Nowadays, living in a skyscraper is a luxury. In Warsaw, hipsters, artists and architects are scrambling to acquire high-rise town property. But this was not always the case. Explanations and a glance at the most emblematic glass, steel and concrete giants of the Polish capital.
In the heart of Warsaw, a building rises up into the blue sky. Higher than the Rogier Tower, symbolic in a different way, the Cultural Centre was ‘’offerd’ to the people of Poland by Stalin in 1951. Since then, urban planning progress in Warsaw has reached dizzying heights. It is estimated that Warsaw market resources have already exceeded 5 million m² of surface area. And this is just the beginning…
Out with the almost kitsch, monolithic style of the Stalin era, today, steel and glass display the sparkle of freedom. Skyscrapers – by Norman Foster or Daniel Libeskind – are sprouting up everywhere. The most emblematic bear names such as ‘Warsaw Spire’, ‘Q22’, ‘Hala Koszyki’ or ‘Zlota 44’, and form a skyline that is the envy of many cities.
With its ship sail silhouette that seems to elude Earth’s gravity, the ‘Zlota 44’ tower was the country’s highest (192 m) residential tower for some time. Daniel Libeskind, the famous American architect of Polish descent, was entrusted with the project. The result: 251 luxury apartments sold in a matter of weeks. In the very centre of the town, ‘Zlota 44’ is appealing particularly for its collective facilities, such as the 25 m-long swimming pool, the saunas, the marble interiors, carbon fibre and stainless steel at the crossroads of art and design. Representing an eagle (the national emblem) rising into the sky, the skyscraper, which was completed in 2017, is a building proclaiming that the town does not belong to communism but to its inhabitants.
Breaking the altitude record
The country entered the market economy in the middle of the 1990s, sometimes in excess, but with genuine success. Record growth, economic momentum: Warsaw is surprisingly healthy. After football, property shopping has almost become a national sport, all the more so that purchasing power has improved considerably. Now, hipsters, artists, expatriates and architects are scrambling to acquire a high-rise property. Hence the abundance of recently built towers behind Warsaw Central Station.
In 2020, the Polish capital will even welcome the highest office block in the EU: the ‘Varso Tower’, a 53-storey centrepiece designed by prestigious architects Foster + Partners. From the top of its 230 m (310 m including the tip), it should replace London’s famous ‘Shard’ at the top of the altitude podium.
The developer is not only building a complex of office buildings, but also a new public space, acknowledged by Polish urban planners as Poland’s best new public space. One interesting detail: the ‘Varso Tower’ rooftop will be accessible to all Warsaw inhabitants. It will be possible to have lunch or a coffee there or stroll in the alleys of the panoramic garden. Plenty to nurture the ‘European dream’ in the East, while the rest of the continent is starting to doubt.