After World War II, there were few objects on the map of Warsaw, which also today have remained unchanged, constituting monuments to the pre-war capital. These few souvenirs each year constitute an increasing cultural and historical value, therefore care for them and respect for forms created years ago should be an indicator of work with such buildings.
Development quarter at Grochowska Street in Warsaw is one such place. Since 1911, the land on Kamionkowska Street has been taken over by Electrotechnical Works Borkowscy Brothers, one of the most famous Polish companies operating before World War II, among others in the field of lighting. After 10 years, the company established cooperation with the Dutch company Philips and became their representative in Poland. Since then, more factory buildings started to appear on the plot, equipped with modern devices and being a place of work for talented engineers.
The high level of technology and educated staff turned out to be a salvation for the quarter of development. During World War II, these resources were used by the Germans to produce details for military equipment, thanks to which the buildings survived. Although most of the machines were taken away after the war, the quarter was mined and the buildings were deserted. The history of this place has been preserved in the undamaged walls.
There are only a few prewar parts of the existing quarter left. In spite of this, new structures emerging over the years have completed the whole layout very naturally, creating an inner courtyard separated from the surrounding streets. The design assumption that led the entire modernization process was therefore maximum preservation of the original structures and discreet highlighting of important details without interfering with the height or volume of buildings. When finishing the building, only two colors were consistently used, which do not overwhelm and do not impose on the general reception of the building.
Almost all sections of the buildings at Grochowska 306/308 Street are covered by historical buildings and monuments protection, which was quite a significant matter during the design stage and selection of used solutions. The existing architecture of the quarter is mostly post-industrial. But you can see many historical details on the facades in the form of breaks, decorative brick strips, window flankings and cornices. For the sake of preserving these extremely important elements of the historical value of the objects, the conservator does not agree to external insulation which could change the proportions of the building, lose original details and flatten the facade.
Due to this, the renovation of the façade consisted mainly of replacing or supplementing existing plasters, installing window frames and new or restored flashings.
When designing related to existing facilities, especially of historical value, one should take into account many difficulties and limitations. Restrictions for a quarter at Grochowska Street, for example, concerned the heating installation. There the problem of high thermal inertia of the building appeared, which at the stage of use usually results in higher operating costs. However, it should be remembered that by undertaking the renovation and reconstruction of pre-war buildings, we are not able to achieve the standards typical of the 21st century, and concessions to their credibility of the original structures are included in the modernization process.