Friday, 16 March 2012

Neo-classicism, Stalinist style

Is this ancient Rome? Are we in Athens? No, this is Warsaw's ul. Wspólna, home to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Socialist realist architecture of the highest order; a purely decorative colonnade (no, not a fizzy drink made from animals' colons) that acts as the building's façade.

Built between 1951 and 1955, the glory years of High-Stalinist SocReal, the building, two streets south of my office is quite something, yet is off not widely known because Wspólna is a rather narrow street, so there's no vantage point for a decent vista, and photographs of the frontage can only be partial.

Still, for the growing number of enthusiasts of this style of architecture (associated in the minds of those who lived through those terrible times with the brutal stupidity of the regime), this is certainly a building worth seeing.

Above: detail of colonnade - socialism - bringing classicism to the masses. Incidentally, the lack of straightness of horizontal lines - my new 35mm f1.8 Nikkor distorts like Pravda. But more on that in another post! Below: view of the west wing of the building, shot from ul. Grabowskiego. It's a shame there isn't a better place to photograph it from.

Those with Google Earth installed on their (fast) computer, do take a look at this building, though first switching on '3D buildings' feature.

Above: supplementary entry, late June 2012. Now I have a 10-24mm zoom Nikkor I can do things like this!

This time last year:
A week into Lent
[Easter was very late]

This time two years ago:
Afternoon-dusk-night in the city centre

This time three years ago:
Spey St. Veyder's

This time four years ago:
Wetlands waiting for the spring


Neighbour said...

Please read this:,99687,10011100,Socrealizm_w_Polsce__Ministerstwo_Rolnictwa__1950_1955_,,8.html
and of course there's more in the web.

I have nothing against soc-realism, i think it has it's own style and quality. I can't remember another (meaning next in sequence of time) period/style in modern art and architecture that is so obviously recognisable, with clearly defined order.

why not a pancake-photo of this?


Best regards,

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Neighbour

Thanks for the link - recommended!

Photo taken on 18-200mm Nikkor zoomed out to 18mm - in all honesty an even wider lens would have served better (16-85mm Nikkor) or even a 14mm prime. As it was, the picture required a lot of work, converging the verticals in Photoshop.