BI Talks #2 - Biś Lisowski & Jurij Sadowski | SARP | A Brief History of Architecture
Hello. My name is Julien Fersing Welcome to BI talks, Serie of podcasts, dedicated to architect and engineers' vision of the actual construction markets. We look at the different trends, both on the constructions, but also in the design phase of projects. The first serie is dedicated to the Polish market. And, today we have, Bohdan Lisowski and Jurij Sadowski, 2 Polish, I would say, main influencer in terms of the architecture. They are representing SARP So the Polish association ofArchitects and we will explore today the different, aspects of the construction markets in Poland and also education of architects and having like overview of the impact of technology in those fields.
Bohdan, Jurij welcome to a BI talks. Hello Hello It's a pleasure to have you today, both of you. I'm happy that we managed to find also some, some time, today to sit down and talk what's happening on the construction markets on the architectural market and specifically on the Polish market. To start, I would like, Bohdan for you to introduce yourself
and to talk a bit about SARP, its mission and the overall organization of the, of the Polish association. Thank you for the invitation and a great introduction. Um, maybe I will start from my name.
I am Officially, my name is Bohdan, but I'm not used to this name. Everyone's calls me Bis and This is the, the name, which I'm familiar to so, So please. I will continue with Bis. Of course. Going to the association of all Polish architects. I'm working since a year, 2000 in the, um some levels of the association of Polish architects. I started, of course, in Cracow. I came, I came from Cracow in the main board of Cracow branch.
Then, um, I will say since 2012 until 2019 president of the Cracow branch. And since the 1st of December 2019, I ended up president of the association of Polish architects here in Warsaw. Um, some, some information about the association, the, um, the roots we have in the Association of Cracow, technical associations. We started 1877.
So, so we counted more than 140 years as the story of association of Polish Architects. Right now it is 24 branches in 24 cities in Poland, more or less four and half thousand members. In Warsaw, the headquarter of our association is located in the palace of Zamoyski on the Foksal street, beautiful place. And we are doing, Maybe most important thing... This is in my opinion, the honor price for the best architect in Poland. It is the price started in 1966.
Uh, last, architect last laureate was the Zbigniew Maćków from Wroclaw. Uh, but also association is arranging competitions, architectural competition in Poland, started in 19th century. Before the second world war, when the association in this form was established in 1934, is the main, main thing we are organizing. So the competitions are numbered.
We just passed the 1000 of that. JF: It's really impressive BL: So on our counter we have probably 1007 right now. And a lot of them are also not numbered.
So I think this is a second, um, amount like that. So this is that what we do. We have the special division, or we call this Collegium of competition judges, which is, which are nominated and elected by the colleagues. So this is the best recommendation.
And they are also our members for judging the architectural competitions. We are also doing a lot for the young people, like, uh, like the competition, uh, best diploma of the year. We started more than 50 years ago.
And of course, price of the year for the realization which is finished at the year before the price is given. So, so, so it, it is many, many things we are arranging also the publications, the exhibitions, the, the lectures, this is what the association is doing. Thank you very much for this, uh, really detailed introduction. And, and I really appreciate history which is behind that.
We can legitimately say that there is a huge, like, I believe it's one of the oldest association probably. Yes. From the technical or the association, which, uh, for the, this, this profession, which is related somehow to creation, is one of the oldest. Yes. Really impressive. Yeah.
And for sure with such historian track of architecture. I think there is many trends to be able to see the evolution. Yes. Yeah.
Jurij on your sides something which is not casual for me, was like to meet with you the first time and knowing that you speaking seven, eight languages. JF: If I remember. JS: I'm, I'm speaking fluently, more or less fluently JS: Five I think JF: Five languages JS: but then I also have like basic knowledge of German, Latin And I started to learn Armenian. Okay. Yesterday I had my first exam.
Interesting. It was funny to mention, because like the first time we met, we just spend the whole meeting, speaking in Polish, English, and then you just said to me "Hey, but wait, I speak French." Yeah.
JF: And then we just like moved JS: That was a funny discover. Yeah, exactly. So Jurij you are leading also events happening for the Warsaw branch of SARP.
Could you also tell us a bit more about the organization on your side? I understand there is a lot of events and presentations, which are done also. Yes. But I would be a local Patriot and I will talk a little bit about the Warsaw branch of the association of Polish architects. So, uh, we are more or less so far the biggest branch. Which is more or less normal, by the way, I have more than 1000 members.
We have about, I don't know, 12, 15 sections or teams that are grouping the people who went to do something, for example, painting or for example, sustainable development and et cetera, et cetera. So I'm a member of, uh, the association since, uh, 1993. and a bit, I wasn't really very active in it at the very beginning. Yeah. Oh, I was a member just doing something from time to time. but then, uh, I became much more active about, I think six, seven years ago.
So I was a treasurer, uh, at this association then I was representative of, uh, for contacts with partners at the Warsaw branch. And two years ago, I created something that they called an Even Team, which is SEKCJA WYDARZEŃ PRZY ODDZIALE WARSZAWSKIM STOWARZYSZENIA ARCHITEKTÓW POLSKICH because we felt that we need to do better, like more professionally and... just better. We are trying to focus on several topics that we would like to continue as for example, circular economy in construction, or, and we have also another cycle, the presentation of ourselves. So it is, it is, um, a series of events called the Architects of the Warsaw Branch of the association of Polish Architects. Where we invite some teams, some offices, some architects to talk about themselves.
And it is very welcomed and we have always a big audience and, it was very interesting for colleagues and for students and for the general audience also. And then myself, I'm an architect. I'm an entrepreneur. And also I'm very, very active in the Armenian society in Poland. That will be interesting too, to ask you, since there is like, also like big heritage in terms of architecture, um, also like both on the, on the Polish market, but I believe also in Armenia. What would be
one project, which really resonate in your? One project, which is build, not build, historical, or not, but one project which, really speak in your heart. And if you can tell us about. JS: I think those things that are more close to my heart are classics and what they say simple is always beautiful. For example, the National Museum of Art in Warsaw, which is wonderful, wonderful building. And it's been renovated lately. and it is something majestic, you know. Really you have a feeling that
it's something and it is simple. It's so simple. And it was good, it is good and it will be good. As a lot of things by Frank Lloyd Wright, I might say another Master. I've been to United States and I've seen some works by him
and saying Jesus hundreds years ago and it is still modern. Yeah. JF: It's impressive. JS: So modern.
Oui, I've been like, two years ago, actually in Phoenix visiting, like one of his realization, the residence, the house for his grandma. That how it was called. Yes. And it's impressive. Yes.
When you see in nowadays context, you see like already some early thoughts about domotic, like all those... I was like looking about the tech parts and the organization of the rooms, the practicality, and it's, it felt like that it was just like designed like a couple years ago. Not like hundred years.
Exactly. We've been, for example, in Scottsdale in Arizona and the things that are there it is... Oh, okay...
You know, it was, the project was not done like 10 years ago, but it still looks modern. Then what we've seen in Chicago, Robbie house, wow, you know, it's cubes, vertical, horizontal. Nothing special, but wonderful, the proportions and it is good and it will be good forever.
Bis, do you, do you share that? Because ... on your side.. BL: This is very interesting your conversation about Frank Lloyd Wright because if I can find in my memories, the building, which gives the highest impression in my life, it was the one of the buildings next to Phoenix, Arizona from, by Frank Lloyd Wright, in the twentieth century. It is hotel. I have opportunity to visit this building by, let's say some accident. BL: It was not the trip to... JS: By mistake...
Maybe, maybe not by mistake, but in the way from Phoenix to Vegas. And it was on, on the way. and when I came to this building, when I pass the door and each detail, even the, the pillows on the sofas in the lobby, the knobs, the door locker, and it was designed by the architect.
So this, this is complete design, not only the building, but also that all interior. It gives me some discover that that architecture can be so complete. I never feel like that before visiting this building. And after of course, I was in the Guggenheim museum in New York, which is completely different comparing to those building by Wright especially Robbie house and this Arizona buildings. Going to the to the buildings from 21st century.
I like very much the Oslo Opera House by Snohetta. I think that this is a masterpiece of architecture. I can say that I was two times in this building, outside, inside, this is, this is building, which is not only the opera house, this is the invitation for the people to the very high level of culture. Which Opera itself is. That's they can, they can walk on the roof of the building and be a part of the, of the event through this big window. So they can even without any ticket, see what happened inside, the crowd, the, the spectators.
So I think that is much more idea in this, in this building than just the opera house itself. JF: To invite in people and feel the connection between... BL: And also it, it shows this Scandinavian culture perfectly, so equality and democratic. Very interesting. Both, examples that we were giving, really. Projects
which leave you with emotion. Yes You're just speechless and you are just contemplating those buildings. JS: About this completeness... I remind, it reminds me about Unity Church by Frank Lloyd Wright, also in Chicago, that I visited also and after I was really also overwhelmed to see that not only the building itself was designed like by him. But just everything, every detail inside...the lamps, the furniture, the
Well, just everything, just everything. Right. And it all matched. Let's talk about the Polish market. Also Like Poland has also a huge architectural legacy.
I was like recently in Toruń visiting also like the hometown of Nicolas Copernic and I was impressed also with all the connection with the historical parts. Warsaw was a city which were almost fully destroyed during the second world war, um, which leave like a big, um, design, which needs, needed to be done. And I would like to, to understand what is the approach to mix between traditional town...
like for example, Torun, where we have, we keep this traditional part and the cosmopolitan aspect of Warsaw. How to find the equilibrium? How do you mix like the past with the new, with such a legacy? I would say, well, the distraction of, of the city was a tragedy on one part, but also an opportunity, we might say on the other part. But, but this opportunity, in my opinion, wasn't explored to the full extent. It's a problem of zoning. Zoning, zoning, zoning, and the master plans. And, uh, let's say planning and design on a much bigger scale. We have some general rules, I would say.
So we have some parts that are preserved like Old Town, the Royal Route, which is from, uh, the old town to the Wilanow Palace, with Royal Castle, Belweder and wow so on. Wonderful streets. Yeah... Krakowskie Przedmiescie and all that, which is really a wonderful axe we would say. But a lot of like big axes and... big plans from the past been a little bit lost somewhere, as for example "Os Saska" which is the Saxon axe, which was surprisingly closed by turning, which was a masterpiece of engineering, turning a palace of 90 degree, of a huge building, not far from here.
But it closed the axe, which in its idea was an axe that should be open. So well, nowaday we are working on a new, let's call Studium Zagospodarowania Przestrzennego i Rozwoju which is a study about the development of the city and let's hope that it will be a new opening. After war, real estate, the ownership of the land in Warsaw, that's a huge problem because there are a lot of questions that are not resolved, which is causing problem of development, because some parcels are just frozen because they, there are some questions and it is also problem linked to that, that only about 40% of the surface of Warsaw is covered by the local plans, which are the documents that are saying what should and could be built, how, in which way, which is not very much. And then if you don't have a plan like this, the building permits are given for individual parcels, which might be a problem because, well, you know, it doesn't...sometime it's not linked. JF: Bis in such context, what is a good architect in your opinion today? This is a very good question. Because when was some research done by asking the owners of the architectural offices in Poland, what the qualification what the skills are most important for hiring the people, the first rank was honest.
So... Not, not the language, not the digital preparation. Because in my opinion, the rest is less or more easy to upgrade for the, for the young people. So in this, in this meaning, when you're asking about the architects in Poland, I think that's one of the greatest can for sure preserve the context of that what is around their work and in my opinion, there is no architecture without the context.
It's hard to imagine, especially in Poland, maybe, maybe somewhere else it is possible. So we have a lot of great examples, for keeping the historical monuments and the preservation, by adding the new modern architecture in the proper way. So very, very not loud not No shout architecture. In this matter
I think that's the architects need to have some, let's say self-control for adding a new building or adding a new architecture with preserving that, that what is around. That's really interesting looking at the different projects. I have in my mind, for example, Fuzja in Lodz, also there is Browary Warszawskie, sorry for the pronunciation.
I hope I'm good with that. Um, all those are examples of mixing, yes, integrating the past, but by giving still a touch of the, also a bit of the future. And I understand that it's really a challenge.. BL: For example, we have the great, the great example from the last year Elektrownia Powisle. So this is the building which has given back to the citizens. So, so, real industrial building abandoned with the very, very great project by APA Wojciechowski now is one of the, of the center where the, the people, from from Warsaw can be a part of the historical monument given back to the people.
Right, So it's not really, only a trend, it comes way deeper than just making something which look good it's comes to the values that that's old architects cherish the most, and what's make a good architects, which is like the honesty and the integration. The architecture during, the buildings, during its period of the lifecycle very often change the function, So, that's why we have lofts for, for dwellings, for living, in the industrial zones. And it could be great new area of the cities. We changed the offices for, for flats.
We change flats for different, different things. So, so it always, it is about, adding some extra value for the architecture, if the time is coming. We have examples from the sixties.
Great modern Polish architecture for, for example, from my city, Cracow is the hotel Cracovia. Beautiful building, let's say the, the star, from opening in the 1965. One of the best buildings at that time. Then the building lose the function of hotel because of some requirements.
I don't want to explain that, but, but now is probably, it will be a part of the national museum in Cracow. And, if it will be possible, maybe a museum of architecture and design. So this is a point that can turn the architecture. Well, usually in that context, especially in the United States it would be demolished because the rate of the ground is so high so it could be the shopping mall or something like that, uh, or condos, or, you know... Thanks God, this building is secure right now and, and maybe, and will get a new life. Really interesting to, to see, yes like the importance.
I think it's something which, as you said that, is more similar for the European market, like the heritage and to keep this heritage than replacing. One element, which is directly connected and Jurij it's a topic that is close to your heart is sustainability. How to design today, like a building, in terms of sustainability, not only for what I understand the energetical aspect, but also the whole lifecycle of the building and the different usage. Like the example that Bis was giving with the hotel, which were not a hotel and then a museum. How to design such a place and have all these parameters, when you create a building. JS: From one side, I will say,
thank you very much for this question. Although maybe I'm not the best person to answer from a practical point of view because to tell the truth, uh, I've been proactive as an architect that it was some time ago, but one of the things, the topics very close to my heart, is as you told it the sustainability, sustainable development and it's not only that it is trendy and we have these sustainable development goals of the United Nations, but, it is a need, so that's really a big, big challenge for the architects, and we see such an effort from the designers to make, to imagine how it could work. So let's say thinking about flexibility of plans, flexibility of functions. Yes. And I would say smoothly we're going to topic that are close to the heart of all of us, which is BIM, because that's a tremendous tool that also enable a modeling virtually before actually building in reality, give a very, very powerful tool of mastering everything, and let's say also imagine what it could be like. I met, an architect from Netherlands who is designing pre-cast, pre-fabricated buildings that might be, built then just unscrew, let's say, and moved. He made quite a lot of buildings like this, and he's
thinking about the whole life cycle. So the carbon footprint and what it will became, whether it is we can reuse it or recycle it. And I think that's, that's really a big, big challenge, especially that the developers that are let's say that, that, that, are paying for, for the investment they don't really care about it, because they want to build, sell and go to the next construction. But the people who will live with it, who actually are the users and those who pay for it and will have to live with it they don't have very much to say.
So there's a very, a huge role of the designer. Bis, I would like to ask you, how do you prepare students to such a big challenge which are coming? I think that's, that's, going back to this conversation about the sustainable design is also the thing that's it started probably 20 years ago the, the talks about it. And according to all what you say about the carbon footprint about the reuse, recycle, and so on, the awareness about the sustainable design, we also call this, the responsible architecture. So, to build, our design, the facade of the building, according to the climate in that place where it is or that location, where it is located. Also the using the, the materials, local materials. So to avoid the long transportation for the construction material and so on and so on. And I think that we are right now in that point, the students of architecture have the quite good knowledge about that.
So they are prepared that it's not they can do what they want, but they have to do according to the climate change in the world and design with highest responsibility for that. So Jurij said about the calculating of the ground project and facility management, but I think that sometimes even that is not counted on. JS: No, of course not, it is something pretty new to take into account. BL: We have very bad examples from the 90s in Poland, when the Aqua parks was built in the small cities in different places. Okay.
It was quite cheap to build and extremely expensive to, to manage because of the heating. Yeah. BL: And, and this is very bad example JL: thermovision cameras should be like red red red... so this is, this is the example we should show for, for students of architecture that they need to take into consideration and they need to take care about the whole life cycles, even after, and design the reuse of the building. So like having like this full vision, yes Which is like really... JS: Nothing should be left to, let's say with the question mark.
According to the conversation that we had, I see that there are 3 main elements which come for what is today, the quality project. When we designed a building I see like, firstly, something, which is the core, the honesty that you mentioned, yes the honesty and the respect, because it starts from there. Then we have the aspects of the flexibility because taking into consideration that the building will not be always what it is right now and what we just talked about, the sustainability in the meaning, like thinking after, the building will be deconstructed also. So it's like a really wide... BL: including that, yes, but I think that it is very simple the three keys for the quality architecture, it is nothing new, Vitruvius said Utilitas, Firmitas, Venustas So three points It will be fixed together It gives the results JL: We're getting back to the sources.. BL: So, so from 2000 years, the receipt for the good architecture
is quite easy, but the rule of architecture is those three points make contemporary. So, so make it adjust to the, to the technology, to the needs, market needs and give in all those things more responsibility more, as you said, the respect for piece of art at the end of the building. Right. I would like to ask you a last question, especially to you Bis. Do you think that technology will kill the creativity? Because when I hear from Jurij all the parameters, which we need to take in consideration to design... BL: no, no, no this is that the way of thinking, the same of the, from the 18th century about the replacing the human work by the machines coming from England and, and, and trying to destroy those machines in fabric industry.
So, so I think it only can help, for example, quite a new thing is the generative design. So the architect is also the, some kind of the programmer who can adjust some things to get the best result, which is completely, completely impossible without those technology. Of course, you can have a luck and get these result by the talent, the creativity, intuition, and whatever else. But if you want to have the check this or double check this, you need a computer technology.
And according to the education, we also need to educate the young people, young architects, who, who will replace those, things of, that way of meaning of, of thinking about the design process, which we have right now. We had the two revolution in changing of the way to design. First was replacing the desk by computer. Yeah.
So this is very easy to understand from manual drafting to computer drafting. The second revolution is not so, not so significant because it is replacing the computer drafting by the parametric design. So, this is in the same environment, but the way of the thinking about design is completely different. Not all people can handle this and switch to that. So the future is in the young people and young hands for that.
I feel that we have our conclusion. That's like a... Thank you... I see that the, the importance, yes and that technology for what you're saying is here to enhance, and not to replace or reduce the BL: Definitely, definitely I'm sure that it never comes the time that's computer as the machine or cloud will design the architecture. This is, this is impossible. It can help a lot, it can replace a multi task of, of process. They, it can help to find the best solution, especially by simulation, which is a core thing for, sustainability, sustainable design, because simulation gives you a result related for example, for this carbon footprint.
Yes. So, so it always will be a human center of that. Thank you very much for this really in-depth conversation. I think for the students which are watching there is definitely a bright future in architectures and there is definitely like a big challenge to come with the respect of the past and what is coming. Any final words? Uh, yes.
I would like to add on the one thing, because it reminded me that among a lot of things that I've been doing in my life one of them was also teaching, academic teaching. For six years, I was teaching at the faculty of civil engineering, um easy thing, a computer aided design, and it's been actual there, and this is actual right now. And what Bis told, the computers, software it is only, they're only the tools.
So remember young people these are only the tools. So you're the master and you cannot be driven by those tools. Use them, but use your head and common sense. Thank you very much for your time. This closed that second episode of BI talks. We had like a real in-depth conversation about the
impact of architecture in the past, in the present, in the future. And never more than before technology will help enhance the process. Please. If you have any questions, follow us on the social media and share your thoughts about that. Until next time. Thank you very much, merci.