Friday, 11 October 2013

Ale, architecture and city politics: comments follow-ups

It's been an active week on the blog, with a record number of comments. Time, then, to reply to some in greater prominence.

Number one: Beer. The explosion of hipster bars serving craft ales from microbreweries in Warsaw has been noted - a big thanks to Bob for recommending Kufle i Kapsle [lit. 'Beer-mugs and Bottletops'] on ul. Nowogrodzka 25, a stone's throw from my old office (though this place was not around a year ago when we moved out). A 'multitap' bar, it has many goodies on offer, though for fellow-blogger Paddy and I the star attraction was King of Hop, from Ale Browar. According to the microbrewery's website, King of Hop is no longer being brewed, which is a shame, as this phenomenally hoppy ale is even hoppier than Atak Chmielu (from microbrewery Pinta, which I sampled at Cuda na Kiju). So down the little red lane went two half-litres of Kings of Hop. Below: the beer menu at Kufle i Kapsle.

Number two: Plac Unii. This new shopping centre opens tomorrow, topped by offices. As Neighbour commented "Please go to Łazienki park, exactly there: +52° 12' 48.12", +21° 1' 58.31" So I went. And there is is, changing a once classic vista (click here to see the same scene exactly six years ago, in daylight). Can you imagine something like this looking down over shoulder of the White House or Buckingham Palace? A gross error of judgment on the part of the city's architect, or an oversight? Or will Warsaw get over it and take Plac Unii to its heart, as Paris learned to love the Eiffel Tower, the Pompidou Centre and La Defence? Incidentally, Plac Unii opens tomorrow.

Number three: Sunday's mayoral referendum. Many voices on this one, the most convincing one belongs to fellow-blogger Student SGH... "After the last week of pre-referendum intensive campaign, I would lean towards staying at home. The civic initiative to oust a bad mayor turned out to be a purely political campaign from which several politicians try to benefit. Referring to what you wrote many times - this is coarse politics with no policy. Mr Kaczynski, Mr Guzial, Mr Wipler and several other politicians sling mud at Mrs Gronkiewicz-Waltz, while none of them comes up with constructive criticism - no one says how things could have been done better, no one offers any specific ideas in return. First step is depose the mayor and then... jakoś to będzie."

What are the 'depose HG-W' camp saying? Get rid of her, then we'll see. What will Jarosław Kaczyński do? Reduce the number of flights over Ursynów. How? Cut the cost of public transport. How will he cover the increased shortfall? No solutions offered - all (party) politics, no policy.

It doesn't look good for Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, with 39% declaring an intention to vote (29% being the threshold for a valid ballot), and the majority of that number wanting her out.

This time last year:
The pros and cons of roadside acoustic screens

This time two years ago:
Moaning about trains again

This time three years ago:
Warsaw streets - Dolna, Polna, Rolna, Smolna, Wolna. Lost?

This time five years ago:
Ditches, landscapes, autumn

This time six years ago:
Golden autumn in Łazienki park


Neighbour said...

I have noticed it last year when I went there - the tower was then covered with scaffolding. Quite recently there was an article in Architektura-Murator about Plac Unii. I should have sent a photo like yours and ask for comments.
Many thanks for your post, maybe someone from the wider media sees this and escalate the issue.

Best regards,

Neighbour said...

And one more thing: Warsaw doesn't care at all. In general public there's absolutely no understanding for aesthetics or architectural knowledge.
Plac Unii by Kuryłowicz is only a decent piece of commercial architecture, nothing more. It's light years away from the three examples you've mentioned.