Functional House

A restored modernist villa hosts a combined experimental art project and culture venue that revives its original purpose.

The most original cultural center in Poland, Functional House combines various activities, commercial and cultural alike. The space contains an art gallery, the famous Varsovian culture magazine WAW, a conference room, and in the near future there will be another gallery, and several art foundations among others. A truly functional house! The project was initiated by BWA Warsaw .

The house, located in Saska Kepa, was built in 1928 by architect Czeslaw Przybylski for his friend, the sculptor Mieczyslaw Lubelski. The project was designed during a groundbreaking period of creativity for Przybylski—his career evolved from classical design, through monumental buildings, to functionalism. Przybylski is one of the most respected architects of the interwar period, and was one of the designers of Warsaw's main railway station, destroyed in World War II during the Warsaw Uprising.
Jaroslaw Flicinski, project murals for Warsaw Central railway station, 2011.
Jaroslaw Flicinski, project murals for Warsaw Central railway station, 2011.
It is difficult to find the Functional House in any directory or publication. The building belongs to a specific faction of modernism still largely undiscovered. The ground floor is dedicated to working space, there is a large skylight and a mezzanine which overlooks the garden. The upper floors are divided into smaller rooms and on the top floor the space connects to a large terrace. The form of the building resembles a tower, its individual parts merging in an extraordinary staircase, which retains many elements characteristic of modernism. After the war the living space was used for social housing, popular in the Communist era, but the working space was used by Elzbieta and Emil Cieslar, the creators of Repassage Gallery, and the artists Wiktor and Barbara Gutt.
Functional House, courtesy BWA Warszawa.
Functional House, courtesy BWA Warszawa.
For several months now the House has had a new owner—Wojciech Poplawski, co-founder of OP ARCHITEKTEN and designer of the award winning Andels Hotel in Lódz. Poplawski is a great enthusiast of modernist architecture, which is apparent in his renovation of Functional House. He starts from the existing historic architectural tissue, reworks it with great respect, trying not to obscure traces of history. His main design objective was to restore the property to its original function, creating a place dedicated to art and cultural activities.
Poplawski is a great enthusiast of modernist architecture, which is apparent in his renovation of Functional House. He starts from the existing historic architectural tissue, reworks it with great respect, trying not to obscure traces of history.
Jaroslaw Flicinski, project murals for Warsaw Central railway station, 2011.
Jaroslaw Flicinski, project murals for Warsaw Central railway station, 2011.
The symbolic beginning of the House's activity was the opening of BWA Warsaw , a gallery led by three young talented curators—Tomasz Plata, Justyna Kowalska and Michal Suchora. Currently in the gallery and open until the end of August, is Jaroslaw Flicinski's exhibition Nobody knows until the end, which consists of two projects. The first are abstract, large-scale canvases in a series entitled Uklady / Arrangements, which fills the entire exhibition space. The second parallel part is named Flicinski for Central Railway Station, a presentation announcing the artist's painting intervention in the space of Warsaw's train station Warszawa Centralna. Revitalized after years of neglect, the station is a classic building of Polish socialist modernism and is an object of high architectural value, with a pragmatic combination of external form and minimalism characteristic of late modernism, and reference to the local context.
Jaroslaw Flicinski, project murals for Warsaw Central railway station, 2011.
Jaroslaw Flicinski, project murals for Warsaw Central railway station, 2011.
Flicinski proposed to position wide white stripes on the pillars between the platforms organizing the space of the station's underground at a different perspective than the present (across the space, rather than along the platforms), making up a sort of a large-scale visual game or riddle (where one stands in forced perspective for all the pieces to come together). Flicinski has already realized several projects in a similar vein, including Renoma Wroclaw and the Museum of Art in Lódz. The artist's abstract images in an op-art style will most likely be implimented at the end of the current working year.
Marcin Szczelina
From left: Jaroslaw Flicinski, <i>Rozmowa zaczela sie przed czasem,</i> 2008; <i>We Were Playing Marbles When the Rain Started Falling on the Tin Roof, </i>2009; <i>Nobody Lives Here, </i> 2008.
From left: Jaroslaw Flicinski, Rozmowa zaczela sie przed czasem, 2008; We Were Playing Marbles When the Rain Started Falling on the Tin Roof, 2009; Nobody Lives Here, 2008.
From left: Jaroslaw Flicinski, <i>This Night Is Nearly Over, </i> 2009; 
<i>Nobody Knows This for Sure, </i>2009; 
<i>When You’ll Count to the End, </i>2009.
From left: Jaroslaw Flicinski, This Night Is Nearly Over, 2009; Nobody Knows This for Sure, 2009; When You’ll Count to the End, 2009.

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