‘I AM NOT HERE The human dimension of architecture’ is a story about the social role of an architect, about Wroclaw, about the vicissitudes of a certain generation and about loyalty to deeply rooted beliefs. We have always believed that architecture makes sense when the design was created and the designed space is teeming with life even though us architects are no longer there. Dorota Jarodzka-Śródka and Kazimierz Śródka
Wroclaw, 1986. A city on the verge of great political, social and economic changes. In Polish architecture, the era of large-panel blocks of flats ends, and the economic crisis of the 1980s effectively inhibits planning new projects. For young architects, this is a period of uncertainty, mediocrity, and lack of career development prospects. And yet in 1986 a couple of enthusiasts - graduates of the Wroclaw University of Technology Faculty of Architecture - decide to found one of the first private architectural studios in Poland. Madness? Certainly. But also courage supported by strong conviction about the chosen path. - Was it really courage? - wondered Dorota Jarodzka-Śródka and Kazimierz Śródka, founders of Archicom sp. z o.o. - We felt is as mission. From the very beginning, we treated the profession of architect and their social responsibility very seriously.
The dynamically changing reality of the turn of the 1980s and 1990s, emerging free market rules and having to adapt to the needs of a private customer decided about the working methods of the young architects and set completely new tasks for them. As Jakub Głaz writes in one of the texts presented at the exhibition “(…) in the 90s, the architects had to transform from demiurges they were educated to be, into efficient service providers for private investors, not familiar with dilemmas related to shaping space” . The founders of SRDK Archicom Studio Śródka manage not to fall into this trap, but the quoted dilemmas will accompany the architects while working on subsequent projects. In this way, the direction of office development is set - a socially responsible company that is involved in the implementation of their concepts at each of their stages.
I am not here
The exhibition presented at the Museum of Architecture in Wroclaw allows to trace over thirty years of Archicom’s history - one of the most important Polish architectural studios today and one of the longest-operating developers on the market. This unique, diverse journey in time leads the viewer from the first designs of single-family house complexes in Prochowice and Strzelin, through innovative construction and modernization designs of commercial banks headquarters and bold adaptations of historic tenement houses to both large and intimate housing estates, faithful to modernist ideas. Art Hotel located in historic, beautifully restored tenement houses, the innovative Renaissance Business Center, spacious and comfortable residential estates: Four Seasons, Hallera Gardens, Olimpia Park and the first luxurious lofts in Wroclaw - Platinum Lofts - located in the former Wolff brothers distillery. All the above constitute characteristic, perfectly recognizable points on the map of modern Wroclaw. The architects - Dorota Jarodzka-Śródka and Kazimierz Śródka - have been shaping the city’s space for over thirty years, thus affecting the lives of its residents. Functionality, caring for convenience, everyday comfort, views and being with nature have remained some of their paramount values over the years. An elusive, discreet atmosphere that makes a person feel good, be that a housing estate, office, hotel or apartment.
Photographs of completed projects, designs realized and those that remained on paper are complemented by multimedia installations, films, animations and sounds at the exhibition. The architects’ narration is enriched by anecdotes illustrated by Paweł Jarodzki, and the broader context for the presented architectural visions is created by expert statements, including art historian Rafał Eysymontt, architecture historian Anna Cymer, architecture critic Jakub Głaz and sociologist Katarzyna Kajdanek.
City and its residents
The exhibition summarizing the achievements of SRDK Archicom Studio Śródka is a great opportunity to look at the last three decades that shaped the city today. Renovation of the Market Square and pre-war quarters inaugurated at the beginning of the 90s, gradual suburbanization and occupation of the city center by office complexes and shopping malls, the limited role of local government, and thus the dictate of private investors - all these conditions set new challenges for architects, perhaps even more difficult than thirty years ago.
Can the experience gained during several dozen years of work save the architect from having the inferior role in relations with the investor? Should the inhabitants of the city, housing estates and blocks of flats have a say in all that? We’ll try to answer some of these questions together with architects Dorota Jarodzka-Śródka and Kazimierz Śródka, as well as with invited guests during meetings, debates and trips around Wroclaw that will accompany the exhibition.
I AM NOT HERE The human dimension of architecture
16.06 – 06.09.2020
Museum of Architecture in Wroclaw, ul. Bernardyńska 5
Organizer: Museum of Architecture in Wroclaw and SRDK Archicom Studio Śródka
Partners: Camera Nera
Media patrons: Architektura-murator, Architektura&Biznes, ARCH, Radio Ram, Polskie Radio Wrocław, Radio Wrocław Kultura