related to Miastoprojekt is given, for instance, by Stanisław Juchnowicz, a member of the team. It was a weakness of architectural research pertaining to Kraków that there has never been a report on the activities of Miastoprojekt during and after the construction of Nowa Huta.108 The archive of the company has been dispersed. We will probably never get a chance of learning about the relations within this large and variegated team. What is surely worth stressing is their enthusiasm that can be sensed in the account we do know, including by those given by people who were there. The sequence of events which affected the Miastoprojekt team after 1956 will also be difficult to determine.

45/5000 Winter view of the square in front of a row of blocks.

The Thaw

Three years after Stalin’s death, his successor Nikita Khrushchev delivered a speech titled On the Cult of Personality and Its Consequences, which soon turned to be a breakthrough, at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.109 Given at the most important and prestigious political event in the USSR, it contained a truthful and bitter account of Joseph Stalin’s rule, referring to his crimes, and the victims of the system he had built. For the entire Eastern Bloc, what happened in February 1956 came as shock, and signified the beginning of rapid changes. Only in the USSR, the biggest change was related to amnesty, and release of thousands of innocent victims of repression. Things were similar in Poland when transformations were triggered by the sudden death of Bolesław Bierut. As the General Secretary of the Polish party he was present at the 20th Congress in Moscow; he died from pneumonia three weeks later. Several months of turbulence brought about by amnesty, then brutally crushed strikes ending in bloodshed in Poznań resulted in a rather unexpected decision taken by the leadership of the Polish United Workers’ Party, seeking a shadow of social legitimisation: Władysław Gomułka was appointed the new General Secretary. He was the party leader during and after the war, fell from power in 1948, and was now given the opportunity to take full control over the state. Strongly applauded during a rally at the Plac Defilad in Warsaw in October 1956, Gomułka did not transform the system to a great degree, but implemented several important solutions rendering the political order more liberal. Aside from amnesty, an understanding with the Catholic Church, agreements with the Soviet authorities preventing intervention of the Red Army, the greatest achievement of Władysław Gomułka was breaking with socialist realism. Loathed by many, the doctrine disappeared from galleries, magazines, and publishing houses almost instantly.110

Several men are unpacking furniture from the transport car.

When it came to architecture, the situation was not that easy. Brand new buildings in Warsaw or Kraków could not simply be removed. As critical political changes were occurring in Poland the Palace of Culture and Science had been functioning for only one year. Another, more sophisticated approach to architecture was needed that would refrain from condemning socialist realism; instead a new aesthetic stance was called for. It should be stressed that in the Soviet Union political transformations as well as de-Stalinisation were sparked off by Nikita Khrushchev’s critical comments on socialist realist construction.111 Before he became the head of state, he had been the Party’s leader in Moscow. Having faced daily problems encountered by residents of the great metropolis allowed him to gain a specific perspective upon politics. To tackle the acute housing shortage in the Soviet capital, Khrushchev initiated mechanisation, and prefabrication of construction processes.112 In 1954, he delivered a paper disapproving of excessive decoration, and allegedly overweening ambition of architects, and demanding new technical solutions. After 1956, aside from political changes technological ones began to happen rapidly. When two new cement plants opened in Moscow, it was possible to start the construction of so-called khrushchovkas, four-storey apartment buildings made of prefabricated panels of reinforced concrete. When in the mid-1950s Vitaly Lagutenko devised a new design of a typical building called L-7 to be constructed from prefabricated elements, he laid a foundation for an important component of the cultural landscape of the old Soviet Union.113 In the next three decades thousands of such buildings emerged from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok. Although their thermal insulation was poor, and the flats poky, they had one huge advantage: it only took two weeks to build them. They meant that Nikita Khrushchev was capable of making it possible for the citizens of the biggest country in the world to move to the streets of tomorrow.

Several men are unpacking furniture from the transport car.

The repetitive aesthetic of panel buildings fitted the new content of Soviet propaganda, as the USSR spared no effort from the late 1950 on to come across as the most advanced country in the world. Launching Sputnik into the orbit in 1957, and Yuri Gagarin’s voyage contributed to the new myth of the Soviet Union. The new architecture perfectly matched this discourse. Rehabilitation of constructivism and adopting solutions typical of post-war Western modernism became the new environment for construction not only in the USSR, but also in the other states of the Eastern Bloc

The perspective of a street along which there are two rows of street lamps and apartment blocks, a car parked on the road.

Meanwhile in the West

Devastation caused by the Second World War, but also technological changes brought by the war soon after 1945 gave powerful stimulation for architecture to evolve. Never before had modernist designs been adopted so extensively in the West. In Great Britain, which had severely suffered during the war, the first post-war elections were won by the Labour Party; social attitudes suggested that instead of rejoicing at the victory, and building up memory of great national tragedy, the new government should focus on improving living standards for all citizens. By voting so, the society made it clear that monuments to kings, leaders, and soldiers were far less important than free access to dental care and higher education, or cheap housing. Especially the last required vigorous action. The war widespread destruction to the city, consecutive waves of German aid raids erased whole city districts. It was still during the war that a new urban plan for the reconstruction and development of the British capital was being drawn up. In 1946, the construction of a modernist housing estate called Churchill Gardens was commenced, to the design by Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya.114 Developing over a period of more than ten years, the estate replaced the historical buildings of Pimlico, a noble district near the Buckingham Palace, and the Houses of Parliament, destroyed by the raids. A residential compound based on the independent housing unit model of modern structure and raw finishing was blatantly contrary to the scheme of urban development from before the war. In the following years, blocks would become of the symbols, or even synonymous with modern life implemented in the United Kingdom after the war.115 Next to chewing gum, erotic magazines, cartoons, and other achievements of popular culture brought by American soldiers, they were created at home, and a step forwards toward a more egalitarian social relations.

People in everyday clothes are passing bricks along the brick wall of the building.

New architecture also soon dominated the vocabulary of French construction, where the first experiments with prefabrication had been conducted before the war. In 1952, Le Corbusier finished the construction of the first Unité d’habitation. Built in Marseille, it turned into a symbol, a vessel of reinforced concrete, a dream about modern lifestyle suspended over the city. It provided a model for new ones, and soon the government of the French Fourth Republic launched a scheme of mass urbanisation in the outskirt of French cities within the project bearing a self-evident name: Operation Million. The project was carried out largely by students of the pope of modernism, who in the next decade filled the outskirts of Paris and other French cities with thousands of similar blocks made of prefabricated elements of reinforced concrete. It was this material and technology that become the dominant features in new districts of Western Europe.

Passengers in suits walk between the bus that is overturned on its side and another stopped on the road.

The easiness of building even very large structures using prefabricated elements resulted in theoretical models of new cities capable of housing vast numbers of people being developed. Arranged lineally they were often to drastically change the landscape of entire countries. In France, a new estate Le Mirail in Toulouse was designed in the next decade for workers of the new Airbus factory, built by Georeges Candilis and Shadrach Woods, previously collaborating with Le Corbusier, in cooperation with Alxis Josic; it belonged to the largest mega-cities constructed of reinforced concrete. Monumental blocks form a spatial arrangement with a ground plan reminiscent of honeycomb which helped double the population of the historical centre in less than twenty years.116 Although the quality of new buildings excited controversy, they were legitimised by acute housing shortage after the war, when the entire industrialised world had to deal with the biggest ever population growth.

Fruit stand on the wide sidewalk in front of the vegetable store.

As mentioned before, a major conflict over the quality of architecture occurred in Berlin in the 1950s. When the socialist realist buildings along Stalinallee were being finished in the eastern part of the city, the authorities in West Berlin were preparing for the construction of a development for the Interbau exhibition.117 Opened in 1957, before the Berlin Wall was put up, it comprised a series of modern multi-family blocks executed to designs by the best-known and influential architects at the time, including Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Alvar Aalto, and Oskar Niemeyer. Wishing to stop residents from leaving the increasingly isolated city under continuous threat, the modernist myth of modern life in a modern city was invoked here. Promotion of new architecture was accompanied by harsh criticism of socialist realism, viewed in the West as an expression of kitsch, and a confusion of ideas. Like numerous other European cities, Berlin fell victim to poor urban planning law, and widespread speculation in the 19th century. For post-war urban planners, the destruction offered an opportunity to think up the city anew. In East Berlin, the reconstruction led to emergence of vast quarters of richly decorated architecture modelled upon Soviet structures, the architecture at the Interbau show represented a very different model consistent with the situation in West Germany. Post-war Germany were to be a democratic and well developed country, and this plan could only be realised by implementing modern ideas. It was also a way of making the western part of Germany different from the legacy of Bismarck and the Third Reich.

Pedestrian traffic in front of monumental buildings with arcades.

We Want to be Modern

For Eastern Bloc countries this new language of architecture became available only after 1956. Aside from political reasons related to the requirement of breaking with socialist realism, there was another one – purely pragmatic and connected with housing shortage. To necessity of responding to pressing needs of the masses migrating from the countryside to cities, and new technological possibilities ensuing from increased availability of steel and cement in comparison to the situation right after the war, were soon reflected in new constructions. Already in 1956 architectural debate in Poland took an entirely different course. No praise of socialist realism could be found on the covers of architecture magazines, e.g. Architektura, or in published articles, no discussions of Andrea Palladio’s work or the Stanislavian style. They were replaced by abstract compositions by Wojciech Zamecznik, or texts about prefabrication in French construction.118 Importantly, Polish architects were now able to travel behind the Iron Curtain. In February 1956, a few newly appointed Chief Architects of the biggest cities in Poland attended a three-week seminar in France. During the event, Witold Cęckiewicz, a Kraków-based designer and former assistant to Adolf Szyszko-Bohusz, got the first chance to see modern architecture, e.g. the Unit in Marseille.119

A horse-drawn cart with the inscription "post", drawn by a white horse, rides along the sidewalk next to the building.

Another architect from Kraków who took part in a similar event was Janusz Ingarden, who visited Sweden also in 1956. One year later, he and his wife Marta devised a project of so-called Swedish Block, a longitudinal residential block built in the Szklane Domy estate in Nowa Huta.120 Finished in 1959, the building provided an important element in the development of architecture in Kraków. Only two years after the Administration Centre of the Lenin Steelworks and the structures in Plac Centralny were complete, the couple initiated a new state in the architecture of this place. The Swedish Block is a local – meaning both Kraków and Nowa Huta – response to modernism. The structure rested on walls running across the building, rather than on outer walls as had been done before. Ceiling were also stretched upon them. This change meant that large and long windows could be installed. Besides, there were several passages on the ground floor with glassed walls, making the building appear as though it were partly lifted above the ground. The Ingardens used characteristic poles turning narrower towards the ground, so-called pilotis. The most famous example of the application of such poles is the Le Corbusier’s Unité d’habitation in Marseille. Now they were supposed to transform the buildings in Nowa Huta.121

Motorcyclists rush down the gravel road, onlookers rush above.

Not far from the Swedish Block the French Block was put up.122 Kazimierz Chodorowski began working on this project in 1956. Its construction was ended three years later, simultaneously with Ingardens’ block. The designer also used large windows, glass walls on the ground floor with exposed poles of reinforced concrete, and no decorations. These two buildings represented a breakthrough. From then on, Kraków and Nowa Huta were to evolve according to modern design. This was best visible on the western side of the district, the last to be developed. It was here that the construction of the Handlowe, Kolorowe, and Spółdzielcze estates commenced in the late 1950s, completing the urban plan for Nowa Huta.

The children at the front of the march are carrying the inscription: Once our cities are ours again.

On the Handlowe estate, along today’s Aleja Generała Władysława Andersa, longitudinal seven-storey bocks designed by Józef König and Andrzej Radnicki catch one’s eye. The architects wanted the new form to fit the frontage, at the same time intending to expose new architectural solutions such as elevated ground floors with glass walls, and balconies.123 Buildings are divided into segments half of which are receding. One half have balconies protruding towards the street, and windows opening towards the courtyard; the other half balconies towards the yard, while windows face the street. A very similar block was completed in 1960 in Plac Ratuszowy. The building shifted the accents in the central part of the district, and excluded the possibility of putting up a socialist realist town hall with a spire which had been planned there before.

A view from above of an unpaved square with office barracks.

The Handlowe estate and consecutive ones, built in the western section of the district, constitute the part of Nowa Huta where quarter development was first abandoned for the benefit of detached units, panelling, and prefabricated elements. The difference is most evident on the Centrum D estate, where in 1957-1959 the designer of the French Block Kazimierz Chodorowski, Stefan Golonka and their team devised the first high-rise building in Nowa Huta, nicknamed Helikopter.124 It stood out because of its height, simplicity, and the original shape of the roof. Leaning and separated from lower floors, it represented an intriguing sculptural elements in the centre of Nowa Huta. Nearby there was a low-rise building with glass elevations dedicated to business. Not far away, in the late 1950s, right by the Ingarden buildings and Helikopter, a five-storey panelled block was constructed. Prefabricated elements made of reinforced concrete were also used on the Kolorowe estate in buildings erected in Wiśniowy Sad Stree and later on the Spółdzielcze estate.

Top view of the construction site.

Simultaneously with the erection of longitudinal four-storey objects high-rise buildings were put up. On the Handlowe estate four six-storey buildings of this type to the design of Janusz and Marta Ingarden were erected. Similar ones were built on the new estate named Wzgórza Krzesławickie, the construction of which began on the northern side of Nowa Huta, and then in Kijowska Street to the west of the centre of Kraków.125 On the western extremity of Nowa Huta, not far from Czyżyńskiego roundabout, Wacław Głowacki designed in the late 1950s a compound of five ten-storey buildings which took a form reminiscent of above-mentioned Helikopter. Finished in 1963, they were among the last elements of the core of the district’s urban layout.

A crowd of men in coats and caps gathered in front of the office building.

It ought to be stressed that the project of Nowa Huta has never been completed. The western part of the district contains modernist blocks. Socialist realist quarters, which were to be built in the southern part by the escarpment, have never been put up, and neither have the theatre or the town hall supposed to constitute the landmarks along the axis of the urban layout. Precise reasons for these changes will probably never be determined. They were not purely architectural, or urban. It can only be surmised that political and to some extent economic issues proved more important. When the main complex of Nowa Huta was finished, the architectural studio Miastoprojekt was not to continue the construction of estates in the eastern side of Kraków. Why such decision was taken remains unknown, but the reasons were possibly political. In the 1960s, Tadeusz Ptaszycki’s team was involved in the building of estates in other parts of the city, including Grzegórzki, Ugorek, as well as the area along Królewska Street.126 From the perspective of Nowa Huta, it is the last that is particularly interesting. Blocks put up within the estate designed by the team headed by Stanisław Hager were very similar to the ones on the Kolorowe estate in Nowa Huta. Yet in the eastern part of the city they belonged to a different urban layout, and were grouped in regular quarters. It is possible that quarters similar to those in Królewska Street would be found in, for instance, Bieńczyce, if the team would continue developing the districts. This, however, was not the case.

Top view of the road where two cars are driving, a pavement on the right, a kiosk booth and pedestrians.

A New Stage

The period after 1956 witnessed rapid and dynamic changes in the cityscape. This is best exemplified by the story of the estate in Bieńczyce.127 In 1959, an urban planning contest was announced for the second section of Nowa Huta, which was to be built to the west of the existing development. Submitted designs represented a wide range of possibilities. Some were still based on quarters, while others revealed inspiration by urban planning that was popular in the West, incorporating high-rise monolithic housing units. The first prize went to the team led by Warsaw-based designer Jadwiga Guzicka. Her conception was carried out from the early 1960s on, and developed for almost twenty years. Orderly places high-rise housing unit of reinforced concrete could not be more different and divorced from previous socialist realist ideas. Although more advanced technologically, and consistent with the tendency amongst Polish architects to reject the strict Stalinist doctrine, their reception was not as enthusiastic as that of the original part of Nowa Huta. At the same time, they testified to the gigantic progress in architecture in Poland and in Kraków, built only less than twenty years after the construction Wanda estate had been started.

People in everyday clothes perform community work on the lawn in front of the apartment building.

The story of Bieńczyce shows the ultimate end of an era. Upon the commencement of this development, time came for consecutive estates in Nowa Huta. In 1963 the contest for a design of the new part of the development, the estate in Mistrzejowice, was won by Witold Cęckiwicz’s team, an attempt to create a more humane version of a modernist city, with mostly low-rise buildings and lots of green.128 Five years later, the team won another contest, submitting a design for an estate by the runway at the airport in Czyżyny, no longer operating, featuring large units in a loose order, at a distance from the runway.129 Both these development, though the concepts behind them were different, stuck to the rules of modernist urban planning, using elements prefabricated from reinforced concrete, and mainly panelling that was commonly used in Poland since the early 1960s.

The bottom shot of the plane flying over the roof of the skyscraper.

From the perspective of the 1960s and 70s, socialist realism which was the dominant style in Nowa Huta for a number of years may be seen as very important, but still merely an episode in the history of Polish architecture and urban planning. It only remained valid for seven years. But these seven years were crucial in determining the reconstruction, and expansion of Polish cities. Although the style was soon gone, it remained visible in the cityscape for ever. The story of the phenomenon, and the process of its abandonment was perpetuated in art, including photographs by two Kraków-based documentarians Wiktor Pental and Henryk Makarewicz. Aside from buildings, they depict ephemeral phenomena, people, their toil, daily labour, joys, sorrows, customs, and rituals. The story of Nowa Huta, and first and foremost its architecture largely remains to be told. Estates constructed after 1956 appear even more anonymous. Their space was long viewed as strange, and inhumane, a symbol of the totalitarian system. The collection of photographs of the two artists from Kraków begins to functions as an artistic form, and as a place of human lives, an important chapter in the history of the country, and the city.


1 R. Wakeman, Practicing Utopia: An Intellectual History of the New Town Movement, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2016.

2 T. Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945, New York, Penguin Books 2006.

3 A. Ważyk, Poemat dla dorosłych i inne wiersze, Warszawa, Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1956.

4 802 procent normy. Pierwsze lata Nowej Huty. Henryk Makarewicz, Wiktor Pental, Kraków, Fundacja Imago Mundi, 2007.

5 N. Henderson, Photographs of Bethnal Green 1949-1952, Nottingham, Midland Group, 1978. 6 Aleksandr Rodchenko. Painting, Drawing, Collage, Design, Photography, New York, Museum of Modern Art, 2002.

7 Andreas Feininger, Ostfildern-Kemnat, Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2004.

8 For more information on the history of the villages whose lands were taken over for the Combine and the district of Nowa huta see: M. Lempart, Zapomniane dziedzictwo Nowej Huty – Kościelniki, Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2006; J. Górski, M. Lempart, Zapomniane dziedzictwo Nowej Huty – Pleszów, Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2007; E. Firlet, Maria Lempart, Mogiła zapomniane dziedzictwo Nowej Huty, Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2012; M. Miezian, Bieńczyce zapomniane dziedzictwo Nowej Huty, Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2014; M. Miezian, Grębałów zapomniane dziedzictwo Nowej Huty, Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2015; M. Miezian, Czyżyny zapomniane dziedzictwo Nowej Huty, Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2017.

9 A psychological account of the events of 1945 in Polish territories can be found in: M. Grzebałkowska, 1945. Wojna i pokój, Warszawa, Agora, 2015.

10 N. Bullock, Building the Post-War World, London, Routledge 2002, pp. 3-24.

11 R. Rossellini, The War Trilogy. Open City, Paisan, Germany-Year Zero, S. Roncoroni (ed.), New York, Grossman 1973.

12 T. Vujošević, Modernism and the Making of the Soviet New Man, Manchester, Manchester University Press, 2017.

13 K. Kersten, Narodziny Systemu Władzy. Polska 1943 – 1948, Poznań, Kantor Wydawniczy SAWW, 1990.

14 A. Łupienko, Kamienice czynszowe Warszawy 1864‒1914, Warszawa, Instytut Historii PAN, 2015.

15 A. Kędziorek, “City Macieja Nowickiego”, in Spór o odbudowę Warszawy. Od gruzów do reprywatyzacji, T. Fudala (ed.), Warszawa, Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej, 2016, pp. 162-167.

16 For more about the story of the WSM, incuding projects carried out by Szymon and Helena Syrkus after the war see: H. Syrkus, Ku idei osiedla społecznego, Warszawa, PWN, 1976, pp. 333-378.

17 J. C. Vaughan. Soviet Socialist Realism. Origins and Theory. New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1973.

18 A. A. Deineka, V. P. Sysoev, Alexander Deineka. Paintings, graphic works, sculptures, mosaics, excerpts from the artist’s writings, Leningrad, Aurora, 1982.

19 A. Applebaum, Red Famine: Stain’s War on Ukraine, New York, Doubleday, 2017.

20 T. Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin, New York, Basic Books, 2012.

21 J.E. Bowlt, “Stalin as Isis and Ra. Socialist Realism and the Art of Design”, The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Vol. 24, Design, Culture, Identity: The Wolfsonian Collection (2002), pp. 34-63.

22 D. L. Hoffmann, “Moving to Moscow. Patterns of Peasant In-Migration during the First Five- Year Plan”, Slavic Review, Vol. 50, No. 4 (Winter, 1991), pp. 847-857.

23 K. Bosma, “The Theory of the Utopian «as if»”, Visualizing Utopia, M.G. Kemperink, W.H.S. Roenhorst (eds.), Leuven-Paris-Dudley MA, Peeters, 2007, pp. 109-120.

24 For a comprehensive presentation of the reconstruciton and expansion of Moscow in the Stalin era see: E. Goldzamt, Architektura zespołów śródmiejskich i problemy dziedzictwa, Warszawa, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1956, pp. 287-345.

25 B. Anan’ich, A. Kobak, “St Petersburg and Green Space, 1850-2000: an introduction”, in The European City and the Green Space, London, Stockholm, Helsinki and Sankt Petersburg, 1850-2000, Peter Clark (ed.), Farnham, Ashgate, 2006, pp. 247-271.

26 W. Ostrowski, Urbanistyka współczesna, Warszaw, Arkady, 1975, pp. 58-69.

27 J. Yaffa, “Russia’s House of Shadows”, The New Yorker, October 16, 2017, [access on 01.03.2018].

28 [access on 01.03.2018].

29 For information on the architecture in Minsk in the interwar period see: O. Gourinovitch, G. Groning, “The Regional Open Space System and Hydroparks of Minsk in Belarus”, Centropa, Vol. IV, No. 2, New York 2004, pp. 131-140.

30 A. Klinau, Mińsk. Przewodnik po mieście Słońca, Wołowiec, Wydawnictwo Czarne, 2008.

31 E. Goldzamt, Architektura zespołów śródmiejskich i problemy dziedzictwa, Warszawa, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1956, pp. 345-361.

32 O. Hatherley, Landscapes of Communism. A History Through Buildings, London, Penguin Books, 2016, pp. 55-63.

33 J. Tutlytė, “The Soviet Years 1940-1990”, in Vilnius 1900-2016. An architectural Guide, Architektūros Fondas, LAPAS, 2016, pp. 109-123.

34 J. Bach Rasmussen, Travel Guide, Traces of the Cold War period. The Countries around the Baltic Sea, Nordic Council of Ministers 2010, pp. 36-37.

35 Дми́трий Серге́евич Хмельницкий, Архитектура Сталина: Психология и стиль. Прогресс-Традиция, 2006, c. 77-128.

36 For more information on the role of historical architecutre in Sankt Petersburg in the development of socialist realism see E. Goldzamt, Architektura zespołów śródmiejskich i problemy dziedzictwa, Warszawa, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1956, pp. 173-216.

37 E. Goldzamt, Architektura zespołów śródmiejskich, pp. 324-334; O. Hatherley, Landscapes of Communism, pp. 210-219.

38 For more information on Dmitry Chechulin see [access on 01.03.2018 r.]

39 For more information about various ways of employing motifs from national art in socialist realism in Central European states see A. Åman, Architecture and Ideology in Eastern Europe During the Stalin Era. An Aspect of Cold War History, The Architectural History Foundation, Inc., New York, The MIT Press, 1992, pp. 95-117.

40 O. Hatherley, Landscapes of Communism, pp. 21-22.

41 O. Hatherley, Landscapes of Communism, pp. 110-115.

42 K. E. Zarecor, Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity: Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1945-1960, University of Pittsburgh Press, pp. 113-176.

43 E. C. Harrach, “The Reconstruction of the Buda Castle Hill after 1945”, in Rebuilding Europe’s Bombed Cities, J. M. Diefendorf (ed.), Basingstoke, Macmillan Publishers Limited 1990, pp. 155-169.

44 A. Åman, Architecture and Ideology in Eastern Europe During the Stalin Era, pp. 154-156.

45 M. Rudolph, Two German Architectures: Confrontation, Competition and Co-evolution in Divided Berlin, Sozialistischer Realismus und Sozialistische Moderne. Welterbevorschläge aus Mittel-und Osteuropa / Socialist Realism and Socialist Modernism. World Heritage Proposals from Central and Easter Europe, ICOMOS. Hefte des Deutschen Nationalkomitees / ICOMOS. Journals of the German National Committee, LVIII, 2013, pp. 54-57.

46 T. Flierl, Karl-Marx-Allee and “Interbau1957”, Berlin Postwar Heritage between Confrontation and Co-evolution, Sozialistischer Realismus und Sozialistische Moderne. Welterbevorschläge aus Mittel-und Osteuropa / Socialist Realism and Socialist Modernism. World Heritage Proposals from Central and Easter Europe, ICOMOS. Hefte des Deutschen Nationalkomitees / ICOMOS. Journals of the German National Committee, LVIII, 2013, pp. 62-65.

47 A. Lorek, “Nowa Huta na tle miast socrealistycznych”, in Nowa Huta – architektura i twórcy miasta idealnego. Niezrealizowane projekty, Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2007, pp. 12-16.

48 A. Bartetzky, “W poszukiwaniu narodowej formy. O architekturze stalinowskiej w NRD i PRL”, in Naród. Styl. Modernizm. CIHA Materiały Konferencji, J. Purchla, W. Tegethoff (eds.), Kraków, Międzynarodowe Centrum Kultury, Munich, Zentralinstitut fur Kunstgeschichte, 2006, pp. 323-342.

49 For more information on post-war architectural changes introduced in the building see S. Latour, “Przekształcenia i odbudowa Zamku Książąt Pomorskich w Szczecinie”, Przestrzeń i Forma, no. 4, Szczecińska Fundacja Edukacji i Rozwoju Addytywnego “SFERA”, 2006, pp. 75-92.

50 A. Kędziorek, “City Macieja Nowickiego”.

51 A. Skalimowski, “Skazani na wielkość? Biuro Odbudowy Stolicy 1945-1951”, in Spór o odbudowę Warszawy. Od gruzów do reprywatyzacji, T. Fudala (ed.), Warszawa, Muzeum Sztuki Nowoczesnej, 2016, pp. 93-108.

52 T. Mołdawa, Ludzie władzy 1944–1991, Warszawa, PWN, 1991, p. 411.

53 J. Zieliński, Realizm socjalistyczny w Warszawie. Urbanistyka i architektura (1949-1956), Fundacja Hereditas 2009, pp. 19-21.

54 Dyskusja dotycząca wprowadzenia socrealizmu do polskiej architektury miała miejsce w pierwszej połowie 1949 roku, kluczowe znaczenie miało spotkanie przedstawicieli środowisk architektonicznych w Warszawie, w czerwcu 1949 roku. Patrz w: O polską architekturę socrealistyczną, Materiały z krajowej partyjnej narady architektów z dnia 20–21.VI.1949 w Warszawie, Warszawa 1950.

55 Jarosław Zieliński, Realizm socjalistyczny w Warszawie, p. 26.

56 MDM. Marszałkowska 1730-1954, Stanisław Jankowski (ed.), Warszawa, Czytelnik, 1955.

57 MDM KMA architektoniczna spuścizna socrealizmu Warszawa Berlin, Dom Spotkań z Historią 2011 , J. Zieliński, Realizm socjalistyczny w Warszawie, pp. 74-89.

58 J. Zieliński, Realizm socjalistyczny w Warszawie, pp. 21-24.

59 J. Zieliński, Realizm socjalistyczny w Warszawie, pp. 135-149.

60 Z. Grębecka, J. Sadowski, Pałac Kultury i Nauki: między ideologią a masową wyobraźnią, Kraków, Zakład Wydawniczy “Nomos”, 2007.

61 J. Zieliński, Realizm socjalistyczny w Warszawie, pp. 164-167.

62 J. Zieliński, Realizm socjalistyczny w Warszawie, pp. 111-117.

63 J. Zieliński, Realizm socjalistyczny w Warszawie, pp. 167-171.

64 T. Barucki, Wacław Kłyszewski, Jerzy Mokrzyński, Eugeniusz Wierzbicki, Warszawa, Arkady, 1987.

65 J. Zieliński, Realizm socjalistyczny w Warszawie, pp. 159-164.

66 M. Czapelski, Bohdan Pniewski – warszawski architekt XX wieku, Warszawa, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 2008.

67 A. Åman, Architecture and Ideology in Eastern Europe During the Stalin Era. An Aspect of Cold War History, The Architectural History Foundation, Inc., New York, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts and London, England, 1992, pp. 173-175.

68 M. Czapelski, Bohdan Pniewski – warszawski architekt XX wieku, Warszawa, Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego, 2008, pp. 287-308.

69 M. Czapelski, Bohdan Pniewski, pp. 224-237.

70 B. Lachert, “Muranów-dzielnica mieszkaniowa”, Architektura, z. 5, 1949, pp. 129-137.

71 Warszawska Szkoła Architektury 1915-1965. 50-lecie Wydziału Architektury Politechniki Warszawskiej, Warszawa, 1967.

72 O. Hansen, Towards Open Form / Ku Formie Otwartej, J. Gola (ed.), Fudacja Galerii Foksal, Warszawa, Muzeum ASP w Warszawie 2004, pp. 18-21.

73 L. J. Sybila, “Tadeusz Ptaszycki (1908-1980), Twórcy «miasta idealnego» – wybrane biogramy, Nowa Huta – architektura i twórcy miasta idealnego”, in Niezrealizowane projekty, Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2007, pp. 103-104.

74 A. Jackowski, Tadeusz Ptaszycki, Internetowy Polski Słownik Biograficzny, [accessed on 01.03.2018]

75 A. Kochański, Marian Spychalski, Internetowy Polski Słownik Biograficzny, [accessed 1 March 2018]

76 A. L. Weeks, Russia’s Life-Saver. Lend-Lease Aid to the U.S.S.R. in World War II, Lanham, MD, Lexington Books, 2004.

77 For more information on the level of output in the Combine see M. Choma, Huta im. Tadeusza Sendzimira S.A. w Krakowie 1949-1999, Kraków, Firma Wydawnicza Trans-Krak, 1999.

78 The emergence of Nowa Huta as a socialist and industrial city was discussed in A. Sumorok, “The Idea of the Socialist City. Case of Nowa Huta, Idea miasta socjalistycznego. Przypadek Nowej Huty”, Technical Transactions. Architecture, Czasopismo Techniczne. Architektura, 12-A 2015, pp. 303-340.

79 E. Firlet, “Zmiany przestrzenno-urbanistyczne Krakowa w latach 1939-2006”, in Kraków. Nowe studia nad rozwojem miasta, Biblioteka Krakowska nr 150, J. Wyrozumski (ed.), Kraków, Towarzystwo Miłośników Historii i Zabytków Krakowa, 2007, p. 667.

80 B. Krasnowolski, “Realizacja międzywojennego planu Wielkiego Krakowa”, in Wielki Kraków. Materiały sesji naukowej odbytej 24 kwietnia 2010 roku, M. Bochenek (ed.), Kraków, 2011, pp. 45-130.

81 J. Purchla, “Miasto niepokorne. Znaczenie okresu 1945-1956 dla rozwoju Krakowa po drugiej wojnie światowej”, in Kraków-Małopolska w Europie środka. Studia ku czci profesora Jana M. Małeckiego w 70 rocznicę urodzin, K. Broński, J. Purchla, J. Szpak (eds.), Kraków 1996, pp. 269-284.

82 K. Lebow, Unfinished Utopia, Nowa Huta, Stalinism, and Polish Society, 1949-56, Ithaca, NY, Cronell University Press, 2013, pp. 44-73.

83 J. Salwiński, “Lokalizacja kombinatu metalurgicznego pod Krakowem”, in Kryptonim „Gigant” in Dzieje nowohuckiego kombinatu w latach 1949-1958, Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2008, pp. 17-38.

84 K. Twardowska, Fryderyk Tadanier, Kraków, Fundacja Instytut Architektury, 2016.

85 M. Wiśniewski, Adolf Szyszko Bohusz, Kraków, Fundacja Instytut Architektury, 2013.

86 L. J. Sibila, “Nowa Huta – architektura i twórcy «miasta idealnego»”, in Nowa Huta – architektura i twórcy miasta idealnego. Niezrealizowane projekty, Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2007, pp. 35-50.

87 L. J. Sibila, “Nowa Huta”.

88 M. Włodarczyk, Szlakami dziedzictwa. Architektura Nowej Huty lat 1949-1970. Wybrane przykłady. Lista obiektów architektonicznych SARP Oddział Kraków, Stowarzyszenie Architektów Polskich SARP Oddział Kraków, p. 46.

89 T. Binek, “Technologie wielkopłytowe w latach 60. W Nowej Hucie”, in Nowa przestrzeń. Modernizm w Nowej Hucie, Kamil Jurewicz (ed.), Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2012, pp. 79-84.

90 A. Palladio, Cztery księgi o architekturze, Kraków, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1955; J. B. da Vignola, O pięciu porządkach w architekturze, Kraków, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1955; L. B. Alberti, Ksiąg dziesięć o sztuce budowania, Kraków, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1960; Witruwiusz, O architekturze ksiąg dziesięć, Kraków, Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe, 1956.

91 T. Ptaszycki, “Nowa Huta”, Architektura, 1953, no. 3, pp. 71-74.

92 L. J. Sibila, “Nowa Huta i epoka stalinizmu w Krakowie”, in Florencja i Kraków wobec dziedzictwa, J. Purchla (ed.), Kraków, Międzynarodowe Centrum Kultury, 2008, p. 2009.

93 J. Adamczewski, J. Pociecha, Lenin w Krakowie, Kraków, Wydawnictwo Literackie 1974.

94 “Konieczny Marian”, in Encyklopedia Krakowa, A. H. Stachowski (ed.), Warszawa-Kraków, Wydawnictwo Naukowe PWN, 2000, p. 434.

95 L. J. Sibila, “Z wystawy”, in Nowa Huta – architektura i twórcy miasta idealnego, A. Biedrzycka (ed.), Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa 2006, pp. 51-63.

96 M. Lipok-Bierwiaczonek, Od socrealizmu do postmodernizmu. Unikatowe Nowe Tychy. Przewodnik po szlaku miejskim, Urząd Miasta Tychy 2011, pp. 5-33, [accessed 01.03.2018].

97 M. Furtak, Centralny Okręg Przemysłowy (COP) 1936-1939. Architektura i urbanistyka, Łódź, Wydawnictwo Księży Młyn, 2014.

98 M. Myśliwiec, M. A. Stańkowski, Architektura Sztandarowej Inwestycji COP-u, Rzeszów, Wydawnictwo Libra, 2008.

99 H. Syrkus, Ku idei osiedla społecznego, Warszawa, PWN, 1976, pp. 19-224; Eric Mumford, The CIAM Discourse on Urbanism, 1928-1960, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 2000.

100 B. Bułdys, “Mościce – u progu nowoczesności”, in Modernizmy. Architektura nowoczesności w II Rzeczypospolitej, Vol. 1. Kraków i województwo krakowskie, A. Szczerski (ed.), Kraków, Studio wydawnicze Dodo Editor, 2013, pp. 187-222.

101 M. Smaga, “Od planu po realizację – budynki «Z» i «S» Centrum Administracyjnego Huty im Lenina”, in Światowid. Rocznik Muzeum PRL-u w Krakowie, A. Kuler, J. Salwiński (eds.), Kraków, Muzeum PRL-u w Krakowie, 2017, pp. 125-150.

102 M. Włodarczyk, Szlakami dziedzictwa, p. 42.

103 A. Ważyk, Poem for Adults.

104 A. Domosławski, Kapuściński non-fiction, Warszawa, Świat książki, 2010, pp. 82-97.

105 M. Włodarczyk, Szlakami dziedzictwa, pp. 32-34.

106 M. Włodarczyk, Szlakami dziedzictwa, p. 44.

107 For Janusz and Marta Ingarden’s biographical notes see L. J. Sibila, “Twórcy miasta idealnego”, in Nowa Huta – architektura i twórcy miasta idealnego, A. Biedrzycka (eds.), Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa 2006, pp. 100-101.

108 S. Juchnowicz, “Nowa Huta – z doświadczeń warsztatu projektowego”, in Nowa Huta – architektura i twórcy miasta idealnego, A Biedrzycka (eds.), Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa 2006, pp. 25-33.

109 N. Chruszczow, O kulcie jednostki i jego następstwach. Referat I Sekretarza KC KPZR tow. N. S. Chruszczowa na XX Zjeździe Komunistycznej Partii Związku Radzieckiego, Warszawa, March 1956

110 P. Machcewicz, Polski rok 1956, Warszawa, Mówią Wieki, 1993.

111 J. Ockman, Architecture Culture 1943–1968. A documentary Anthology, New York, Columbia Books of Architecture, 1993, pp. 184–188.

112 J. Snopek, Bielajewo. Zabytek przyszłości, Warszawa, Fundacja Bec Zmiana, 2014.

113 B. Bergdoll, P. Christensen, P. H. Christensen, K. Oshima, Home Delivery. Fabricating the Modern Dwelling, New York, The Museum of Modern Art 2008, pp. 100-101.

114 Churchill Gardens Conservation Area Audit, Westminster City Council, April 2005, pp. 7-27, [accessed 01.03.2018].

115 W. Whyte, “The Englishness of English Architecture: Modernism and the Making of a National International Style, 1927-1957”, Journal of British Studies, Vol. 48, No. 2, Special Issue on Material Culture (Apr.,

2009), Cambridge University Press on behalf of The North American Conference on British Studies, pp. 441-465.

116 T. Avermaete, Another Modern: The Post-war Architecture and Urbanism of Candilis-Josic-Woods, Rotterdam, NAI Publishers 2005.

117 A. Åman, Architecture and Ideology in Eastern Europe During the Stalin Era, pp. 231-238.

118 Wojciech Zamecznik. Foto-graficznie, K. Ziębińska-Lewadowska, K. Puchała-Rojek (eds.), Warszawa, Zachęta – Narodowa Galeria Sztuki, 2016.

119 Mogłem się wyżyć projektowo. Z Witoldem Cęckiewiczem rozmawiają Dorota Leśniak-Rychlak, Marta Karpińska, Kamila Twardowska i Michał Wiśniewski, Witold Cęckiewicz, vol. I. Rozmowy o architekturze. Projekty, M. Karpińska, D. Leśniak-Rychlak, M. Wiśniewski (eds.), Kraków, Fundacja Instytut Architektury, 2005, pp. 55-57.

120 B. Lisowski, “Nowa architektura w Nowej Hucie”, Architektura, no. 1, 1960, pp. 3–12.

121 Magdalena Smaga, Lata 60. W Nowej Hucie – urbanistyka, architektura, wnętrza, Nowa przestrzeń. Modernizm w Nowej Hucie, K. Jurewicz (eds.), Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2012, pp. 8-22.

122 M. Włodarczyk, Szlakami dziedzictwa, s. 54.

123 Sektor D, Nowa przestrzeń. Modernizm w Nowej Hucie, K. Jurewicz (ed.), Kraków, Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2012, pp. 135-155.

124 M. Włodarczyk, Szlakami dziedzictwa, p. 58.

125 M. Włodarczyk, Modernizm lat 60. A architektura i urbanistyka Nowej Huty, Nowa przestrzeń. Modernizm w Nowej Hucie, Kraków Muzeum Historyczne Miasta Krakowa, 2012, pp. 42-44.

126 Miastoprojekt Kraków 1951-1971, J. Bittner (ed.), Kraków, Wydawnictwo Artystyczno-Graficzne, 1971.

127 Konkurs na Bieńczyce, Architektura, no. 2, 1960, pp. 55-62; I. Rozenberg, “Nowej Huty – część II”, Architektura, 1961 no. 7–8, pp. 296–299.

128 M. Wiśniewski, “Projekt urbanistyczny osiedli mieszkaniowych w Mistrzejowicach (1963-1983)”, in Witold Cęckiewicz. T. I: Rozmowy o architekturze. Projekty, M. Karpińska, D. Leśniak-Rychlak, M. Wiśniewski (eds.), Kraków, Fundacja Instytut Architektury, 2015, pp. 168-171.

129 M. Wiśniewski, “Projekt urbanistyczny osiedla Lotnisko w Czyżynach (1968)”, in Witold Cęckiewicz. Vol. I: Rozmowy o architekturze. Projekty, M. Karpińska, D. Leśniak-Rychlak, M. Wiśniewski (eds.), Kraków, Fundacja Instytut Architektury, 2015, pp. 174-175.