1920 Battle of Warsaw monument design chosen

Architect Mirosław Nizio’s concept of the prospective 1920 Battle of Warsaw monument emerged victorious from the competition, as the Radio Information Agency (IAR) reported on Thursday.

The 23-metre-tall anticlockwise spiralled obelisk with “1920” legend on it is to be erected at Na Rozdrożu Square which is a major Warsaw square that opens out onto a panorama of the Vistula and, beyond the river, the former battlefield of the Battle of Warsaw.

The monument is to be faced with a water-screen fountain. The whole composition is to be encircled with a low wall. The 20-person jury was nearly unanimous in its choice. Announced in the Palace of Science and Culture in Warsaw, the verdict is also supported by Deputy PM and Culture Minister Piotr Gliński.

According to Deputy Mayor of Warsaw Renata Kaznowska, the fountain may be used as a backdrop for educational light and sound shows.

Mr Gliński said that “the intriguing philosophy embodied in this shape appeals to me. This construct commemorates something important.” He added that “this geometrical form is compelling. I am delighted by the apt way in which water and verdure have been incorporated [into the composition] because this has to be a friendly, an engrossing and inspiring place.”

The minister added that the selected area was “functional” as it allowed for “the organisation of celebrations.” “What we have here is also an educational aspect, as the place is surrounded by a semicircular wall that may be used to these [educational] ends,” Mr Gliński said, adding that erecting the monument is “an auspicious sign for Poland.”

The authors of the concept said that “the semicircular form alludes to the global and pan-European aspect of the Battle of Warsaw. The monument is to communicate that the centre of the fray for European values found itself in Poland, on the outskirts of Warsaw.”

The semicircle is to be intersected by 12 lines “symbolising the calendar cycle, which is the process of eternal revival. This can be interpreted as a reference to the key role of the Battle of Warsaw in the struggle for the rebirth of the Polish state,” the authors said.

Two lines of greenness will be designed so that they meet in the centre at the feet of the obelisk. The closer to the obelisk, the more robust the vegetation would be. “This form underlines not just the military aspect of the Battle of Warsaw but also the civilisational one,” said the head of the jury and Warsaw architect Marlen Happach.

Good will and a tight deadline

The Multiannual Financial Perspective of the City of Warsaw earmarked PLN 3 (EUR 700,000) mln for the construction of the monument. The winning concept meets the financial restriction, albeit Minister Gliński said that the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage was ready to reach an agreement with the city, should additional funding be necessary.

The head of the City Council of Warsaw Ewa Malinowska-Grupińska thanked the minister for this declaration.

It remains unknown whether the construction works of the monument would meet the deadline of January 15. The inspector of listed buildings Michał Krasucki said that the constructors would do all in their power to have the monument erected in 2020.

Mirosław Nizio, the author of the concept, gained a reputation as a co-designer of the main exhibition of the Warsaw Rising Museum. He was awarded the Golden Cross of Merit for that work in 2006. He also contributed to the designing of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, for which he was awarded the Bronze Medal of Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis.

For winning the competition for the design of the monument of the 1920 Battle of Warsaw, Mr Nizo received the prize of PLN 50,000 (EUR 11,580).