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Za Zelazna Brama Residential Estate

Warsaw, Poland
1 of 4

Za Zelazna Brama (Behind the Iron Gate) residential complex has been built between 1965-1972 on the former Warsaw Ghetto area. As the entire venue has been completely destroyed in 1943/1944, it was decided that deserted area in the center of Polish capital will be populated by nearly 25 000 new inhabitants. Up to date 'Za Zelazna Brama' is one of the biggest residential areas in Warsaw and constitutes one of its kind examples of residential complex based on CIAM congress concepts of modern architecture.


The architectural winning project of Andrzej Skopinski and his team, follows Le Corbusier's Plan Voisin concept developed in 1920'. What Le Corbusier did not manage to execute in Paris, has became real in the strict center of Warsaw in 1960's. As Le Corbusier has proclaimed the new architecture shall be built on cleaned terrain free of old structures and city grids, this was even more feasible after the enormous desctructions of WWII in many European cities. Paradoxically 'Za Zelazna Brama' residential estate has been designed when the concepts of CIAM congress were getting more and more outdated and not suitable for post-war realities. Thus finally the creation of Warsaw's complex coincided with demolition of Pruitt-Igoe residential estate in St.Louis which sets unofficial end of CIAM modernist theories.


The entire complex consists of 19 blocks and a couple of smaller commercial buildings serving as shops and restaurants. Each block, 15 floors height, was initially planned to follow Le Corbusier's 5 points of modern architecture, but only part of this has been finally executed. All in all supporting walls on the ground floor has been replaced by a grid of reinforced concrete columns and covered by a glass curtains, while the facade with its horizontal windows has been given a free design. However social programme with roof gardens and green terraces was excluded. Despite popular believe blocks were not made of prefabricated elements as many other residential complexes in Poland in 1970's. Their reinforced monolith concrete construction elements made directly on the construction site gives them unusual resistance.

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ibex73, April 3rd, 2015
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