Post Conflict Urban Strategies: WARSAW

Warsaw is a city that has been damaged through history because of war but the most damages were given in World War 2 by Nazi Troops. During the war, %85 of the city was demolished. After war, Polish patriots encountered to build the old city by benefiting from paints, archived documents and Nazi’s Pabst plan. This report will cover pre-information about war &the city and rebuilt “phoenix” era.

Before World War II, project of future town Deutsch City Warsaw was made in June 1939. The historical capital of Poland and a city of 1.5 million inhabitants, would be completely destroyed and rebuilt as a small German town of not more than 130,000 inhabitants. In its place a new model city was to be created as a seat for the German ruling class of the occupied Polish territories. It was to house a large “People’s Party Hall” in place of the Royal Castle and serve as a major transportation hub.

Warsaw’s gradually destruction can be examined in 3 part. The first part, “invasion” was started in September 1939 and 10% of Warsaw was destroyed . The second part, 1st uprising, few thousand Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto in April 1943, that portion of the central city was entirely razed to the ground by bombing and bulldozers. Third part, “2nd Uprising”, Soviet Army, Polish Underground Forces and German Army was in the scene. At the end of it,estimated  84% of the city 84%: with industrial infrastructure and historic monuments destroyed at 90%, and residential buildings at 72% were demolished.

After War, it was considered to move the capital another city, but it was rebuild. There are two reasons behind it. One is that Polish patriots who had fought in the resistance argued that the historical architectural substance of Warsaw represented the Polish nation and should be rebuilt. The other one is Politics. Stalin, who was preparing for the Yalta conference, needed international recognition.

Phoenix Era

There are two main strategies for rebirthing of Old Historical Warsaw. These are “Re-building the Old” and “Constructing the New”.  Re-building the old was supplied with reconstruction or preservation. It was made by helping of Venetian painter Bernardo Bellotto’s 1770s paintings and recorded documents. There are two main points while reconstructing, integrity and authenticity. Other strategy which is constructing the new was affected from two points, Pabst’s Plan and Soviet Period. While constructing to main transportation network and development areas, they benefited from Pabst Plan. After Soviet troops took over, much of the city was rebuilt in the communist style: fast, cheap, and big. They built apartment blocks, wide avenues, and heavy grey buildings. It was communist ideology in architectural form.

Authors: Didem Türk, Fethiye Arslantaş