Osiedle Przyjaźń obecnie. Fot. Adrian Grycuk, CC BY-SA 3.0 PL, via Wikimedia Commons

Warsaw’s Przyjaźń Estate is in for a revolution! Wooden houses will undergo renovation

The Przyjaźń estate located in Warsaw’s Bemowo district was established in the 1950s as a residential base for the builders of the Palace of Culture and Science. Unique on a city scale, the estate served its residents for decades to come and was home to many. In May this year, the current lease agreement expires, but according to the Town Hall, the estate will continue to be used for residential purposes and the neglected houses will be successively renovated. This is a great opportunity for the historic wooden buildings.

The Przyjaźń estate is a complex of barracks-style housing located in Bemowo, in the area of the former village of Jelonki. It was built in the 1950s and mainly served several thousand Soviet builders of the Palace of Culture and Science.

The housing estate in the 1960s. Source: NAC – National Digital Archive www.nac.gov.pl/, Author: Zbyszko Siemaszko

Osiedle Przyjaźń

Two types of wooden houses were erected on the housing estate: hotel pavilions for the workers and single-family houses for the technical staff. They were brought to Warsaw in prefabricated elements and assembled on site. They were painted in two colour variants: blue and white and blue and red, and in their appearance the pavilions were reminiscent of old Polish manor houses. The estate also included a cinema, canteen, clubhouse, bathhouse, medical centre, boiler house and two sports fields. Between the developments, 4,000 trees and 40,000 shrubs were planted and 8 km of internal roads and streets were built.

Osiedle Przyjaźń
Settlement in the 1960s Source: NAC – National Digital Archive www.nac.gov.pl/, Author: Zbyszko Siemaszko

At its peak, 4,500 people lived on the estate. After the completion of the Palace of Culture and Science in May 1955, the estate was handed over by the city authorities to the Ministry of Higher Education to be used as student residences for Warsaw’s universities. The estate was then given the name Przyjaźń. On an area of 32 hectares, 33 student houses, 9 assistant hotels, 19 assistant blocks, 77 single-family houses for university staff and 2 workers’ hotels were built. At the end of 2023, the Mazovian Provincial Conservator of Monuments initiated proceedings to enter the urban layout of the Przyjaźń Estate in the register of monuments.

Osiedle Przyjaźń
Settlement in the 1960s Source: NAC – National Digital Archive www.nac.gov.pl/, Author: Zbyszko Siemaszko

Nowadays, the Przyjaźń Estate consists of two parts: the multi-family buildings function as student dormitories, and the single-family houses are inhabited by academics or their descendants. The land is owned by the State Treasury and managed by the Mayor of Warsaw – as the district manager. For many years the Przyjaźń Estate was leased by the Academy of Special Education, which ran the day-to-day affairs of the estate and was responsible for subletting the premises. The current lease expires on 9 May 2024 and the university was not interested in continuing the relationship. The property will therefore be returned by the university to the city when the lease expires.

Friendship Estate now. Photo by Adrian Grycuk, CC BY-SA 3.0 PL, via Wikimedia Commons

Residents, students and entrepreneurs can rest easy. The Mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, has decided to provide emergency assistance to all – so that none of the residents will suffer when the lease expires.

“We want this estate to be alive, to be full of residents, but also to be safe. None of the estate’s residents will have to vacate the premises shortly after the city takes over the property,” says Warsaw Deputy Mayor Tomasz Bratek.

Osiedle Przyjaźń
Przyjaźń Estate now. Photo Adrian Grycuk, CC BY-SA 3.0 PL, via Wikimedia Commons

Warsaw is planning to pursue an extensive renovation of the Przyjaźń Estate. The intention of the city authorities is to restore the buildings to their former glory. Currently, however, the use of many of them is impossible. The university leaves the properties in a terrible state of repair. Many of them are dilapidated, there is mould on the walls, and the roofs of many buildings are still covered with asbestos. The underground infrastructure also needs to be upgraded and repaired. The cost of these works is estimated at hundreds of millions of zlotys.

The Friendship Estate today. Photo Qkiel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Once the university has returned the property to the city, it will proceed with a detailed assessment of the technical condition of the houses. An inventory of the underground installations is already complete. In the next step, the scope of the necessary work will be determined. The refurbishment is to be spread over a number of years and will depend on the external funding obtained.

Source: um.warszawa.pl

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

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