A Warsaw-based team of architects, active between 1936 and 1976. Its members were: Wacław Kłyszewski (1910-2000), Jerzy Mokrzyński (1909-1997) and Eugeniusz Wierzbicki (1909-1991).
A Warsaw-based team of architects, active between 1936 and 1976.
The architects began their collaboration during their studies at the Department of Architecture at the Warsaw Polytechnic. After graduation in 1936, they started a studio which specialized in public utility buildings. In 1936, they participated in their first competition – redevelopment of the PKO building. Their project received a honourable mention, which was soon followed by first awards in the competitions for Wolna Wszechnica (Free Polish University) building in Łódź and Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (Bank for Domestic Economy) in Poznań. In 1938, the team won even more first prizes – this time with their projects of Komunalna Kasa Oszczędności (Communal Savings Bank) in Radom, International Polish Diaspora building in Warsaw and Dom Społeczny (Social House) in Starachowice.
The studio’s activity was broken by the war – Kłyszewski and Wierzbicki were held in prisoner of war camps, while Mokrzyński moped to Zakopane. There, he designed interior decoration and furniture, as well as Daniec’s House (1941-1942), inspired by the regional architecture of Podhale.
After the war, the team reactivated. Its members worked in the Biuro Odbudowy Stolicy (Office For Rebuilding the Capital City) and Zjednoczone Pracownie Architektoniczne (United Architectural Studios). Between 1945 and 1949, they were employed at the Public Utility Building Design Institute at the Warsaw Polytechnic’s Department of Architecture, managed by Bohdan Pniewski. Just like before the war, the architects participated in many prestigious architecture contests, with award-winning results. At that time, they began to be called “Tigers”, due to their expansive activity.
One of the „Tigers”’ most important successes of that era was receiving the first and second prize in the PKO building in Warsaw competition (1946) as well as three second and two fourth awards in the competition for design of the central railway station in Warsaw (1946). Among the team’s most significant accomplishments was also the House of the Party in Warsaw, later to become headquarters of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers Party (1947-1951). The construction project was prepared by Stanisław Hempel, one of the most important Polish engineers of that era. The architects suggested a calm form elevated on a terrace, which harmoniously matches its architectural surrounding: Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego and the National Museum. A composition with a vast courtyard provides a monumental impression, suitable for the role and significance of the building.
A simple concept based, typically for the “Tigers”, on logical plan and construction, is far removed from the compulsory socialist realism doctrine. The authorities ordered to decorate this building - pure, closer to pre-war modernism than to local architecture – with historicizing details, in order to bring it closer to the socialist realism program. Similar architecture – also composed in a disciplined manner, albeit on a smaller scale – is represented by the University of Social Sciences and Humanities’ hall of residence (finished in 1954), with its front on an arch-shaped outline.
The „Tigers” designed residential buildings as well, among them an appreciated housing block at the Kredytowa street in Warsaw (finished in 1959), which won the “Życie Warszawy” contest for the best building in Warsaw. A simple, box-like shape with no architectural detail and grey cement brick connected with concrete are typical not only for the building at Kredytowa street, but also other late 1950s and 1960s projects designed by the team.
Among the examples, one can find a kindergarten (1960), a housing tower at Dąbrowskiego street (1961) or a housing and service building at Rakowiecka street (1962). Another interesting object from that era is a school complex in Nowe Miasto (1962), far removed from a strong tendency to raise buildings stylized to look older in historical districts. Instead, the architects suggested modernist development, consisting of joint sections varying in height and form.
The „Tigers”’ interest in housing architecture didn’t draw their attention away from public utility building contests, as proved by an award-winning and accomplished concept of the railway station in Katowice (project: 1959) or the Museum of Modern Art in Skopje (project: 1966).
Since their university years, the „Tigers” were interested in recreational and tourist buildings, which was revealed in their diplomas. During its activity, the studio designed a number of buildings in this category. Apart from many projects which won competitions but were never accomplished, they created such objects as: “Orbis” holiday resort in Łeba (1957), “Iwa” tourist hotel connected to the museum in Białowieża (1969) or tourist hotel in Łowicz (1974).
During the last decade of its activity, the team designed culture-related projects, such as the Music School in Lublin (1965), the Pleciuga Puppet Theatre in Szczecin (finished in 1972), Rzeszów Philharmonic and Music School (finished in 1972), Białystok Puppet Theatre (finishes in 1979) and the Museum of the Tatra Mountains National Park in Zakopane (1980). In the last project, the architects decided to correspond with the local context and character, at the same time avoiding simple references to the architecture of Podhale. The cross-section of the building consists of two intertwined triangles, whose sharp “faults” resemble mountain ground. Such formal composition, together with use of local materials (wood and stone) create a Wrightian type of architecture, organically emerging from its environment.
The „Tigers” team was also engaged in urban planning, preparing projects mainly for Warsaw: management of space in the city centre (1954), centre of the Praga district (1958), the Zwycięstwa square (now Piłsudskiego, 1972) or the Czerniaków estate (1960).
In 1976, the team stopped its activity. Its members continued their work independently.
Author: Lidia Klein