Different formations, different regional and political realities, different legislations contribute to forming an extremely heterogeneous mosaic of urban planning and architecture in the Polish territories up to the 1920s.
In the first period of independence from 1918, architecture is characterized by two motives: the artistic one which offers an individual interpretation of architecture, poetic, technically close to the Expressionist and Futurist movements, for a small intellectual circle; and the political motive that uses architecture instead to underline, in the young state, the continuity of the national tradition. Hence the use of the forms of the local and peasant tradition to contrast with the pompous eclecticism left by foreign domination. In particular, National Modernism is affirmedin which different heterogeneous currents converge, which is inspired by nature, stylizing its vegetal and crystalline forms. From this current, expressed in the decorative arts pavilion by J. Czajkowski (1872-1947), at the Paris exhibition of 1925, R. Gutt (1888-1974) the greatest Polish architect of the twentieth century, R. Świerczyński (1883) evolved. -1934), R. Miller (1882-1945), E. Norwerth (1884-1950).
The first artistic, culturally active groups, Blok (1924-1927) and Praesens (1926-1930), with the important magazines of the same name, count among their members painters, sculptors and architects such as M. Szczuka (1898-1927), T. Żarnower (1895-1950), W. Strzemiński (1893-1952), S. Syrkus (1893-1964), the most representative of the Polish avant-garde architects, and also B. and S. Brukalski, B. Lachert (b. 1900), J. Szanajca (1902-1939), H. Syrkus (b. 1900), who publish their projects in the magazine Architektura i Budownictwo (fig. 1).
The creation of the first housing cooperatives, the WSM, the Warsaw cooperative of rental houses, the TOR, which creates economic districts in Warsaw (Kolo, Grochów, Rakowiec) and Łódź, contributes to the organization of the building production sector. Around them and in particular that of the WSM, various exponents of the Polish avant-garde of that period are grouped. The exemplary WSM district in Zoliborz-Warsaw is the result of the contributions of B. Brukalska (b.1899) and S. Brukalski (1894-1967), B. Zborowski (b.1888), S. Tworkowski (b.1907), Z. Malicki (b. 1908) and others. In the first decades of the twentieth century, Polish urban planning was based on two main centers: Lviv (where in 1913, at the Polytechnic, a chair of “city organization” was established) and Warsaw (where the Urban planning institute at the faculty of architecture is organized in 1915). In 1923 the Association of Polish Town Planners (TUP) was established and in 1928 what could be considered the first town planning law was published. 1930, the date of the drawing up of the Greater Warsaw Plan, marks an important moment for studies on the city-region. From 1933-34 is the project “Warsaw Functional (fig. 2) by S. Syrkus and J. Chmielewski (1895-1974), the futuristic proposal for the structuring of the territory on a regional and national scale: a system of high-traffic arteries and urbanized bands, in the meshes of which thefunctional zoning. The most important names in Polish town planning of this period are: O. Sosnowski (1880-1939); T. Tolwiński (1887-1951); S. Rożanski (b. 1899); the most significant achievements are: Gdynia, the newly built city-port, and the Central Industrial District (COP) with the industrial-residential centers, Stalowa Wola. For Poland 2014, please check thesciencetutor.org.
In the six years of the Second World War (1939-45) the territory of Poland was mutilated, and the merciless exploitation of its resources would constitute a painful brake on future reconstruction. Warsaw is destined for demolition to be rebuilt as a “new German city”. The destruction of the pre-existing architectural structures, testimony of national identity, is methodical, while the notorious concentration camps are growing like mushrooms. A not inconsiderable page of post-war architecture will consist of the commemorative monuments of these places, among which the most exemplary is that of Auschwitz, created, following an international competition, by the teamItalian-Polish: Poland Cascella, G. Simoncini, J. Jarnuszkiewicz, J. Palka; but those of Treblinka, Pawiak and several others should also be remembered.
While the activities and realizations in the urban and architectural fields suddenly cease with the occupation, teaching and theoretical research continue actively, albeit clandestinely, in the country. The first secret reconstruction projects are born from the interdisciplinary collaboration between economists (O. Lange), sociologists (S. Ossowski), urban planners and architects (S. Syrkus, S. Dziewulski, R. Piotrowski). Abroad, in Liverpool, the Polish School of Architecture has been operating since 1942 with B. Szmidt (b. 1908), S. Malessa (1895), W. Jastrzębowski (1885-1963); R. Gutt reorganizes the teaching in liberated Lublin, in view of the end of the war and the forthcoming liberation of Poland. But the balance of the destruction goes beyond all expectations (fig. 3): the historic centers destroyed by 45 to 85%.
The recovery of historical material, the development and deepening of conservative theories and methodologies, indispensable for the reconstruction of historical centers, testimony and symbol of Polish history and culture, the restoration and reconstruction projects are the result of a long activity of the most valid specialists in this field, including J. Zachwatowicz (b. 1900) and Poland Bieganski (b. 1905). The reconstruction of Warsaw as the capital of the Poland, and the reorganization of the western territories returned to the nation following the shifting of the borders, with the ancient Polish cities of Wrocław (Breslau), Gdańsk (Danzig), Opole, Legnica constitute the events of the first period of national reconstruction, which ended in 1948-49 with the Exhibition of Reclaimed Territories in Wrocław.