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Quadrant House

KWK Promes Robert Konieczny | Robert Konieczny

Poland is a cultural laboratory that for years has produced many great architectural surprises. Over the last 20 years, a group of talented professionals has given us a series of projects that have met with great international interest for their formal yet innovative architectural language based on a scrupulous reinterpretation of modern and contemporary architecture coupled with an unusual conceptual approach. These young analytically-minded architects able to combine innovative techniques and materials have come to the fore thanks also to several discerning local administrations that recognized the potential of public competitions as a means of introducing innovative formal solutions to reinterpret urban spaces with highly poetic yet steadfastly pragmatic programs. Of course, it is always difficult to judge the historical importance of any current trend, including architecture, and whether we are looking at a regional (Polish) school of architecture or if this is a more global evolution of contemporary architectural design. What we do know for sure is that architect Robert Konieczny has for years been writing forceful new pages in the history of architecture. Unikato Completed in Katowice last year, this condominium is a successful experiment. An extremely low budget was coupled with a simple yet ingenious program to produce a surprisingly effective result. A large former mining and industrial city in southern Poland, the capital of Silesia, Katowice, has seen its population dwindle and its town center become a place of offices and retail, pushing out the residential population. It was in this context that Konieczny, founder of the KWK Promes practice, reinvented the classical Modernist condominium, mixing conceptual features with unexpected and highly visible add-ons to create what could be called a manifesto. In the past, fine dusts from the nearby factories coated the white façades of the worker apartment blocks with a layer of black soot, against...

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