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Varsovians: Tomasz Fudala

A curator of the Museum of Modern Art and the “Warsaw Under Construction” festival which year by year sheds light on the burning problems of the city such as reprivatisation and housing. This time we will talk about Defilad Square. The main events of the “Warsaw Under Construction” festival take place during the upcoming weekend: an exhibition at the Studio Theatre and the activities at the square.

Defilad Square is a place where the Museum of Modern Art is about to stand. For you it is a blessing and a curse at the same time.
– It is some kind of a black hole, which absorbs many problems of our city – a battle field for conflicts over different needs and interests.

Reprivatisation, unauthorized building works, concrete instead of greenery, negligence of public space, billboards, demolition of valuable architecture, car dominance, underpasses – all of these things exist in the surrounding of Defilad Square and the Dmowskiego Roundabout. Paradoxically, it is one of the ugliest places in our city.
– I am an optimist. I think, at this point, Warsaw will cope with all these problems. Level of the debate about city is constantly rising.

I envy you this optimism, because I feel rather regress. I have an impression that we could easily show the visitors this place describing how the city looked like in the 90s. What makes you so optimistic?
– Marlena Happach as a Chief Architect for Warsaw and support she gets from non-governmental organizations. That is why this edition of the “Warsaw Under Construction” festival is made in close cooperation with her office.

To make it clear, Defilad Square is not the only problem of Warsaw. The city needs to be mended and we need to work locally on development of boroughs. But the square has its potential. It’d be a pity if it stood empty.

Is there a chance for a change?
– Some time ago a competition for the development of a functional-spatial concept of Central Square was announced. Finally, architects will deal with it comprehensively. I count on interesting projects which we could discuss during the festival. Five final proposals will be showcased at the exhibition organized by the Office of Architecture and Spatial Planning at the Palace of Culture and Science in November. As they are preliminary concepts, they will be presented for the public debate during which everyone could express their own opinion.

At Defilad Square somethings has already been happening.
– By means of colours we drew outlines of another well known squares from different parts of the world just to illustrate the scale of our square. It is worth going on 30th floor of the Palace of Culture and Science and seeing the whole picture.

What is the colour of the future Central Square?
– Red. It will be twice as big as the Old Town – 120 m x 120 cm. Right now we are putting metal sticks to mark the place where it will exist. This way we will be able to visualize it one to one. So far this place has been off-putting, we felt here like on Mars, not in the city.

At the “Defilad Square – A step forward” exhibition, which opens this Sunday at the Studio Theatre, we will take a closer look at Warsaw squares (with Puszka Foundation and Bęc Zmiana). We will show how to build next coalitions in public spaces. Such exemplary alliance is already being created at Defilad Square: the Museum of Modern Art and TR Warszawa. Such change started some time ago with Bar Studio and Grzegorz Lewandowski who initiated cultural activities at the square.

At the exhibition we will also see examples of changes which took place at different squares for example those of the Eastern Bloc and what were the results. It is very interesting what is happening with these performance squares designed for parades, defilades and national events. We no longer need parades but friendly public spaces like our wild right bank of the river. This recreational route is a revolutionary project for me. I want to live in this city because of such undertakings. Local activities in such places like “Przyjaźń” housing estate or Jazdów can be good scenarios for Warsaw. It is not true that nothing good has been done here. We can refer to many things.

Exhibition opening: Sunday, 8th October, 1 PM, Studio Theatre and Palace of Culture and Science. Admission free. More about the “Warsaw Under Construction” festival here…

Photo: Aga Bilska

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