Brutalism in Poland on the example of the architecture of Krakow


  • Wojciech Niebrzydowski Bialystok University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture



brutalism, Krakow, Polish architecture, theory and history of architecture


Impact of brutalism on Polish architecture is unidentified and this scientific problem needs thorough researches. Analyses carried out in this article are precursory and they bring new knowledge to the history of architecture in the 20th century. Brutalist style became popular in Western Europe in the late 1950s, then spread all over the world and passed in the 1970s. Brutalism in Polish architecture was developed later then in the world and it didn’t become such a dominant trend as in other countries, but many elements and forms of this style can be seen in Poland. Research conducted by the author in recent years led to formulation and classification of brutalist attributes and elements in world architecture. This systematics has become the base for further research of Polish architecture. In this article, the author focuses on the architecture of Krakow, the city where brutalist influences were particularly evident. He choose five most representative buildings from the period 1956-1989 and analyses their forms and spatial arrangement. After that the author presents key features connecting examined buildings with brutalism, such as: heaviness, massiveness, severity, expressiveness, exhibition of construction and internal functions in architectural form, chiaroscuro effects. He also specifies brutalist elements of the buildings: three-dimensional facades, overhanging solids, rhythmically repeated modules, staircase towers, pedestrian bridges and courtyards, rough textures of concrete, brick and plaster. The author distinguishes several ways of devaluation of brutalist buildings, which are unfortunately evident in Krakow. He emphasizes the great importance of protection the heritage of brutalism, which is still underestimated in Poland.


Author Biography

Wojciech Niebrzydowski, Bialystok University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture

Department of Housing Architecture, Assistant Prof. PhD Architect