Placu Pięciu Rogów, Warsaw’s main square located at a central street intersection, reopens after months of renovation. The long-awaited unveiling caused stifled giggles among some and silent horror in others. Where do you stand?
A project that cost a total of PLN 15 million, and promoted as one of most important public investments of 2022, is facing flak after failing to match up to the slick renderings published prior.
Promised to become “a peaceful city center enclave” filled with “shade-giving trees, fountains, benches and seating arrangements”, visitors to the newly reopened main square instead found a meager selection of trees and a fountain more redolent of an over-sized plughole.
Art, also, is missing – unless one counts the grubby graffiti squiggles that clad the surrounding buildings.
Warsaw’s main square occupies an area where 5 streets intersect. Bracka, Chmielna, Krucza, Szpitalna and Zgoda all come together to create an enclave of commotion and disarray. Therefore, the project saw traffic limited to just buses and vehicles with special permits. In turn, freeing space for restaurant gardens and outdoor cafe seating.
However, despite an onus reportedly placed on making the area more pedestrian-friendly, visitors have felt flabbergasted by the results. Many complaints raised since concern the over-usage of concrete and, even more so, the lack of sufficient greenery.
For their part, City Hall were quick to remind people that the square remains a work in progress and should only be judged in a year’s time.
Łukasz Puchalski, director of the Municipal Roads Authority, said:
“We have not managed to implement a project that has reconciled everyone, but rather one that has divided people. I propose giving this square at least a year so that the twenty-two trees that have been planted here grow and become more green, then we will see how they connect to create an overhead green canopy.”
Having already faced delays due to the pandemic, it would appear that the public must now wait even longer before seeing the full effects of this long-awaited renovation.
For the time being, though, what should have been one of the highlights of the summer has transpired to be anything but, making “Warsaw’s main square reopens 2.0” a likely title for Insider’s upcoming article!
Photos: UM Warszawa / R. Motyl