WARSAW – FAAB Architektura has completed renovations to a low-rise, multi-family house in Warsaw that will now serve as the headquarters for the Foundation for Polish Science. Constructed in 1933, the building represents several architectural concepts of historical significance to Warsaw. However, due to severe damage sustained during World War II and the subsequent shortage of quality materials, the first major renovation failed to restore its original appearance or structural integrity. The building thus presented a challenging combination of aspects that required complete modernisation and others that, at the Warsaw Preservation Office’s request, required meticulous restoration.

The biggest changes to the building were aimed at opening it to public view and natural light. The architects removed a large fence that bordered the property, widened the front entrance, and extended the entry hall all the way through the building, ‘establishing an additional visual link between the street and the backyard garden’. The renovation also introduces a central atrium, day-lit from above to provide 96% of the above-ground spaces with access to natural light.

The pro-ecological identity of the project is embodied in a vertical garden that occupies three of the building’s elevations, the first of its kind in Poland. The façade will take several years to mature; a vibrant geometric pattern will gradually emerge as the garden’s twenty distinct species of plants grow and change appearance through the years. In fact, the architects point out that, due to the local climate, the vertical garden is ‘treated as experimental. During the course of its growth, the bio-diversity of the wall may change due to the seeds brought by birds or wind.’

Photos Bartłomiej Senkowski