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  • Writer's pictureMiastoprojekt

1971: THE PREFABRICATED BLOCKS

You can smile at the sight of it, you can honestly hate it, but one thing is certain - it is hard not to notice the prefabricated buildings. The technology that we know from our streets has been developed and applied in Western Europe (the Netherlands, France, Sweden, Finland). In Poland, the first block of prefabricated panels was built in 1957 in the Warsaw district of Bemowo.


50 years have passed since the first realization concepts for housing estates were created in Wrocław, thanks to architects from Miastoprojekt Wrocław, which were to be a response to the famous promise of Edward Gierek - an apartment for every family. This is the result of the post-war demographic boom and the insufficient number of flats for young people who, when entering adulthood and starting families, had nowhere to live.


Szczepin - the beginning of the 1970s. / photo source: polska-org.pl


How were the blocks built in this technology created? From ready-made prefabricated elements. Large-size concrete or reinforced concrete fragments traveled to construction sites, which were then mounted in specific places. The first prefabricated factories, popularly known as "house factories", were launched in Wrocław in 1971. There were several systems throughout Poland, within which they were built with the use of this technology.

Nowy Dwór estate - 2005 / photo source: polska-org.pl

Popowice estate on a postcard, 1977 / photo source: polska-org.pl Daily "Wrocław Evening" appreciated the project of W.J.Molicki, writing "that also from a large panel one can build something interesting, functional, breaking with monotony, which is already traditional in design". The number of inhabitants of the large-panel housing estate often exceeded 20,000, so the assumptions were to be self-sufficient - kindergarten, school, post office, supermarket, playground are elements that were included in the design and built together with the estate.

Today we design and build differently, because we also live differently from the first inhabitants of apartment blocks from the 1970s. After all, the housing estates created in the panel technology are very characteristic and have simply become part of the fabric of Polish cities. It is also our architectural heritage. You can view the great album designs at the @Museum of Architecture website, which provides a digitized collection of archival materials: http://ma.wroc.pl/pl/kolekcja/wyszukikuje/?q=wielka%20p%C5%82yta

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