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Varsovians: Marlena Happach

Marlena Happach

Chief Architect for Warsaw, architect, co-organizer of “Warsaw Under Construction”

Is there a chance that Defilad Square will live up to the dreams of the Warsaw residents?
– Absolutely yes. This year we are making „Step forward”. This is the motto of the 9th edition of the “Warsaw Under Construction” festival where we take an active part.

The space surrounding the Palace of Culture is like a wound in the middle of the capital. For ages, despite the attempts to regulate the town planning scheme of this space, not much has been achieved. We’ve been asking ourselves the same question whether to realize out-dated plans or invent everything from the beginning.

We would like to join forces of two initiatives – the Plac Defilad project and the “Warsaw Under Construction” festival. We are introducing scenographic elements at the square that will show the proportions of the future Central Square (which will only be a part of already existing Defilad Square). Simultaneously we are organizing a competition for the development of a functional–spatial concept of Central Square which will be presented for the public debate. The competition is in process and the winners will be known on 6th November.

It is a difficult place, still not coherent. There is a parking area, bus station, two private plots with food booths. Does a city have any tools to fight with this chaos? Will there be another kebab bars in the shape of planes?
– Realization of the museum projects, theatre, underground parking and square is the first step. It is necessary to regulate the ownership issues. Chaos breeds chaos – in unorganized surrounding there are many makeshifts. We are improving legal tools which will protect our space against the flow of rubbish.

Will we live to see the opening of the Museum of Modern Art and TR Warszawa at Defilad Square? Many people are already losing hope.
– Maybe sometimes we are threading water but we don’t give up. I believe that we will not only live to see it but also that the next president will cut the ribbon. Our goal for the upcoming year – to dig a shovel.

„Warsaw Under Construction” starts this weekend 16th-17th September with the „Squares in the square” project. It will serve as a background for the festival events – an outline of the future Central Square will be painted at Defilad Square along with other well known squares from different parts of the world.

Photo: Filip Klimaszewski.

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