Skyscraper to tower over Poland

The Palace of Culture and Science, the tallest building in Warsaw and in all of Poland, is set to be overshadowed in four years’ time. A consortium led by Jan Kulczyk, one of Poland’s richest people, plans to build a 282.4-meter-high skyscraper, which would be the tallest building in continental Europe.

According to the daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita, the skyscraper will be located in the very center of the Polish capital, just a few steps from the 230 meters-high palace built in 1955.
The new building will have 68 floors filled with luxury apartments for sale and a hotel. The name of the building remains unknown, but it is likely to include one of the major worldwide hotel chain brands.

The design for the skyscraper hasn’t yet started, and it?s unknown who will do it. Usually, ventures like this hire the world’s most famous architects to gain credibility and quality and thus summon investors and clients.

According to the plans, the building will cost 1 bln zloty (278 bln euro), with construction to start by the end of 2009 and completion scheduled in 2011. Chmielna Development, a company owned by Kulczyk, will cover only 9 percent of the cost. The rest is to be financed by banks.

The current tallest European building is the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt, Germany (258.7 meters not including antenna on the top). The Warsaw structure will be 260 meters high, topped by a 22.4-meter spire.

But it’s already known that by the time the Warsaw skyscraper is complete, the new London Bridge Tower will exceed its height. The 310-meter London building should be finished by the end of 2009.
Currently, Warsaw has 14 buildings higher than 100 meters.
The tallest is still the Palace of Culture and Science, which was built between 1952 and 1955 as a gift of the Soviet Union to Communist Poland. It became one of symbols of the city even if many consider it an awful example of social realism in architecture.

Today, skyscrapers are also being planned and built in other major cities in Poland. Leszek Czarnecki, the richest Pole according to the most recent “Forbes” ranking, is investing in a residential building in Wroclaw called Sky Tower. It will be 258 meters high and should be ready by 2010.In Gdynia, two 138-meter Sea Towers are already at an advanced level of construction and will be opened in February 2009.

They will contain luxury apartments and are located close to the coast. In nearby Gdansk, a 202-meter skyscraper called Big Boy is to be finished in 2011.

In Krakow, plans for a skyscraper district are being discussed by architects and local authorities.

It would be located close to Czyzyny in Nowa Huta, far away from the city center in order not to disrupt the architectural balance of the old town. For now, the tallest building in Krakow is Blekitek on Rondo Grzegorzeckie at 105 meters and 20 floors.

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