Osiedle Jazdów
Fot. Panek, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jazdów estate in Warsaw – a unique colony of so-called Finnish houses in the heart of the city

The Jazdów estate in Warsaw is a unique and one-of-a-kind colony of wooden family houses, which was established in 1945 and still exists today in the heart of the city. The complex of 90 so-called “Finnish houses” was built as the first post-war housing estate in the capital. The small buildings came from the war reparations that Finland was forced to pay to the Soviet Union after the Second World War. Today, they mainly serve as headquarters for various organisations and residential facilities. Recently, new plans for their use have emerged, sparking widespread outrage and opposition.

The lightweight, prefabricated wooden houses that were part of the colony were part of the Soviet Union’s first aid package for the devastated city. In March 1945, Warsaw received a gift of 407 buildings with 503 flats and 1,280 rooms. Their assembly began on 24 March 1945.

1945, assembly of the houses. Photo: Six-Year Plan of Rebuilding Warsaw

The estate of 90 Finnish houses was built to house the staff of the Bureau of Capital Reconstruction (BOS). It was built on the Vistula embankment on the site of the Ujazdowski Hospital, partially destroyed in 1944, between the Sejm complex, the park and the Ujazdowski Castle. Eventually, 40 of the 90 promised houses were allocated to BOS, with the remainder allocated to employees of the Social Construction Company. The buildings were handed over to the tenants at the beginning of August 1945. They housed, among others, Adolf Ciborowski, Alfred Funkiewicz, Maciej Nowicki and Zygmunt Skibniewski. Later, artists, including Maria Czubaszek, Barbara Wrzesińska and Jonasz Kofta, eagerly moved in.

Jazdów Estate in February 1947. Photo: Polon National Library

Two types of houses were set up on the estate. The smaller ones were 72 sq m and had three rooms, while the larger ones were 80 sq m in size and had four rooms. Each had a small cellar and a small attic. Electricity was provided and residents drew water from the estate’s well. Later, a bathhouse with showers and baths was opened in the former morgue of the Ujazdowski Hospital.

The Jazdów estate in 1945 and 2021. Photo: mapa.um.warszawa.pl

In 2011, the mayor of the Śródmieście district, Wojciech Bartelski, took steps to have the houses removed as incompatible with such a prestigious location as the neighbourhood of the embassies, the Sejm, Ujazdowski Park and Trasa Łazienkowska. At the time, they were occupied by residents. It was not without protests. Four of the buildings were demolished, but soon the district authorities decided that the estate would remain, but in a slightly altered formula – some of the houses remained occupied, while others were used for cultural and social purposes. They were also placed under protection.

Photo Panek, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In April 2017, the urban layout of the Jazdów Estate was entered in the municipal register of monuments. Three buildings are individually protected: at Jazdów 5A and Jazdów 8 (Metsäkoto models) and Jazdów 10 (Päiväkoto model). Currently, of the 26 surviving houses, several are inhabited. The others are made available by the Śródmieście District Office to various organisations.

Photo by Adrian Grycuk, CC BY-SA 3.0 PL, via Wikimedia Commons

At the beginning of this year, news circulated in the media that the leaked draft MPZP for the Ujazdowski Park area indicated that the famous housing estate would cease to have a residential function. It was indicated that the basic use of the area where the Finnish houses stand would be public services in the fields of culture, administration, education or science. A catering function is also permitted.

This did not please activists from the Otwarty Jazdów association in particular, who want the buildings to retain their current use, including housing. The activists are also concerned about destroying the character of the place. The matter remains unresolved and open for the time being.

Source: culture.pl, tvn24.pl

Read also: Architecture in Poland | Warsaw | Estate | Urban planning | History | Interesting facts | Wood

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