Architecture in Warsaw, 1939–1944

  • Wojciech Wółkowski


This text attempts to present a general view of the architecture of occupied Warsaw between 1939 and 1944. Based on both existing publications and new primary source material from the collections of the Department of Polish Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology, the article discusses the design and construction activities of the German occupation administration (i.e., those officially operated and recognized by the Germans authorities of Warsaw), private investors, and individual designers working in secret.
In this context, the projects the City Board commissioned are particularly interesting. These included the reconstruction of public buildings destroyed in September 1939 (theaters and the interior of the town hall) and urban plans for the transformation and reorganization of the center of Warsaw (e.g., the design of the north-south route). These projects went far into the postwar future. Strictly connected with the design activity was the documentation of the city’s monuments (especially those destroyed or damaged at the beginning of the war). The preparation of this documentation was supported and partially financed by the city authorities. After the war, these plans served—as their authors had intended—as the basis for reconstructing these buildings.

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