Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cracow catastrophes

The architecture in the city of Cracow is old.
Centuries old.
Now in winter, with the snow falling, the city becomes more pretty than ever.
Beautiful scenes can be seen that show timeless romanticism.

The beauty of Cracow comes mainly from its architecture.
There are beautiful buildings, palaces, churches and other edifices that are centuries old and they make the city so spectacular.

Now, an innocent person would think that the authorities responsible for the city of Cracow would take extreme care to preserve the beauty of their town.
That they will stop any crazy contemporary architect who ignores the style of the centuries old buildings.
Stop architects who believe they need to impose their own ego on the town by designing extravagant buildings conflicting totally with the existing architecture.

Of course an architect has the liberty to design what he or she wants.
To have own professional opinions.
But the authorities responsible for the city must always take into consideration what is the common good.
Defend the interest of the people who have been building the town for centuries.
Protect the heritage from damage by personal excessiveness.

Therefore, when one visits an old town, one can see the power of the authorities.
Or the weakness.
When the existing architecture has not been respected, one understands the architects and real estate developers have found a way to get what they wanted.
That they were more powerful than the rulers.
Pushed the protectors aside.

In Cracow, Poland, unfortunately some examples can be seen how the authorities responsible for preserving the city have not been strong enough.

One of the most blatant examples can be seen in the city's skyline when seen from the south.
The river Vistula streams there and at its north bank are the century old castle of the Polish kings and connecting to the palace a line of many old buildings.
Forming an aesthetically harmonious unity.

However, many old buildings have been destroyed to be able to build a Sheraton Hotel.
A monstrous building that doesn't fit at all in the city skyline and that by itself will never win a price for modern architecture.
It is not original and it is not beautiful.
In fact, it is an ugly stain on the city skyline.

One really wonders how ever city officials have seen the plans and the drawings of this Sheraton Hotel to believe this was perfect for Cracow to authorize the destruction of the old buildings and the construction of the architectural monstrosity .

But the most extreme example of failed protection by the authorities of Cracow's heritage can be found in Zwierzyniecka Street where the bank ING is housed in a most extreme demonstration of failed supervision by the local authorities.
To an old existing edifice a new modern glass structure has been glued making a disgusting contrast.
How on earth could have someone ever believed this was a good idea?


No comments: