Until World War II, the project site was occupied by factories, markets and shops. Inhabited mainly by Polish Jews, it vibrated with trade and neighbour relations. During the war it became the area of the Warsaw ghetto which was totally destroyed by the Nazis in 1943, and the vast majority of its Jewish inhabitants was exterminated. After the war this nearly empty area was adapted to meet the basic need of the time - housing. In 1961 a competition was held and a design consisting of 19 sixteen storey blocks of flats was chosen in accordance with the latest ideas of functionalism and the Athens Charter. Behind the Iron Gate Estate (Osiedle ZaZelazna Brama) was completed in 1965-1972.

ARCHITECTS | NEA + Victor Locuratolo


TYPOLOGY | Urban strategy, urban design


The recycling of a modernist architecture: a new urban fabric instead of tabula rasa

At first we could consider that Za Zelazna brama is a sad heritage of the modernist theories:
Overscaled buildings, homogenious facades combining very small residential units - an architecture which doesn’t fit to its context. In consequence the public space becomes leftovers of the city. However with time, the residential buildings of Za Zelazna Brama acquired a certain symbolic value (as described in testimonies of residents of the sector and the documentary Za Zelazna Brama).

The Concept of the The Block Remix

The architectural scale project site presents a lack of boundaries. The creation of porosity and architectural sequences in combination with the existing buildings was necessary to recreate a sense of urbanity.
The project proposes on the four sides of the block a new cityscape, a porous and dynamic limit. The residual existing green spaces are replaced by lively parcs, playgrounds, sport fields and vegetable gardens. The proposition of an architecture frame to the public space and not vice versa. 

Dzięki uprzejmości Narodowego Archiwum Cyfrowego (NAC)

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Nathalie Eldan Architecture 2021
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