Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Rebuilding Warsaw: Conflicting Visions of a Capital City, 1916–1956
by Jozefacka, Anna, Ph.D., New York University, 2011, 556; 3466902
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation’s objective was to examine architectural and urban planning theories and practices of post World War II Warsaw within the context of larger twentieth century history, and in so doing, oppose those established interpretations, which have labeled the commencement of the post war, Communist directed rebuilding process as a profound break in Warsaw’s architectural and urban planning history. Warsaw’s 1945 devastated condition, and soon to follow radical politicoeconomic system, had leant itself to a reading of the city’s twentieth century history in terms of discontinuity. In contrast, I broadened the scope of inquiry to encompass the periods between the two world wars, as well as the years of the Second World War, in effort to explore historical continuities within the fields of architecture and urbanism and revisit the post World War II rebuilding campaign’s efforts at reaffirming Warsaw’s function as capital, a notion at the core of local architectural and urban planning activities since Poland achieved the status of independent nation-state in 1918. I treated the rebuilding campaign of the late 1940s and early 1950s as an effort to not only combat the devastation caused by the recent war, but also to further undo the perceived damage wrought by the laissez faire development dated to the prolonged era of partition by neighboring states, a preoccupation of the interwar urban planners. By organizing the content into three diachronic chapters, I strove to demonstrate the creative ideas and political pressures brought to bear on the projection and realization of Warsaw as capital city through its master plan proposals, and architectural and urban projects. The historic bookends of 1916 and 1956, correspond to two master plans, both significant milestones in Warsaw’s growth. For the years between, this project traces various additional master plans proposed for Warsaw, to be considered as units within a single continuous planning process. Architectural production is discussed in terms of preservation, reconstruction, and new construction through which Warsaw-based practitioners addressed local issues while responding to international developments within their respective fields.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cohen, Jean-Louis
Commitee: Braun, Emily, Diefendorf, Jeffry M.
School: New York University
Department: Institute of Fine Arts
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 72/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Art history, Slavic Studies, Architecture, Urban planning
Keywords: Architecture, Capital city, Poland, Urban planning, Warsaw, World War II
Publication Number: 3466902
ISBN: 978-1-124-80804-8
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