Architect and urban planner born in 1935 in Warsaw. He worked in Cambodia, collaborated with architects from Ivory Coast and opened his own bureau in 1972 in Paris. Since 1997 he has been realizing some of his project in Poland.
He is a graduate of Gdańsk University of Technology. Before he began to design on his own, he worked as an architect and urban planner at the Design Bureau of the Ministry of Public Works in Phon Penh in Cambodia (in the years 1963-64). He was also assistant to the Parisian architect Michel Ecochard and an employee of the Ducharme Minost bureau, which operates in Paris and Abidjan in Ivory Coast. Fiszer opened his own bureau in 1972 in Paris, exactly 25 years later Fiszer Atelier 41 was created in Warsaw.
Stanisław Fiszer’s architecture is often described as eclectic. The architect’s output from the 80s and 90s is even postmodern to a certain extent: the Theatre and Media Library in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines (1994), the school in Régalles (1980) or the Technical Services Directorate of the Meuse Bar-le-Duc Department (1983) are complicated compositions made from elements drawn from various styles and three-dimensional structures, which play a kind of game with the viewer. For instance, the edifice of the Technical Services Directorate was covered by an empty “lattice” made from window frames, which pretends to be a façade but really just covers the actual walls of the building.
The Kubicki Arcades
The reconstruction of the Royal Castle in Warsaw was completed as late as 1984, nearly 40 years after World War II ended. Varsovians had to wait even longer for the opening of the Kubicki Arcades – a two-hundred metre succession of halls at the foot of the castle escarpment, designed in 1818 by the classicist Jakub Kubicki. Ten years after the arcades, which are connected to the castle cellars, were built, Kubicki’s construction was seized by the military – at first by the Tzar’s army and later by the Polish armed forces. The beautiful, spectacularly arched halls were used as barracks, magazines and were later empty for years, gradually falling into ruin. The lengthy and costly process of recreating the greatness of this space started as late as 1995 . Stanisław Fiszer is the author of the project of the contemporary adaptation of the Kubicki Arcades.
Fiszer introduced a spirit of modernity into the historic space. The arcades are an elongated space divided into 17 segments. Each of these segments has its own vault. The architect preserved the historic structure of Kubicki’s construction. Apart from that Fiszer supplemented the walls between the spans with many different materials: raw concrete is contrasted here with brick surfaces, glass, smooth plaster and rough stone. The acoustics of the halls (which also serve as entertainment spaces) were enhanced by finishing the rooms with wooden cubes. Fiszer also designed various interior elements for the arcades, amongst others the characteristic glass door handles. He emphasized in an interview for the newspaper “Gazeta Wyborcza” that the last Polish creator to design glass door handles was Bohdan Pniewski, who died in 1965.
The Kubicki Arcades, which were put into commission in the spring of 2009 - almost 200 years after they were designed, showcase devices commonly used by Stanisław Fiszer, such as the play of textures, densities and even temperatures of various juxtaposed materials. Such a formal differentiation of surfaces may be seen in the façades of the embassy of Japan in Paris (1997), the edifice of the Regional Archive in Chartres (2005) and the Hilton Hotel located next to the Paris park Monceau (2002). Said differentiation may also be observed in the finishes of the office building ZAC Manin – Jaures in Paris (1993) and the Romain Rolland High School in Goussainville (1994).
The Stock Exchange Centre
In 2000 the Warsaw Stock Exchange Centre was put into commission. The project for the edifice was created jointly by Stanisław Fiszer and Andrzej Chołdzyński, the winners of an architectural competition. “Designing and realizing the Stock Exchange centre enabled me to return to Warsaw in a sentimental manner after having worked and gained experience abroad for 25 years” – wrote Fiszer in the magazine “Krajobraz Warszawy” in 1994. The building which enabled the Warsaw Stock Exchange to leave the edifice that once housed the Central Committee of the communist Polish United Workers’ Party (where the stock exchange was located since 1991) was raised in specific surroundings: on the slope of the Vistula escarpment, behind the National Museum and next to Plac Trzech Krzyży (The Square of Three Crosses) and the Royal Route.
The design and the realization have to fall into the so-called dignified building category. Dignified buildings continue the existing space and neighbourhood in an obvious way – Fiszer emphasized in “Krajobraz Warszawy”.
The building which won many awards (it was nominated amongst others for the Mies van der Rohe Award) was given a modern but restrained and elegant form – the centre’s façades are three-dimensional compositions made from stone and glass surfaces.
This is an office complex built in 2013 in Warsaw. Five six-storey buildings were positioned in a way that enabled the as much daylight as possible to reach their interiors: they were designed according to the restrictive requirements of the BREEAM certification, which attests to the “ecologicalness” of architecture. The design of Orange City also took into account the comfort of the users. Every worker here has access to a window and to common spaces, which are rather numerous for a contemporary office building. Between the buildings a garden with wooden jetties and vegetation (and even with bird boxes) was created.
From the street the complex looks basic – the glass surfaces are protected from the sun by exterior blinds and the facades are enclosed by stone slabs as if by frames. The architect decided to give the facades that face the green courtyard which is meant for the workers brighter shades. These facades were adorned with panels in bright colours according to his design. The human scale of this complex and the meticulous, well thought-of details distinguish it from typical, cold, dehumanized office buildings.
In 2000 Stanisław Fiszer became a laureate of the Honorary Award of SARP (The Union of Polish Architects). He has received French distinctions including the Medal of the Academy of Architecture and the title of Commander of the Order of Art and Literature. As he himself puts it, he is trying to popularize Polish architecture in France whereas in Poland – as a recognized authority – he looks after the quality of space by sitting on juries of architectural competitions. He is active as a designer both in Paris and in Warsaw.
Author: Anna Cymer, February 2014
Translated by: Marek Kępa