Monday, April 07, 2008

The Capital

Last month I went to Warsaw - to work. Yes, I do work in Poland. As I go there, it is usually for few days only. I get out on the train station (what a place!), run to the Złote Tarasy shopping centre to get cigarettes and newspapers, and then to work. Day and night I usually spend in front of the computer, checking layouts etc, and after sending the magazine to print, I go to Złote Tarasy again, for more newspapers and more cigarettes and get on my 6-hour train to Berlin. Basically that is how it looks like. But the reason I write about Warsaw is that I wanted to share some observations, maybe some of you will understand this city, well I don't. And I mean architecture.

I admit I love the Palace of Culture. I know, I know, it is a symbol of the soviet occupation - the palace was a gift from Stalin, but still, it is a symbol of the city as well, after all these years. It could be used in a cool way, just taking examples from Berlin's Palast der Republik! Ah, but who would listen?
Instead the Palace is surrounded by a very sprawled urban tissue, no sense, no planning, no idea. It is the Capital for God's sake!
Coming back to Złote Tarasy - a big shopping center near the main train station. I admit - it is practical, while traveling, as practical as Berlin's pink Alexa (a shopping center on Alexanderplatz). It is not the only thing these two places have in common. Their function, "practical" location... and form. An ugly form. Let's say - very ugly form. As for Alexa, ok, I like pink as a color, but not on such a building. As for Złote Tarasy ("Golden Terraces") - oh, they are definitely not golden. Gray, they are gray.
Here you have a detail from Złote Tarasy:

And here is Alexa:

Dear Capitals, take an example from this provincial city called Poznań (my hometown). Shopping centers can be designed differently, they can be visually pleasant.



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