Banku Rozwoju Eksportu Bank (BRE)
- historical shell for new demands
During the Second World War Warsaw was effectively raised to the ground. After the war the mighty effort to rebuild the city began. More or less identical reproductions of pre-war buildings appeared all over Warsaw. The work was helped along by high levels of craftsmanship and good knowledge of old building techniques. The result of these efforts is impressive.
Present day Warsaw has a considerable range of buildings, seemingly from various historical eras and environments. In truth most buildings date back to the post-war years.
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Construction years: 1997-98
Architect: Polsko-Belgijska Pracownia Architektury PROJECT, J. Czyz, and others
Recreate or build new?
Among architects and cultural workers the debate on the right approach has continued for centuries. The ever applying question is: do we recreate the old or build new?
If you select the former option a clear position must be adopted. You either recreate a special historical period, or allow a number of historical features to be included. Opponents of this view feel that every age must have its own profile.
In the New Theatre Square the Jablonowski Palace adjoined the City Hall. During the 19th century the palace served as a Town Hall. One suggestion was to use the building as a hotel. But now market forces have decided that a bank would be ideal for both buildings.
The Jablonowski Palace and the City Hall have been refurbished and restored to their original condition facing the square. The concrete walls have been clad in brickwork and then polished. In this way the original wall thickness is emphasised.
Ornamental cast iron features
The roof is made of copper, and the ridges have ornamental cast iron features such as gaffs, spires and parapets. Columns and capitals are made of sandstone or imitation sandstone. The façade had been faithfully reconstructed, while the interior has modern floor levels. The result is that the joists can be seen in the high arched windows in the evening when the building is illuminated.
The BRE bank has moved into the City Hall. In 1998 the building won the first prize in the Polish architectural competition Zycie W Architekturze. The category was "Best Refurbishment". Facing the yard a modern extension has been added, containing a glass-covered atrium surrounded by offices.
Work in the BRE is of an administrative nature. There is no customer reception. The workplaces are in open-plan offices interspersed with cellular offices. The installations beneath the floor are accessible via trapdoors in the textile carpet. The acoustics in the building are good. The working environment is modern and practical. The materials used are of high quality throughout. On the floor oak parquet, white marble or textile carpets have been used. The lifts and banisters in the atrium are made of matt steel and blown glass.