Prudential, Warsaw

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Prudential building
Prudential 2015.JPG
Prudential building (2015)
General information
Architectural style Art Deco
Town or city Warsaw
Country Poland
Construction started 1931
Completed 1934
Client Prudential plc
Design and construction
Architect Marcin Weinfeld, Stefan Bryła, Wenczesław Poniż

Prudential is a Warsaw skyscraper built between 1931 and 1934 in the Art Deco style as the base for British Prudential Insurance. It is located on Warsaw Uprising Square along Świętokrzyska Street.

At the time of construction it was the second tallest European skyscraper with eighteen stories (66 m). Built using a steel framework it was the tallest building in Warsaw until the Palace of Culture and Science was constructed. The building, designed by Marcin Weinfeld, included office space on lower stories and luxurious apartments further up. The steel framework, innovative at the time, was designed by Stefan Bryła and Wenczesław Poniż. Construction started in 1931 and used up over 2 million bricks, 2 thousand tonnes of concrete and 1500 tonnes of steel.

In 1936 a large antenna was constructed on the roof by professor Janusz Groszkowski, who started the first television broadcasts in Europe from that facility. The Prudential building soon became a symbol of modern Warsaw and was featured in numerous contemporary films and advertisements.

The Prudential was heavily damaged during World War II, particularly during the Warsaw Uprising when it was hit by approximately 1,000 artillery shells, including a single hit by 2-tonne Karl-Gerät mortar shell, leaving only the steel framework. The artillery damage bent the construction sideways, but it survived the war and was featured on numerous anti-war posters.

Prudential Building in 1945
28 August 1944, building hit by 2-ton mortar shell from a Karl-Gerät

The building was rebuilt after the war as a hotel, and its style was changed from early modern to socialist realism. The author of the new design was again Marcin Weinfeld, who adapted the building to its new role as a hotel. The "Hotel Warszawa" was opened in 1954 and included 375 beds, a large restaurant, a café and a night club.

Since 2010, the building has been closed down for refurbishment. The façade is to be returned to its pre-war art deco form, while the interior is to house a luxurious four-star hotel.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°14′8″N 21°0′46″E / 52.23556°N 21.01278°E / 52.23556; 21.01278