Romuald Loegler is an architect born on 28th July, 1940, in Sokołów Małopolski, a town in south-western Poland. His most important projects were built in Kraków. His projects outside this city include a residential building in Berlin, a church in Rzeszów and single villas in Łódź and near Warsaw. He also developed unrealised designs for foreign competitions and exhibitions which took place in Paris and Berlin, amongst others. The creations of the architect consist predominantly of logical, geometrical forms which are often based on cubic modules and decorated in the high-tech style.
An architect born on 28th July, 1940, in Sokołów Małopolski. His most important projects were built in Kraków.
In 1964, he graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of Kraków University of Technology. A year later, he started his professional practice as a member of the architectural team of the Bureau of Technical Projects and Services in Kraków. In 1974, together with Jacek Czekaj and Marek Piotorowski, Loegler founded an authorial team and in 1987, the architect from Sokołów Małopolski opened his own architectural bureau - Atelier Loegler and partners. In 1999 Loegler received a doctorate in technical sciences from the Faculty of Architecture of Warsaw University of Technology.
Apart from practicing architecture, Loegler is active as an animator of architectural life – in 1985 he co-created the Architecture Biennale in Kraków, in the years 1985-1991 he acted as editor-in-chief of the magazine Architect, and since 1992, he has been the chief editor of the publishing house RAM, which publishes the monthly Architektura i Biznes.
Loegler’s designs are chiefly kept in the high-tech style. He readily uses materials that may be associated with modernity, such as glass and raw concrete, and he exposes the structural elements of his buildings. The creations of the architect consist predominantly of logical geometric forms which are often based on cubic modules. The disrupting of the mathematical order through the use of contradictory forms, and the cutting and interrupting of solids, surfaces and architectural structures are devices characteristic of him. As a result, his designs display a compositional fragmentation that may be associated with the deconstruction movement and give the impression of motion and drama.
The Church of St Jadwiga in Kraków, which was designed together with Jacek Czekaj (1978-90), may serve as an example. The architect gave up the use of forms that often appear in church buildings and are associated with historicism and “nativeness”. He also gave up the use of references to the building tradition. Loegler used simple, geometric solids and created a clear, logical space.
The basis for the church is constituted of a cube divided by a skylight. This cube is additionally divided along its diagonal into four quarters of different heights. The entrance is marked by a waving surface which contrasts with the geometrical whole. As a result, a monumental, fragmented structure, which constitutes a sculptural but at the same time disciplined construction, was created. Attention is drawn to the arrangements of the concrete facades, on which imprints of the formwork were left. These imprints are a kind of ornament and they enrich the structure. In comparison to the complicated exterior, the interior is definitely clearer. Raw, clean surfaces of concrete and glass determine its character. They are diversified only by a stained glass window by Jerzy Skąpski which is located in the chancel. A glass strip in the vault, supported by simple concrete pillars, is a strong accent of the interior. An important element shaping the church’s space is natural daylight, the sources of which are located in the sides of the building and in a portion of the vault. The purposeful, measured use of light points to inspirations drawn from Gothic art (which is an important but not direct point of reference to Loegler) and from Le Corbusier’s Ronchamp chapel.
A geometrical rigour of composition which gives the impression of mathematical harmony also characterizes the design of The Gate to the World of the Dead / Brama do świata zmarłych – a funeral home in a cemetery in the Batowice area of Kraków (1993-1998). The slim body of the chapel is made up from a rectangle built of eighteen squares/modules, which bends into a gentle arch. The architect writes:
The central thought of this design was to create a building marked with timeless character. A building which would stand at the end of a road like a gate and symbolize the border between the world of the living and eternity. Adopting this symbolism as an idea seems to be a natural consequence of the set task – realising an object which will draw us into the world of transcendental experiences that cross the boundaries of consciousness and cognition and take us into the world of mystical fantasy.
The numerous glass elements of the building prevent it from being a closed structure. Instead, the building suggests, consistent with the architect’s intention, a place of passage where the interior and exterior aren’t clearly separated. Thanks to its blue and grey colour scheme, the interior, which is lit through the glass elements, has a contemplative atmosphere. In 2004, the chapel was nominated for the prestigious Mies van der Rohe award.
Loegler’s secular realizations are characterized by a similar mathematical clearness of composition. They often expose structural elements based on thin and lightweight load-bearing elements and glass elements. The following can serve as good examples: the expansion of the Academy of Economy (1999-2004), or the Department of Diagnostics and Rehabilitation of Cardiac and Pulmonary Disease (1997-1999), both of which were realized in Kraków, or the headquarters of Opus Film in Łódź (2000-2003).
The modernization of the edifice of the Łódź Philharmonic (1998-2004) is one of Loegler’s important secular realizations. The southern façade, which has glass elements, was marked by the main entrance that has the form of an arcaded arch. Additionally, the architect incorporated a drawing of the historical façade of the building into the southern facade, thus making a reference to the past, but without giving up the modern character of the whole.
The architect employed a similar device when he designed a pavilion for the National Museum in Kraków. The mass of the building that is to house an exposition of Stanisław Wyspiański’s works is constituted by a glass cube, on the facades of which a decorative chestnut motif was printed. This motif was also used on the balustrades of Wyspiański’s Medical Society (2004). Among the important public utility buildings on which Loegler has worked, one ought to at least mention the new wing of the Jagiellonian Library and the edifice of the Kraków Opera House (2002-2006).
Loegler also carries out residential architecture projects. Among his early examples are single-family houses in Rzeszów (1976) and in Ehrenberg Street in Kraków (1977) and an estate in the Nowa Huta district of Kraków, which was completed in the 90s. Thanks to the architect, this estate features colourful facades that are to designed to diversify the Nowa Huta district, where grey concrete developments are predominant. Another example is the residential development on the corner of Fabryczna Street and Pokoju Avenue in Kraków (created in collaboration with Ewa Fritzke, 1992-4). The simple white block of the development, which brings to mind modernist tenement houses, has a clear rhythm and consistent divisions. This solid also features a rounded corner filled with glass blocks.
Author: Lidia Klein
Translated by: Marek Kępa