Pkin by Jacek Fota
Pałac Kultury i Nauki w Warszawie – PKIN
The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw – less and less a symbol of Stalinist domination, more and more an icon of the city. It evokes strong emotions all the while remaining largely unexplored and as such a tad alien.
At the time of planning, in 1952, the monumental structure was intended to transform the scale of Warsaw cityscape. The skyscrapers that now cluster to the west of the Palace compete with the building. Nonetheless, due to vast and empty parade grounds surrounding it, the Palace towers over Warsaw thus far unthreatened. After 1989 its demolition was repeatedly debated, albeit never seriously considered. In 2007 the building was finally listed.
The Palace was erected in the years 1952-55 by 3,500 Soviet builders on the bombed 19th century quarters in the city centre. The bulk of construction costs was covered by the Soviet government. Lev Rudnev, the Palace’s chief designer, modelled the project on the Stalinist “Seven Sisters” skyscrapers in Moscow, themselves inspired by American architecture.
The general impression of the viewer is one of distance, which enhances the mysteries of what is shown. The viewer also feels overcome by the sheer number and size of the many magnificent structural elements, as they mix with items neglected or in disrepair, mere reflections of the “glory” of former times. One can let one’s imagination take a journey, thinking of events that once gave even more luster to the structure than may be the case today. The images of this astute photographer are well composed and sequenced, and it is a pleasure to wander through the volume from beginning to end.
Text by Gerhard Clausing found on the thephotobook Blog