Prefabicated- Faith: displacements and continuities in the Polish construction, the case of Jesus of Swiebodzin. By: Gonzalo Carrasco Purull + Pedro Livni.
The Polish city of Swiebodzin the past decade has witnessed the construction of one of the most monumental religious works of recent times, as is the construction of a colossal sculpture of Christ, 33 feet high. A mega-structure that exceeds even the size of Sao Paulo Cristo Redentor, 30 meters high.
Swiebodzin ecclesiastical authorities have stressed that this effort has been inspired by deep religious sentiment in a country where 90% of the population are Catholics. Furthermore, citizens expect Swibodzin the construction of this work represents a significant growth of religious tourism. Equivalent to that produced around the figure of Pope John Paul II (Karol Josef Wojtyla) and the route will extend from Krakow – the place where Wojtyla was educated – and Wadowice, his hometown.
Thus, despite the controversial debates are raging about the appropriateness or not work – which has meant the expenditure of almost $ 25 million, plus the work of volunteer labor as that provided by the prisoners of the local prison – the construction of this work is aligned consistently in a long tradition of Polish construction conceived mainly from the logic of prefabrication and the extensive use of concrete as the main constituent material.
After the Second World War, Polish cities were almost completely destroyed, making the reconstruction a long and costly. Warsaw for its part, had been built in those years to countries outside the Soviet orbit, becoming stronger Moscow’s influence on Polish architecture. In this scenario, would add the general atmosphere that dominated the lean years following the Great War, which led many building materials – such as steel – are becoming very rare items. Concrete building then appeared as the only possible way to carry out reconstruction work, a fact that radically changed the appearance of Polish cities.
It is within this world made of concrete, which means building the Palace of Culture and Sciences in Warsaw. A work that was created as a «gift» from Joseph Stalin to the Polish people. Designed by architect Lev Rudnev and built between 1952 and 1955, between 1955 and 1957 ranked as the tallest building in Europe. With its 168 meters high to the roof level (231 meters measured up to the level of the antenna), the Palace of Culture and Science encompassed not only the large scale Polish cities, but made of reinforced concrete in structures, the preferred material of the monuments of the regime. Speaking of monuments in Poland, after the Palace of Culture and Sciences, equivalent in the years that followed, to speak in the language of the concrete.
The Pope and the prefabricated building.
On June 2, 1979 Pope John Paul II held a mass meeting in the Victory Square in Warsaw, marking one of the most important events of the recent history of Poland. In photographs of the event and as background to the altar, appears strongly the front of Sofitel Victoria Hotel, built in its entirety from precast concrete components.
The Victoria hotel with its modules alveolar realizes a time when the Polish construction also made of concrete, was designed from the strict logic of prefabrication was born in the Soviet Khrushchev. A time where the building was conceived primarily as an assembly of parts, wherein the module addressed the assembly instructions. Some buildings that converted to mechanized devices such as cranes, the real protagonists of the construction site.
Concrete component and cranes, were all moving parts placed in the middle of a dance marked by the mechanical rhythm of the logic of prefabrication. So that day is June, and despite the profound protest against Soviet rule stated in Victory Square, the full power of the Soviet hierarchy appeared on concrete surfaces modulated Hotel Victoria, as a constant reminder of the condition precariousness of those years of resistance.
A Christ made up of parts.
Thus, behind the construction of Christ Swiebodzin, relate two traditions of recent Polish history, monuments such as the use of concrete and logical adoption of prefabrication of the Soviet era.
Its construction was carried out using precast concrete components, which then made, were taken to the construction site. Then were hoisted into place by using a series of cranes, making the construction of Christ Swiebodzin precision work.
This Christ made by parties, despite the resistance of the active role undertaken by the Polish church against the Soviet regime – means as to the means employed and the constructive logic implemented to run, a double movement of displacement and continuity with the heritage formed in the middle of the hardest years of Soviet rule. Years where the large scale, the monumental, the regime itself, had the appearance of concrete stone. Years where the monuments – as well as ideologies – rather than built, is assembled.VKPK.