Archiwalna wizualizacja nowego budynku

A townhouse will be built on Smolna Street. The investor will reconstruct part of the damaged frontage from before the war

Construction of a new tenement house at 23 Smolna Street in Warsaw will soon begin. This will mark the beginning of the reconstruction of the frontage of buildings that existed here before World War II and were destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising. The NDI Group company NDI Smolna is behind the implementation of this downtown investment.

Smolna Street used to be an important space in Warsaw – it gave the city grandeur and elegance. Historical materials show that already at the end of the 19th century it was perfectly developed. It was here that, among other things, the first school with Polish as the language of instruction was to be established, as well as another school set up by the Society of Higher Commercial Courses, which is considered to be the predecessor of today’s Warsaw School of Economics. There was also a hospital, as well as the offices of many important editorial offices. Smolna Street’s period of splendour was ended by the Second World War – during the Warsaw Uprising many tenement houses were burnt down and some of them were never rebuilt. The demolished frontage was left as an empty square, which in the following decades was planted with greenery and a square was arranged there.

1949, demolished part of the frontage on Smolna Street. Author: Edmund Kupiecki, Source: “WARSAWA i OKOLICE na starej fotografii”


Now there is hope of completing the missing urban fabric. A company from the NDI Group – NDI Smolna, is planning to develop a new tenement house at 23 Smolna Street.

“The design of Smolna 23 is intended to refer to architectural elements that were characteristic of pre-World War II construction. The location of the planned development almost coincides with the location of the tenement house that was built here at the end of the 19th century,” – says Jarosław Bator, president of NDI Smolna, which is the investor for the project.

Warsaw-based S.A.M.I. Architekci is responsible for the architectural concept. The contemporary design of Smolna 23 was inspired, among other things, by archival photographs of Smolna from its heyday. The new tenement will blend in with the nearby surroundings. Ultimately, the building is to form a compact urban frontage, but until the adjacent development is completed, it will be a free-standing building. The walls of the side elevations will be decorated with vegetation.

The tenement house at Smolna 23 seen from Jerozolimskie Avenue, pre-war years and on an archival visualisation. Source: National Archive in Warsaw and press materials

“The main body of the building on the second to sixth storeys refers in form to the tenement building that once existed on this site, e.g. through the proportions of the windows and their rhythm on the façade, the tectonics of the façade, the geometrised detail of the window glyphs, rustication. Referring to the history of the site, the form stands on a modern, minimalist glass block that creates a transparent ground floor. The last withdrawn storeys also have a contemporary form, large wide glazing and a sparing tectonics of the facade,” – says Mariusz Lewandowski, CEO of SAMI Architekci.

The tenement’s finish, including the use of noble materials, is intended to be a compromise between design assumptions of a contemporary nature and works that recreate the historical fabric. The published visualisations are archival and the final form of the building will be slightly different, but retaining all the historical accents. It will be presented in a few months.

The plot at Smolna 23 as seen from Jerozolimskie Avenue, now and in the future. Source: Google Maps and press materials

“The investment is undoubtedly characterised by its prestigious location and high standard of workmanship. The ground floor of the tenement will most likely feature cafés or restaurants that will become part of the urban fabric of Warsaw. On the upper floors there will be flats functioning in a rental formula, and the last floor may serve a typically residential function,” says the president of NDI Smolna.

The tenement is being built right next to the bustling Nowy Świat street and the characteristic palm tree at the Charles de Gaulle roundabout. Nearby are the National Museum, the Banking and Finance Centre and Studio Buffo, among others. The development has been designed in accordance with the provisions of the local development plan. The first works could start as early as June.

Source: NDI group

Read also: City | Architecture in Poland | History | Warsaw | Tenement house

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