The Tysiąclecia housing estate in Katowice is one of the most famous places in the capital of the Silesian Voivodeship. It is there that the Kukurydze, the famous high-rise residential buildings that resemble corn cobs in appearance, are located. Their design was carried out by the designer duo Buszko and Franta. Although Katowice is full of historic architecture, it is the Kukurydze that are regarded as the most iconic project in the city
The Tysiąclecia estate is located in the north-western part of Katowice. Originally, the intention was to build a 145-hectare estate there to house 45,000 people. It would have consisted of five units – four housing estates (Lower, Upper, Central and West) and a Service Centre. Over time, it was agreed that the new settlement would accommodate 20,000 people. However, the concept was changed and 30,000 tenants were assumed
photo: Artur Wosz
The then governor announced a competition for the project. He specified that the housing estate should have exemplary economic, technical and spatial solutions. Of the three designs, the one by Henryk Buszko, Aleksander Franta, Marian Dziewoński and Tadeusz Szewczyk was selected, and the inspiration was to be the Marina City skyscrapers built in Chicago. Only these first two architects had oversight of the construction. Because of this, Buszko and Franta are most identified with the Millennium Estate. Henryk Buszko and Aleksander Franta are important figures for post-war Silesia. In addition to Kukurydz, they are credited with the church in the Lower Millennium and the Osiedle Gwiazdy estate on W. Roździeńskiego Avenue, among others. The architects are also behind a cult project from the People’s Republic of Poland called the Polish icon of modernism, the Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Quarter in Ustroń-Zawodzie
photo: Artur Wosz
Construction began in 1961, and the name of the estate refers to the Millennium of the Polish State, celebrated at the time. The first residents arrived in 1964, and it was then that the first flats were put into use. Although the estate was completed in 1982, over time new buildings began to be erected, adding to it. In the mid-1980s, construction of the famous Maize began. Five semi-detached buildings stood in the central part of the estate. They are located opposite the Silesian Park on Zawiszy Czarnego Street. They are the tallest residential buildings in Katowice. Three of them measure more than 80 metres. Their distinctive feature is their circular balconies, which makes the buildings look like corn cobs. The construction of the Corncobs was completed at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s
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