Although first published last year, a project envisioning Pl. Konstytucji as a lush, wild wetland has gained further attention after being seized upon by numerous local news sites in the last couple of months.
Submitted by a trio of students from the Polytechnic’s Faculty of Architecture, Śródmiejskie Mokradła was first aired by Futuwawa, a website specializing in showcasing often fantastical projects designed for this city.
Authored by Jakub Bąbik, Aleksandra Krawczyk and Monika Popkiewicz, the idea was born after the three noticed the abundance of parking lots that dominated satellite imagery of the capital.
“Such spatial management makes the city hostile to both animals and people,” wrote the trio. “Large car parks exclude space from city life, increase the urban heat island phenomenon, do not create conditions for retention and kill biodiversity.”
Continuing, they say: “We believe that this urban error can be successfully repaired and such concrete stretches turned into urban wetlands. These areas would become green oases in the city tissue. We would introduce greenery to the city that is different from the lawns found in Warsaw’s squares; in addition to the trees and shrubs usually found in parks, there would be meadows, mosses, reeds, and aquatic plants.”
Intended merely as a project to draw attention to Warsaw’s most basic faults, it has nonetheless won widespread praise for its clarity, ambition and over-riding relevance.
And whilst it has been dismissed by some as verging on the absurd, others have pointed to the success of the London Wetland Centre, a 40-hectare reserve opened in 2000 in the city’s south-west. Warsaw: never say never!
(Images: Jakub Bąbik, Aleksandra Krawczyk, Monika Popkiewicz)