BBGK highlights Polish prefabrication in brick-red concrete

Sprzeczna 4 by BBGK Architects. Photos Juliusz Sokolows & Marcin Czechowicz

WARSAW – Sharp-edges and bright red concrete, angled balconies and quirky details engraved in the walls, these are a few of the many qualities brought by BBGK in the new Sprzeczna 4 residence. Proclaiming itself as the embodiment of all things prefabricated, it stands out in the heart of the Praga neighbourhood in Warsaw.

The new residential building holds a spot in one of the forgotten streets, but already sticks out as an exploration into prefabrication with a Polish twist: exposed coloured concrete, impression and reliefs, electrical installations integrated into the walls, heated ceilings and many more.

The result is a building assembled from numerous large elements produced off-site – rather than built on site. ‘It is a sincere story about what a building is, what it is made of and how it works. Each element is an integral part of a logical tale,’ says Wojtek Kotecki, partner at BBGK.

The new building mimics an existing residence on the same street in its blocky nature – but actually plays on the negative space left by a classic 19th century residential format that usually had an inner courtyard. Sprzeczna 4 then twists the apartment units to create dramatic angles at the front of the building, giving it a bit of an edge that the neighbourhood of Praga seems to celebrate more and more in recent years.

Engraved Warsaw folklore and Polish landscapes adorn the brick-red walls. The architects explain how they want ‘to show that residents can experience art even in a developer building. For example in the form of re-interpreting the symbol of Warsaw – the Warsaw Mermaid.’

The choice of colour was important to the building as ‘Praga, never rebuilt after the war, is associated with red. With the colour of a brick façade, from which the plaster has fallen off. With the colour of a ruin, which is embedded in the consciousness of the residents of Warsaw.’ But in the end, BBGK aimed at maintaining a brutal simplicity in its aesthetics to counter the faded complexity of its neighbouring buildings. Sprzeczna 4 aims for the long-run, where ornamentation is limited and bold materiality choices take over.

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