‘Remember the gardens/After all you came from there’ – wrote the Polish songwriter and poet Jonasz Kofta. These architects remembered and wanted to share their passion with others.
Franciszek Krzywda-Polkowski (1881-1949)
While the West mastered modernism and it was architects that involved themselves in landscaping, in Poland, new rules for composing greenery were met without enthusiasm. In a profession dominated by gardeners, Franciszek Krzywda-Polkowski stood out as a devotee of detail. He graduated with a degree in architecture in Moscow and studied urban design in London. He taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, where he served as dean of the Department of Interior Architecture for multiple terms. He continued his education in Boston and New York. After returning to Poland, he organised and led the pioneering Department of Landscape Architecture and Park Studies in Skierniewice. Krzywda-Polkowski also worked in landscape design and his most famous project is the park in Żelazowa Wola, which occupied him until the end of his life.
Alina Scholtz (1908-1996)
Alina Scholtz was among the first attendees of Krzywda-Polkowski’s classes in Skierniewicz. Working in nurseries around Lublin further aroused her passion for landscaping and convinced her to give up on her initial plan to study art history. She spent time in England, where she further explored the field of landscape planning. In Poland, she had already earned the title of landscape engineer. She became a founding member of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA). Her work included the concept for the green areas of the horse track in Służewiec and the Piłsudski Mound in Kraków. She also designed the gardens of the Polish embassies in Beijing and Phoenicia. She is also responsible for the popular model of private lawns surrounded by arborvitae.
Gerard Ciołek (1909-1966)
The revival of historic gardens was Gerard Ciołek’s passion. Nieborów, Arkadia and Rogalin are just a few of the over one hundred reconstruction projects he supervised. In 1937 he received an honourary diploma at an exhibition in Paris for his map of Gothic architecture across Europe. He also co-founded the Polish Polytechnic in Brussels. He loved mountains and folk architecture. As a young man he staged an exhibition of his oil paintings of mountain landscapes. He died in the Tatras, leaving behind an impressive body of work, gathered in the so-called ‘Ciołek Folio’.
Władysław Niemirski (1914-2001)
Like his teacher Krzywda-Polkowski, Niemirski was interested in urban planning and landscape design. Among his many realised designs is the 640-hectare Silesian Culture and Leisure Park in Chorzów, which won recognition at foreign symposia and exhibitions. Niemirski supervised the conception of the book Shaping Green Spaces, the basic textbook for students of landscape architecture. In retirement he took to painting, creating primarily landscapes and images of trees.
Longin Majdecki (1925-1997)
Majdecki believed ‘studying the history of gardens shapes artistic taste’ and his passion was infectious. Majdecki is the author of many books and articles, published both in Polish and the international press. He designed over 350 projects, most of which were realised. These include the Central Park of Culture in Powiśle, the Fountain Park in Warsaw and the revival of parks in Opinogóra, Sokolow, Rozalin, Radziejowice and many others.
Janusz Bogdanowski (1929-2003)
It is said of Bogdanowski that he was ‘uncompromising and totally devoted to the protection of his country’ and a ‘defender of the works of nature and culture’. He had close to a thousand publications, several designs in urban planning, landscape architecture, conservation and revitalisation, as well as an original method of assessing architectural and landscape units and interiors (JARK-WAK). In simplistic terms, his method consists of conscious shaping of the landscape and the attribution of value to its resources. The space of nature should be treated as a mirror of culture – by influencing it, we change ourselves.
Sources: "Pionierzy polskiej architektury krajobrazu" opr. red. A. Böhm, W. Kosiński [w:] "Czasopismo Techniczne – Architektura", z. 5A/2007; R. Marcinek, Z. Myczkowski, "Wspomnienie o prof. Januszu Bogdanowskim".
Originally written in Polish by Agnieszka Warnke, translated by AGA, 22 Jun 2017