THE CENTRAL SQUARE

The Central Square The centre of the socialist - realist city together with adjoining squares formed its most important place. Doctrine charged it with an extremely difficult task: it was here that during frequent manifestations an assemblage of people was to be transformed into a human monolith, subordinate to the party. The Square was intended to become the city core, the centre of political life with the crucial political, administrative and cultural establishments. This place determined the architectural and political view of the city. The leading theoretician of socialist realism, Dr. Lothar Bolz gave such a definition of the city function:
"The centre is the core forming the city. It is the centre of political life of the people "(...)Demonstrations and marches are held in such squares as well as celebrations and people's festivals on holidays. (...)". The measure of the center`s magnitude is not a passenger rushing through the city in a modern car but a pedestrian, a political demonstrator and the pace of his march."
This was also the role for Nowa Huta`s Central Square together with the neighboring Town Hall Square joined by the part of the Rose Avenue and the former Lenin Avenue`s (present - day Solidarity Avenue . The Square and its celebrations taking place in the shadow of monumental edifices were supposed to be a tool to shape the new generation of citizens. The Central Square Topographically the Square is not the very centre of the city; It is located peripherally on its southern edge at the brink of the Vistula embankment . It is pentagonal with the symmetrically axis made by the line extending from Rose Avenue to the south. Two avenues emerge from it at an angle of 45°. The Central Square strictly follows the rules of symmetry. A renowned sociologist and town planner, Prof. Chombard de Lauwe while giving his opinion on Cracow has underlined that "after all in this shapelessness there are two crystals that everyone can spot at first sight - that is the old center surrounded by the Planty and the Aleje and,in fact, neo-baroque centre of Nowa Huta." Glass arcades above which run a smooth frieze surround the whole Central Square . On the first living floor around the Square there are porte-fenetres with ornamental railings and lintels. The last floor, the finial, is set slightly back and resembles an attic (attic storey) facing. Formerly, these buildings were topped by a balustrade of alternately arranged balusters and panels /only partly preserved/. While visiting the Central Square one should pay attention to the grand loggias placed symmetrically on both - eastern and western - sides. The columns rising there resemble those decorating the portico of the People's Theatre. The ground floors of the houses standing at the junctions of the main avenues are covered with rustication - and have sandstone lining resembling real stone. On the second storey there are porte-fenetres exactly like in the Square . The variety of forms: finely accentuated cornices, balustrades, loggias, corner breaks with arcades, arcades themselves, portals over the shop entrances - all of these make the facades of the buildings more diverse and make the most of the Square`s attractiveness. The Central Square The Square and its surroundings allow one to trace a few decades of the history of building engineering in the Polish People's Republic within just a few minutes. The edifices form a kind of a natural architectural exhibition of the period from the 1950s to the present day. In Szklane Domy housing estate there is (about 400 m from Central Sq.) the so-called "Swedish block" designed by J. Ingarden and built in 1959. Situated in Centrum D housing estate high rise block of flats is a bit older and in the middle of the quarter stands a ten-storey block, built in the 1970s, which clashes with the surroundings and, together with the other block, disturbs the view of this part of the development . In the northern part of the quarter, on the southern frontage of Anders' Avenue there are blocks built around 1960, one of the first system-built buildings in Nowa Huta. Their size and location relate to the original plans and although they do not have interesting decoration they do however harmonize with the older building developments. At the turn of the 1970s and 80s, on the Vistula embankment (south from Centrum D) the Nowa Huta Cultural Center was constructed. Its heavy form does not fit with the historic buildings of the Central Square. A good example of the new trends exercised in house building in the last few years is the very controversial Centrum E, which was also regarded as clashing with the older architecture of the Square, although its concept and location refer to unfinished plans connected with this very site. Immediately adjacent to Centrum E stands the building of the Mieczysław Karłowicz music school. An interesting detail is the patterned ceramic outside wall of the concert hall. Adjacent to this is the building of the ¦wiatowid cinema built in 1955-57 when the strict principles were no longer observed so closely . The capitals of the columns and pilasters are merely marked and the shape of balusters in the railing is simplified. It was supposed to become the authorities' answer to the "Poem for Adults " by Adam Ważyk in which the poet criticized the reality of Nowa Huta.